For some time now (many months), we have been corresponding with, and following the activities of, the inimitable Peter Shankman (http://www.shankman.com). He is a master of the outrageous, the unthinkable, the effective PR campaign strategy. We follow him on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/skydiver) and are linked several ways through other social networks.
Peter publishes an amazing list called “Help a Reporter Out” or HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com), which is a karma-based subscription list designed to connect reporters with sources. Its non-reporter members are mostly made up of PR firms and marketing agencies, blog authors, and companies who want to connect with these reporters. Originally a group on Facebook, its numbers grew so rapidly that Peter had to move it to another system that would accommodate its exponential growth (from around 1,200 when I joined earlier in 2008 to over 35,000 as of this writing — kudos, Peter!).
Why am I telling you about this? Because, first of all, you should join, and there are a lot of reasons (I’ll let Peter explain all that). Whether you’re a reporter or a source or a PR firm or some other entity, it’s an extremely high-quality list. Peter screens the queries personally, and also screens the members. As soon as he hears about a pitch that is way off the mark, or resembles spam–or both– he removes the list member in question, often with very humorous (and embarrassing, for the spammer) commentary.
There’s another reason as well: SheTech and Company has decided to sponsor one of the subscription messages in the future (Peter offers space at the top of the message for sponsors). Now, we’re a small firm, just getting our feet under us. This represents something of a risk for us, involving a substantial chunk of our marketing budget. But we know a good bet when we see one. This list comprises exactly the kinds of contacts we want to reach: very high quality contacts around the country who might just appreciate the value of a boutique firm that offers personal service. I, personally, have learned a great deal from watching activity on the list and watching Peter’s movements on Twitter, and take the opportunity whenever possible to help my clients take advantage of the information.
Exposure for us means exposure for our clients. It will also, we hope, mean a number of excellent new clients, which will increase our ability to offer excellent service to all our clients.
Here are some statistics from other recent sponsors:
What this means is that, really, there’s very little risk in the end. We stand to gain, our clients stand to gain. We trust it.
Thanks for the opportunity, Peter!
Happy New Year, all–may your 2009 be filled with joy, love, peace, prosperity, good health, and may at least one of your dearest dreams come true.