A conversation with Peter Shankman
We are pleased to bring you the latest episode in our Beyond the Hype podcast series. For this podcast, I sat down with Peter Shankman with HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to discuss the best ways to approach reporters and bloggers from a public relations standpoint. Peter is very vocal about PR professionals' use of social media tools to connect with journalists. His view -- and one that we share as an agency -- is to listen to the conversation first before adding to it. This is especially true given that anything shared via social networking sites is public and tends to spread quickly so being especially careful with what you share is a good rule of thumb, to say the least. According to Peter, we can figure out that you are an idiot much quicker now than ever before.
Peter and I initially met at SXSWi 2009 and I was especially interested in picking his brain after hearing his SXSWi panel presentation, "Are PR Agencies a Dying Breed?" We kicked off our conversation with a discussion around how reporters like to receive information and how he has seen this evolve with the introduction of social networking into the mix. From Peter's point-of-view, most PR pros still don't understand that the same pitching etiquette applies when done via social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.
From there, the conversation moved to talking about self-proclaimed social media gurus -- and a point we both agree on -- if you have to say that you're a "social media guru," you are more than likely not one. Peter's advice? As long as people continue to do a good job, others will take notice and that is one of the best ways to build your reputation.
With more than 75,000 subscribers, the goal of Peter's HARO service remains to be a resource for both reporters and PR professionals to proactively meet each other's needs by providing a mutual platform of shared ideas. While the service will remain free, Peter's only request is that, as a PR professional, before using the service, ask yourself: Is this response really going to help this journalist, or, is this just a way to get my client in front of that reporter? If you have to think for more than three seconds, chances are, you shouldn't send the response.
We hope you enjoy this podcast and would love to continue the conversation on this subject with you here, as well as on Peter's blog.