In episode #7 of Inbound Now, Peter Shankman is founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO) joins us to share some PR tips and insights.
Peter is the author of two books: Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World and Outrageous PR Stunts That Work And Why Your Company Needs Them .
He currently runs his own agency The Geek factory, Inc.
In the show we chat about:
- The story behind HARO
- How PR is changing
- Fan questions like "Is traditional PR dead?"
View the full transcript here: How Traditional PR is changing w/ Peter Shankman
Help a Reporter Out
Started as a Facebook Fan Page HARO was founded by Peter to help some of his reporter friends find sources for stories.
The service quickly evolved into an email list in which journalists shared requests for story sources.
Reporters are always looking for sources for stories and if you can get to them first and provide them with useful information, it's a great way to score free press.
"Publicity can always really help your brand and help really build your business or build you yourself into a bigger powerhouse."
Sources get exposure, journalist get sources, it's a win win situation.
How PR Is Changing
PR has moved more and more into the world of customer service.
Does your business has a strong focus on customer service?
When you make happy customers they are going to get out there and spread the word of your company.
Give customers a reason to go out and tell people about the awesome experience they have had with your business.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Don't talk about yourself all the time. Too many companies and brands have a "me me me" mentality and this really turns people off especially in these new social channels.
Turn the conversation around and highlight your fans and customers, give them the spotlight.
Don't Brag About Yourself, Have Your Fans Do It For You
Peter sums this point up:
"Going up to a woman at a bar and going, “You don’t know me but I’m awesome. You should come home with me.” She’s going to throw a drink in your face.
But if her best friend sees you and goes, “Oh my God, you should go home with him. He’s awesome. I know him,” you’re going to get laid.
Being Transparent Online
In today's world, everyone is a publisher and everyone has an opinion. News is becoming more and more real-time because of this it is more important than ever to be transparent with your customers and within the social web.
By being transparent about how your company operates and getting in front of problems and admitting to them first you’re preventing anyone from finding out anything about you and saying, “Look how bad they are.”
"You’re getting in front of the problem and saying, 'You know what? We did screw up. Here’s how we’re going to fix it and here’s how we’re going to learn from it.'”
People respond positively to this sort of openness as opposed to companies who try and spin the story and claim no responsibility for something that they clearly could have done something about.
What kind of company do you want to be perceived as? Are you blogging about company news in an "news" section on your site to give people an inside look into your company?
Maybe you should.
Stay Top of Mind
Stay in touch with your business contacts and personal contacts on a regular basis, this will help cultivate those relationships to the point where you if you do need something some them they are far more willing to help you out.
Trying to build a relationship quickly or asking for something before helping them out in some way is going to turn out badly for you.
Peter Shankman says a simply happy birthday to all of his friends on Facebook and looks to see what they are into on their profile and sends them something they might be interested in.
What are some of your secrets to building relationships with media and influencers?
One of the biggest things you want to do is you really want to talk to people, again, not trying for anything.
You need to build a relationship with the person and give, give, give before you ask for anything in return.
Brian Halligan wrote a post a while back talking about how traditional PR is dead .
Peter think's that "the press release is not necessarily dead, but you really need to be much more aware of what you’re saying in it.
It needs to be much more about using good SEO and making sure that the information you have in it can be shared and replicated. It’s not just sending a release out to a journalist and hoping they write about it. That doesn’t work anymore. So press releases are still valuable, but they have to be valuable for the right reasons."
Know Where Your Journalists Hang Out
Where are the journalist you want to connect with hanging out? Approach them in their own habitat and be useful to them.
Don't start out the relationship with an ask of them!
Is Your Brand Solidified Online?
Peter went by the twitter handle @Skydiver for a long time, until he decided to switch over to @PeterShankman .
It's important that he switched over to his name because it is in line with his personal brand.
Make sure your companies social media handles are in line with the companies branding and not something that has the potential to confuse people.
- Gauging Online Influence with Jason Keath of Social Fresh
- How to Market Smarter, Faster, and Cheaper with David Siteman Garland
- How to Rock Your Facebook Fan Page with John Haydon
- Stop Marketing and Start Engaging with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)
- Podcasting for Business & Email Marketing Best Practices w/ Christopher S. Penn
- Becoming a Trust Agent w/ @ChrisBrogan [@InboundNow #6]
Originally published Feb 10, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021