Some people just have to be busy in order to be happy, one of those people is the founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), Peter Shankman. The man is a machine, but don’t take my word for it, read my interview with Peter below for some great insight…
Tell us what you do in 140 characters or less?
VP and Small Biz Evangelist for Vocus. Founder of HARO. Ironman. Writer/Blogger. Cat Father. Soon to be Husband.
So Peter, you are a published author, blogger, speaker, agency owner, serial entrepreneur, marketer and media pundit – how do you find the time?!
I’m a big believer in not wasting time – so if I have ten minutes while waiting on line at the bank, I’ll write a quick post on my smartphone. I’ve done interviews from foreign cities, I’ll use my airplane time to write, blog, and work on my book – as I’m doing right now, on my way to Tokyo. If you love what you do, finding the time is easy. I’m also a huge fan of getting up super-early. It’s amazing how much you can get done at 4:15am when everyone else is still sleeping.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) has been a massive and swift success, what was the inspiration for the service?
I’ve been helping people for as long as I can remember. I’m a natural connector – been doing it all my life. I have a knack for putting people together, be it for personal, professional, or other uses. So it made sense as I became friends with more and more reporters that they’d start asking me who I knew when they were doing a story. HARO was born as a way of making those connections easier.
Social media has changed the face of journalism, do you think citizen journalism has the potential to make journos a little lazy?
Actually I think journalists have to do 10x more now with 5x less resources, so any tool like HARO, all the way down to Craig’s List is a benefit for the journalist. I don’t look at it as making them lazy, but rather, helping them do their job under much more pressure.
It’s fair to say you know your social media marketing onions, but there are many people out there who claim to be an expert in the field, do you believe there are too many snake oil salesmen on the scene?
Unfortunately, yes. My litmus test is this: Can you tie what you’ve done for your clients to the revenue they’ve made? If you can’t make the connection between revenue and what you’re doing for the client, you’re not doing your job the right way. I wrote a blog post called “I’ll Never Hire a Social Media Expert and Neither Should You.” The amount of crap I got for it was legendary – Only surpassed by the amount of people who agreed with me. End of the day? Don’t be a “Social Media Expert.” Be a marketer.
Start up culture has never been more trendy, what would your top tip be for a youngster looking to carve their own entrepreneurial path?
Embrace your fear. Eat it and enjoy it. Thrive on it. Know that the only reason to do this stuff is because you truly love it and have fun with it every day. If you’re not having fun, it’s time to do something else.
Massive thanks to Peter for taking the time to answer my questions. Stay tuned for the next instalment of Thought Leader Thursday!