Blogworld LA Keynote: Peter Shankman
Background on Peter. Was in grad school studying fashion photography…having a blast, doing his thing, lost his tuition grants…had to move back to NYC – back to the folks place. Was chatting in one of the old AOL chat rooms [now the crack about people under 30 not understanding this makes sense]. He’s now actually explaining the mechanics of AOL. [he forgot the bit about the CD in the mail ;)]. Got an opportunity to work for AOL heading up their newsroom, jumped all over it. Came in every day and had no idea what they were doing other than trying stuff, if it works, keep it, if it doesn’t lose it.
Making the case, that this creative / destruction process is at the heart of what’s going on on the Internet today. Your only job in Social Media is generating revenue [in AOL it was keep people online longer which generated more revenue]. Figure out what’s going to make money and do more of that. Keep working on that, keep trying out things to nail down what works and do more of those.
[also have a good understanding of what translates into more money]
Life Lesson: everyone tells you to have a back-up plan for when you fail. [waiting for the but]. There it is: Have a back-up plan for when you succeed. When it blows up big.
You do not control the direction of your company. Your customers control the direction of your company. He gave the example of a business introduction site he had that turned into a dating-related site when it got featured on a Lisa Loeb show and had it balloon in members interested in dating introductions.
2moadv56737 = 2 free months of Premium version of HARO…aren’t you happy you read this far?
HARO is Peter’s latest company, that has also been acquired.
In addition to all the great successes you have, you are going to screw-up, frequently and large. Lesson: when you do, own it. Get in touch with people, be transparent, and say what you are going to do fix it.
Rule: Relevance. Relevance is the only way you will get in touch with your audience. Having an audience is a privilege not a right. if you do it right, they will help you out in every way possible and stay by you when you screw-up. Be relevant to your audience. Listen to your audience and they will tell you what they want.
Rule: Brevity. If you want to reach your audience and you know they have a short attention span, and thus you have a short window to catch their attention. Average attention span today is about 3 seconds today…so you better learn how to write properly.
Have something you are known for. Be the go-to person/company for that.
Learn to get out of your comfort zone. If you want something you’ve never had before, you need to do something you’ve never done before.
Do something so great that people will want to share for you. That they want to do the PR for you.
If you believe in what you are doing stick with it. Not giving up is the cross-section between the strength required and the suffering you must endure. If it’s your passion, stick with it.
Your reputation is up to you. You are in control of it. Keep private what needs to be private, and share stuff that you are happy to share with all, because it may well be.
Document everything in case you want to share it.
Take time to have fun! If you do it right you never know the difference between work and fun.