“LIFE should be a networking event” – Peter Shankman

I heard Peter Shankman present at Affiliate Summit West 2010. He founded HelpAReporter.com or HARO for short. It seemed like a lot of the audience wasn't familiar with HARO.

HARO is an email that goes out 3 times a day with pitches from the media (bloggers, journalists, etc). It all started in 2007 on Facebook. Today it makes $1.4 million in ad revenues. Each email has a short blurb at the top which is actually a paid ad. I have advertised my Killer Online Press Release DVD (and I want to advertise again).

I mention HARO in my book and many times when I speak because it's a killer online PR tool and it's free. It's a great way to know what journalists are writing about right now. Want to know when to pitch Valentine's Day stories? Scan the contents and you'll see the pitches and get an idea of not only when to pitch but the types of stories that are being written. If you answer a pitch with your story you can score some great publicity.

The NEW HARO was launched early Feb and here's what's new: all pitches are anonymous, you can choose list you want to go to (by topic), it tracks your pitches, Journalists can leave feedback on responses they get.

The theme of Peter's speech was how to self-promote and still be liked. Self promotion when done right is TRUST. Bad self promotion is  talking up to someone you don't know & saying, you don't know me, but I'm AWESOME. It doesn't come across well.

An example of a company who gets self-promotion is Blendtec. With a flipcam & a blender they whipped up a phenomenon that resulted in 679% increase in sales. It was recently dubbed one of the top 10 online marketing campaigns of the decade. Their customers told them what to blend, they blended and recorded the entire process. They put the videos on YouTube and people loved them. And they bought blenders.

Another element of good self promotion is offering advice and helping others. Peter gave a great example of this that had just happened. He was walking the Vegas Strip when a stranger stopped him to ask if he'd take a picture of him with his girlfriend. As Peter started to shoot the picture the guy gets on his knees. He's going to propose to his girlfriend! So without a word, Peter gets out his nice camera. He got a frame-by-frame of the proposal. Her surprised look. Her smile. The hugs and kisses. It captures all of the emotions – she said yes. He offered to email them the pictures. He just captured a very endearing moment for them. They love him. Peter posted the pictures on Facebook where people see them and get teary-eyed. The story gets tons of comments. He gains many new friends and followers. Did he ever promote himself? NO. He just helped out, shared with others online, and that naturally led to publicity.

Here are some great quotes:

“LIFE should be a networking event”

The art of Twitter lies in the retweet.”

So here's my story. I was going to have Peter write the forward to my book, I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What??? Being a new author and trying to figure out how to expedite the process, I accidentally offended him. I can see how it came across wrong but I was really just green and didn't know how things worked. Do people actually read books before they write the forward? It seemed to me they don't – but I didn't know. This is why people need book reps – to answer all the questions!

So I've been worried about meeting Peter – but I shouldn't have been. In real life Peter Shankman is open and gracious. I captured it in part on the video I just linked to on YouTube. He knew who I was and was awesome about everything. Then he told me I was the 1st person he followed on Twitter. That pretty much made my day. And now look, I'm promoting him.

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