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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Become Wildly Successful via @PeterShankman

Peter Shankman, the founder of Help A Reporter Out, an online source for journalists and a great tool for people (or businesses) trying to get press, has been an entrepreneur since the day he had to leave college. His money ran out and he had to drive across the country from sunny California to New York City, his hometown. His story is astounding, wacky, and miraculous. He shared his tips on social media, building a following and becoming wildly successful while visiting Salt Lake City and I had the opportunity to attend.

Here is how he built Help A Reporter Out and how you can build something big, too:
  1. Transparency. Be real. Be honest. Deal with everything as fast as you can. When you're transparent, you'll shut down problems and make everyone accountable for their actions (including you!).
  2. Relevance. Give your audience what they want — how they want it. How do you know what your audience prefers to receive their information? Ask them. Find out more about your audience/customers than anyone else in the business and treat them well.
  3. Brevity. The world has a shorter attention span than ever now. You only have 140 characters or 2.6 seconds to work with, it seems. Learn to write. Shankman says, "You will be eliminated if you don't know how to write."
  4. Top of Mind. Stay in touch with your audience and be nice. Take a page from Barry Diller a broadcasting exec responsible for the success of  Paramount, Fox and USA Broadcasting. Diller made a habit of calling 10 people every day, just to say "hello" or find out how they were doing.  If you make your conversations 80% about the other person, you'll go much further than if you talk about yourself incessantly.
The most interesting part of Shankman's whole presentation was that he moves with the deliberation of a man with a plan, but acts as if it all his success just magically happens. The key to that is his theory of backup plans. He proposes that rather than have a backup plan for failure, we have a backup  plan for success. What's your backup plan? What kind of success will you create?


  1. So wish I could have gone! Love the wrap-up and I totally agree with it all. My favorite part is having a backup plan for success. Brilliant!

  2. Hey Emily -
    This was a pretty awesome event. I love it when people share what they learned from events like, I'm just sharing the love. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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