Peter Shankman of HARO Keynote: Affiliate Summit East 2009

After going on a jog at 5:30 AM with the man himself, Peter Shankman, Alhan Keser attended his keynote on the 3rd and final day of Affiliate Summit East 2009 on behalf of Blue Fountain Media.

A visionary in the world of Social Media and PR, Shankman is the founder of HARO the largest free source repository for journalists anywhere in the world. During his keynote, he made some great points on the importance of listening and connectivity for brands, individuals, and corporations--in real-life or on the internet.

Shankman's 4 Critical Points of Social Media are:

1-Transparency (openness)

2-Relevance (pertinent, connected, and applicable conversation)

3-Brevity (keep it short and to the point)

4-Top of Mind (Being on individual's mind for certain topics and reference)

Peter's advice for companies "engaging" in Social Media:

-Give stellar customer service

- Do you know your customer?

What do they want?

And how can you deliver it?

Here are some great highlight quotes  and antecdotes from his speech:"

- When he became editor of AOL news, without any experience, he went in every day and tried something new. "If it went well, we did it again. If not, we didn't."

- "You can’t make anything viral. But you can make something good." Shankman gave the example of the video produced by Matt Hardy for Stride Gum as quality work that gained mass popularity:

-"I have ADOS - Attention Deficit OOH SHINY!" As proclaimed by Investor’s Business Daily as “crazy, but effective", Peter is a great example of someone who uses his ADHD to his advantage.

-"We are going as fast as we can. If something gets in our way we find a way around it and keep going."

-"In my personal experience, social media does not exist. In my opinion, social media is a way to screw up in front of a lot more people a lot faster."

-"HARO has taught me that 99% of people are intelligent and mean well, and that I would take a bullet for; but then there is the 1% that are just stupid."

-He sold t-shirts that said "It sank. Get over it." during the release of Titanic, the movie. He sold 500 shirts in 6 hrs  at $10/shirt in Times Square. Then called a reporter to pitch story, who asked him immediately whether he had a website, which he promptly built. He then crashed a majority of his hosting provider's servers and was featured on the front page of the newspaper.

-"When people have a horrible flight experience they wait until it lands and get on their phones, 'That was the worst flight ever!'" He makes this point because he says people aren't miserable until they have made others miserable--by proclaiming bad news.

Shankman said that our job within social media is no longer to do our own PR, but instead to get others to do it for us. If you walk into a bar and tell someone, “I’M AWESOME!”  They'll throw their drink in your face and carry on.  But instead if a hot girl’s best friend looks at her and says, “He’s AWESOME!”, you will go home with her. That's having someone do your PR.

The best way to accomplish this is to provide stellar customer service to begin with. Find out what they want, help them get it and they’ll do your PR for you.

He closed the speech that social media will become like a lava lamp in which  globules of oil will automatically control irrelevance--some globules will stick together, some will sink, and some will float according to conversation and relevance.

For a more candid look at the keynote, take a look at Lisa Barone’s blog post.



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  1. Nice recap of Peter’s speech and kudos to you for getting up for the run.

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