i T’S YOuR BuSiNeSS
Advice for enterprising speakers
Listen Up for Great PR
I’m a Jewish guy from Staten Island, a heavily Italian borough of New York City. I don’t just speak with my mouth and my hands—I speak with my whole body. I speak a lot, I speak loudly,
and I speak about different things. I also
listen, which is an important—though
seemingly contradictory—aspect of
being a successful speaker.
Why do people listen to me speak?
They like hearing about success stories,
and the rules I apply to myself and my
business are easy to learn and applicable
to most businesspeople, especially those
who are eager to exploit social media to
achieve their goals.
More than 100,000 people choose
to receive a few emails from me daily.
Those emails, titled HARO (Help a
Reporter Out), consist of 20 to 50
requests from top journalists worldwide
looking for sources for their articles.
For people in PR, that’s gold. And for
advertisers, knowing about an email
that people feel required to
open the second they
receive it translates
to more than $1
million dollars in
revenue in a little
over a year.
If I asked you how you speak to your
audience—whether it consists of consumers, business partners, the press,
investors, influencers, or all of the
above—you’d probably reel off phone
calls, press releases, advertisements,
Facebook, Twitter, a CEO blog, etc.
Everyone is doing that. (Yawn.) People
feel compelled to ensure a presence
via these multiple outlets, but very few
How do you get your audiences to
listen? How do you get them to speak
to others positively about you? Here
are the key points everyone who represents a brand needs to know:
•;Relevance. Journalists click on my email
because it is highly relevant to them.
They trust me. They know I value
their information and I’ll diligently
protect it. Find your core audience,
speak to them honestly, gain their
trust and watch how they become PR
ambassadors for your brand.
•;Trust. When people tell you about a
brand, product or service,
you probably trust their
or opinions are
sincere, or even highly relevant and
useful. How do you make your brand
resonate the same way? By speaking
to your core constituents the way you
speak to your friends and neighbors.
This is the age of interactivity, and
people are no longer sitting around
a radio or TV set. They are engaged
in conversation through the Internet.
If you want to build and keep your
client base, you need to be engaged
with them, too.
•;Sincerity. When you’re not speaking,
you’d better be listening. What does
your audience want? How do they
want it? Don’t send them notes on
Twitter if they’re podcast devotees.
Listen well and tell them when their
comments, complaints, suggestions,
compliments or recommendations make a difference. You will be
rewarded with great PR.
•;Smarts. Being smart doesn’t necessarily mean being everywhere. If you’re
smart, then you’re speaking to people
the way they want to be spoken to.
When a person does something nice,
kind, good, funny, honest or useful, we
don’t hesitate to tell others about it.
Let people do your PR for you. They
will do a far better job than you can on
your marketing budget.
An entrepreneur, author, speaker and connector, Peter Shankman is recognized worldwide for radically new ays of thinking about social
media, PR, marketing, advertising, creativity
and customer service. He also is the founder
and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a
boutique marketing and PR strategy firm in
New York City. Visit www.shankman.com.