John McCartney, our Managing Director in SF, recently conducted a Q+A with Peter Shankman, best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO), founder and CEO of The Geek Factory and best-selling author. 

In the Q&A, Peter shares his thoughts on how PR has evolved over the years, the 24/7 news cycle, PR trends, and pet peeves.

What are your thoughts on how PR has evolved over the years? 

PR has become quicker. We need to be more aware, do more homework, and be smarter. There’s no room in this business anymore for laziness.

Has social media and the “24/7” news cycle helped or hurt the communications industry? 

It’s done neither. We simply need to adapt to a different way of working. We figure out the way the journalists we’re targeting work, and track and pitch accordingly.

What are your thoughts on who anyone arguably can be a journalist due to social media? 

Anyone can produce content. Very few people can produce quality content repeatedly. That’s what differentiates.

What are some pet peeves you have when it comes to PR professionals these days?

Again, laziness. How hard is it to google me before you pitch? Truly? How hard is it??

How do you reach and engage elusive journalists? 

Again, do your homework. No one is 100% elusive. Even if you just figure out what they’re reading, or figure out their writing style, that’s something. It’s not hard. But it does take work.

What are some PR trends you see emerging in our industry? 

Mobile. We need to assume no one owns a regular computer anymore. Also, understand how a journalist likes to be contacted, and reach out accordingly. Do NOT waste time trying to get a journalist to adapt to you. Adapt to THEM.

Do you have any tips/advice to offer someone new in the PR industry? 

Make sure you truly love it before you dive in. If you don’t truly love it, you’ll never be any good at it.