Peter Shankman in Chicago on PR, Social Media Rules

Peter Shankman visited Chicago this week and I was there! Now this is one guy I’ve always wanted to meet. I’m a fan of HARO [], more stats on that later, and Peter’s brilliance in general.

Although most people associate Peter with HARO, did you know he’s also the author of Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work–And Why Your Company Needs Them, a blogger, a skydiver, an entrepreneur, a marathoner and owner of two fat cats.

Thanks to Catherine Merritt of Morton’s Steakhouse and Allan Schoenberg of CME Group for organizing this event – a 90 minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of dialogue. I took notes and today I’m sharing them with you. Note: this is what I wrote down and may not be completely accurate, especially when quotes come in.

An Afternoon with Peter Shankman in Chicago

wiredprworks: 2010 is the year social media will become ubiquitous @skydiver

wiredprworks: @skydiver live tweeting is a great way to promote your brand

Note: After sending out those two tweets, I switched to taking notes so I could write this post.

We don’t have the right to own social media. If you have to call yourself a key influencer, you’re not.

HARO Help Out a Reporter Statistics
Published three times a day with 30-50 queries per issue.
Approximately 125,000 members
37,000 journalists
93% of journalists return with new queries
target: small businesses – 97.9% of the country
In a few weeks, query emails will be masked and timed. Addresses that email the HARO masked email after the expiration date with a spam pitch will be banned from the HARO database – automatically.

Social Media Rules You Need to Know

1. Transparency

Admit it, right away, when you screw up. Say how you’re going to fix it. Eliminate PR spin. For example, when HARO is late people get a reason and an apology.

2. Relevance
The media landscape is fractured. Peter asked where and how people got their news in the morning. He gets his from podcasts that he listens to while he’s running or working out. To be relevant, be where people are and ask them what they want. For example, Amazon started out as “The Earth’s Biggest Book Store” – the last thing Peter bought from them was a blender, not a book.

3. Brevity
In the 80s, the average attention span was 3 minutes. Today it’s the time it takes to read a text message or about 2.7 seconds. So how does twitter fit it? Putting all of your bets on twitter might not be the wisest move. Until twitter makes $1 one, they are waiting to happen. Look at – it got “Arsenio-ed,” a new verb.

Peter advises trust in the concept of short-message, not so much the brand. Surveys say that 90% of first contacts in the future will come through the written word in the form of a 140-200 character message.

How to make sure you understand brevity: Learn to write.

“Stop hurting America.” Jon Stewart

For example, make your emails easy to read and respond to right away. [test: how much more precise could your emails be? Measure: response time and actions taken.] If you get an email from Peter that says your email was in his spam folder, chances are you don’t know how to write.

Get their interest in short bursts, then write a novel.

4. Top of mind or presence of mind
Peter told the story of Barry Diller, a former president at Paramount, who talked to 10 people every morning. Where did he get the names and numbers? His rolodex . Peter explained what a Rolodex was/is to the under 25 crowd.

How does this idea work for Peter? Every morning while he’s having coffee, he checks into Facebook. His “Rolodex” is the birthday list. Everyone gets either a wish on Facebook, via email or live on a personal call.

Peter says we talk to 3% of our network on a regular basis. “That’s pathetic. Why are we there?” To know what’s going on in your network, you have to stay in touch.

After Peter’s presentation, he took questions from the audience and covered these topics:

The Future of Social Media

Looking out 24 months to October 2011, Peter mused that Facebook and Google will own everything. He asked us to imagine a world where everyone you meet is in your network.

A plasma screen on the wall in your bathroom greets you with your network home page. Updates from people closest to you run in ticker-type fashion on the bottom of the screen.

Right now, Facebook doesn’t completely understand relevancy. Soon, we’re going to live in a world fueled by relevance.

The Future of Public Relations

Your job is now how to get other people to do your PR for you. No longer is it about you telling people how great you are. Now, it’s people telling you how great I am. That’s why great customer service and building trust and relationships is so important. It’s not just about pitching reporters. It’s about crafting the message.

Social Media and Business

For businesses, traditionally information flowed from outside our network in. Now, information is flowing from inside the network out.
To monitor social media use these free tools: filtrbox and peoplebrowsr

Personal Networks Becoming More Influential

When Peter’s Delta flight had to make an emergency landing [the wing fell off], Southwest answered the Peter’s tweets before Delta did. Great customer service always wins, but “if you can’t trust your employees to make decisions, at the end of the day, nobody wins.”

Peter recommends all businesses read Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service by Ken Blanchard, published in 1993.

Twitter Observations
The art of twitter is not in the tweet.
The art of twitter is in the value of the retweet.
The loneliest person on twitter is the person who only talks about himself.

Future of TV Journalism

More than 50% of CNN’s election coverage came from citizen journalists. Citizen journalism is becoming real journalism. By 2015, TV will be more about analyzing and less about reporting.

Peter Shankman Videos

Hope you enjoy this Peter Shankman HARO channel I created on Yubby.

What questions would you ask Peter about HARO, social media, PR, journalism – or anything?

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