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How does one guy come up with an idea to help others and turn that into an insane empire that continues to grow exponentially and receives rave reviews and word of mouth that most of us would die for?

Don’t ask me, ask Peter Shankman. He’s the one who has taken his passion for helping others, and keen understanding of building relationships and PR and turned it into something pretty amazing in ‘Help a Reporter Out,’ affectionately known as HARO.

The man who told me and others 9 short months ago, that the press release would be dead in 36-months has issued a press release with some amazing figures and that simply cannot be ignored. The man builds community every time he sends an email. Now how many people can lay claim to that? I wish I could, but I can’t…and community building is my thing!

Here’s an excerpt from Shankman’s site, detailing this monster growth:

In August 2008, there were 1500 journalists using HARO, sending out 650 queries per month to about 20,000 sources.

Today, there are 30,000 journalists who have used HARO, sending out more than 3000 queries per month to over 80,000 members.

And here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

The number of advertisers for HARO’s free-for-both-subscribers-and-journalists service skyrocketed 3900% from August 2008 to August 2009. The HARO staff rose 400 percent in the past year. (in Non-PR-speak, that means we hired four people.) Revenues over the past year have leaped from $15,000 as of August 2008 to just over $1MM as of August 2009 with advertising inventory on HAROs already sold out for 2009.

Congrats to Peter and HARO. Peter is a very down to earth, fun guy. He wrote the foreword for my book, in the midst of all that he has going on with HARO AND he answers my e-mails.

It doesn’t get any better than Peter.  I look forward to seeing what you do with HARO next.

BTW, you can see the full release on Peter’s site Shankman.com.

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When I blogged about Peter Shankman’s prediction of the death of the press release I had no idea it would become one of my top posts for 2008. It garnered a lot of discussion. So much so, that I had to ask Peter to respond to some of the comments left on the post and write a second one with his feedback.

The line that drew the most criticism was this: “If your clients can’t send their message in 140 characters or less, it needs to change.”

The post also prompted this post on the blog, Getting Ink, written by Sally Whittle, a freelance journalist based in the UK. She called Peter’s declaration “uber-wank.”
I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at first, and I’m still not sure I understand completely, but I do know that it is far from a compliment.

Her issue really isn’t with Peter though, but a man by the name of Dennis Howlett who wrote in a post titled PR is so over , that after 17 years he would no longer accept pitches that exceed 140 characters.

In fact, he created this automated response for anyone sending him pitches via email. “I’ve stopped accepting email pitches. Please follow me on Twitter and pitch in 140 characters or less.”

Well, Whittle was not happy about that. She refers to Howlett and all others who insist on twitter pitches as arrogant “hacks.”

Many of the comments share the same sentiment. Not that insisting on twitter pitches only makes one a “hack” but that by limiting the delivery method to one that most people are not familiar with or interested in using will have an adverse affect. One that decreases the ability to consider information on its merits.

Do you agree? Is this the move of “hacks” or those simply in tune with the future?

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Again, these are not my words but those of Peter Shankman.

You may remember this post on his dire prediction of the life-span of the beloved press release.

Well, Peter tossed out another comment that day at the TIMA conference in downtown Raleigh, that I’d written in my notes with the intention of asking him to explain his thoughts a bit more later.
I finally took a second look at those notes and asked Peter (via twitter) to tell me why he felt that way. After all, I do use PowerPoint when I’m speaking and wouldn’t characterize myself or my knowledge of the subject matter as weak.

Here is his response in 93 characters:

“If you need charts and graphs to get your point across and you’re not a physicist, your point isn’t strong enough.”

I’ll admit that I do find myself talking more than advancing slides, but my audiences so far have not been very social media savvy and didn’t know much about online communities at all.  Because of that,  I’ve felt the need for visuals.

What are your thoughts on PowerPoint? Enhancement or crutch? And if you’re a physicist,  no need to respond.

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shankman111208Those aren’t my words, but the words of PR and marketing guru, entrepreneur extraordinaire, author and all around crazy man, Peter Shankman who you may know as @Skydiver on twitter.

I attended an TIMA event in downtown Raleigh today where Shankman was the speaker. Having served on a panel with him at the same venue just one short year ago I knew that we were in for some innovative trains of thought.

So, Shankman declared in a room full of mostly interactive sales and marketing folks that the beloved press release will be dead in 36 months. He asked if anyone in the room had even read one recently, and the number of hands that flew up were slim. He drove home four points:

Transparency, relevancy, brevity and “top of mind presence.”

He says if your clients can’t send their message in 140 characters of less, it needs to change. He also said PowerPoint is for the weak, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

Interested in some of Shankman’s other colorful quips and trains of thought? Here are all of my tweets from the event in chronological order: BTW, I’m @communitygirl on twitter.

  • communitygirl: @skydiver tells me he has no idea what he will say to this audience of 100 plus.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver has taken the podium. He is a wild man. Says powerpoint is for the weak!
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says social media doesn’t exist. Gives the power to screw up many times over.
  • communitygirl: You can’t make something viral. You can make it good and it becomes viral. @skydiver
  • communitygirl: Social media is more like human nature per @skydiver. He helped launch the AOL newsroom without a clue.
  • communitygirl: Too many self proclaimed social media experts says @skydiver.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says google will be the winner of the profile war. People in this audience say LinkedIn is more professional than facebook.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver predicts the press release will be dead in 36 months! Anyone agree?
  • communitygirl: Teach clients that if they can’t send the message in 140 characters it needs to change. Per @skydiver
  • communitygirl: You have to like social media. If you don’t it will be obvious. If the PR guy blogs for the CEO people know it. @skydiver
  • communitygirl: @skydiver says the personal vs professional profile will go away in 12 months. You will have one profile on whatever network wins!
  • communitygirl: Ever heard of unjust tagging? How about facebook purgatory? I will blog about it later. @skydiver is a fun speaker. Hilarious!
  • communitygirl: Kids growing up with technology will be smart about it. No need to pity them at all says @skydiver.
  • communitygirl: @skydiver is now talking about top of mind presence. Use social media to the point of “remembering.”

I couldn’t tweet everything, as i also needed to eat lunch, but those are a few highlights. Tomorrow I will blog about two concepts Shankman shared: Facebook Purgatory, and Unjust tagging. Pretty funny stuff. Yeah, he’s definitely a wild man.

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