Today on Branex Talks, we have with us yet another exciting personality who has done so much in and for the community. Today’s guest is the founder of HARO, hosts a podcast called Faster Than Normal, advisor at NASA, and has authored five books. A TEDx speaker and has keynoted events for corporations ranging from startups to Fortune 100s in over 25 countries around the world. Let’s welcome Mr. Peter Shankman.
Branex: Thanks for taking out time for Branex. Can you share some valuable tips for community building in the digital age?
Peter: Understand your audience. It’s key. Your audience will do most anything you ask them if you respect them. That comes from listening to what they want, giving them what they want the way they want it, being brief, and talking to them more when you don’t have something to sell than when you do. It’s not hard! Just make sure you’re doing it right!
Branex: You’re an accomplished person, what advice do you have for people who are feeling stuck or unsure how to move forward in their career?
Peter: The best piece of advice I ever got: If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree. Life is too short to sit and be stuck. Want to move? Move. The goal is to move. Forward motion is thrilling. When you don’t have that, it’s time to go.
Branex: We’ve read in a blog post that you don’t trust your gut, and that has led you to some mistakes. Can you share an example and what you learned from it?
Peter: I ALWAYS trust my gut. It’s when I don’t that I’ve screwed up. We’re given instincts for a reason. When we ignore them, bad stuff happens. I once took a chance on a hire, even though my gut shouted to me that it was a bad idea. Lasted two months before I had to let him go. Cost me way too much. Make sure you take off your rose-colored glasses before you look for red flags.
Branex: What is the role of content marketing in generating leads?
Peter: I give away 99% of my content for free because it’s a) the right thing to do, and b) it shows people I’m not just out to sell to them. Goes back to respecting your audience. Create value and your audience will come back every single time.
Branex: What were the underlying challenges that you faced while creating HARO?
Peter: I’m a terrible manager. I have a hard time hiring and managing people. So I found other people who were good at what I sucked at. Additionally, when you have a startup, you’re always working on it, no matter what else you’re doing. It can affect your personal life. Find someone who understands you, as well as someone who can be there for you when you have a bad day.
Branex: In your book, “Nice Companies Finish First”, you talked about transparency. How can brands leverage transparency to improve their customer experience?
Peter: You’re going to screw up. It’s what we do. When you do, OWN IT. Own your mistakes, fix the problem, and prove it’ll never happen again. Get that done, and you’ll keep the customers you pissed off, and chances are, they’ll bring you new ones, too.
Branex: Which one is more important, digital PR or influencer marketing?
Peter: Depends on the audience. I can’t tell you about your audience. Only you can.
Branex: What advice would you like to give to our readers for generating more leads?
Peter: Be amazing to the customers you have. They’ll bring you the customers you want.