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Posts Tagged ‘HARO’

Peter Shankman on His New Book: Why ‘Niceness’ Is the Best PR Strategy

Author Peter ShankmanYou may know Peter Shankman for his work as a commentor, strategic advisor and author of books like Can We Do That?!, an overview of crazy PR stunts that actually worked.

Shankman’s new book Nice Companies Finish First (which hits stores today!) is a little different. Its thesis holds that the big secret behind some of the most successful brands around is a decision to simply be nice or unexpectedly generous to customers on a regular basis. We spoke with him last week to figure out why:

Where did you find the inspiration for your new book?

Well, when I sold my previous venture HARO (the publicity service Help a Reporter Out) to Vocus, I realized that they were really buying my audience. I’d spent four years cultivating and building that audience and I really felt like every member of HARO was a friend, so I wasn’t going to sell it just anybody. I chose Vocus because they were our largest advertiser and, since I wrote all the ads, I believed that they understood that level of respect I had for my audience, and the level of trust my audience put into me. I knew they wouldn’t violate that.

And this realization led you to the subject of “niceness”?

Yes. I started doing research into companies and how they behave in order to see whether companies who treat their customers and investors nicely make more money. I found it to be true — companies that are doing “the little things” a little better than everyone else almost always fare better.

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Tools of the Trade

Journalistics offers a list of some helpful PR tools that you may or may not be familiar with. A few, like MediaSync, are new offerings, but a few, like HARO have been around a while. (Journalistics writer Jeremy Porter says he still comes across some who haven’t heard of HARO?) Any thoughts about tools that you find helpful are welcome in the comments.

HARO and RLM PR No Longer Working Together

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Help A Reporter Out, the match journalists with sources email service founded by Peter Shankman, is no longer working with its onetime agency of record, RLM Public Relations. Kevin Mercuri, President & Founder of Propheta Communications told PRNewser that HARO, “fired RLM PR after two months of work.” Propheta was HARO’s agency of record prior to RLM.

Reached for comment, Peter Shankman told PRNewser that HARO had not “fired” RLM. “RLM did a great job for us, and their contract has ended. There is nothing sinister in any way. They got some quick hits for us, it was perfect,” he said. When asked if HARO would be looking for another agency, Shankman said, “Nope, not right away.” RLM PR declined to comment.

Mercuri told PRNewser in September that the agency would be filing a lawsuit against HARO for, “trying to get out of a legally binding agreement.” Shankman told PRNewser that both sides had agreed “on a mutual release from our contract,” and added, “the allegations are without merit.”

Former HARO PR Agency Filing Lawsuit Against Company

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PRNewser has learned that Propheta Communications, former agency for Peter Shankman‘s popular connect journalists with sources service, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), is in the process of filing suit against HARO’s parent company, Two Cats and a Cup of Coffee, LLC, owned by Shankman.

Propheta founder Kevin Mercuri tells PRNewser HARO is, “employing the age-old trick of trying to get out of a legally binding agreement. When less-than honorable folks don’t want to pay their bills, they disparage the vendor, saying that the vendor’s product or service is sub-par.”

Mercuri say he’s “disappointed” that HARO feels that “it’s somehow right to bash a company merely because they do not want to honor their contract.”

HARO denies any wrong doing. Shankman tells PRNewser, “HARO engaged Propheta Communications to handle public relations duties during the summer of 2009. After working with Propheta for several weeks, we decided to shift the direction of our communications strategy.”

Shankman says his firm discussed the change with Mercuri, with both sides agreeing “on a mutual release from our contract.” He adds, “[W]e believe Propheta’s allegations are without merit, and don’t believe this to be an issue.”

PRNewser first reported last Wednesday that HARO had parted ways with Propheta. The following day, a story appeared on Ragan.com that stated HARO had “quietly named” RLM PR as its “agency of record.”

In response to the Ragan.com post, PRNewser heard from RLM PR CEO Richard Laermer, who said HARO had concerns that Propheta, specifically that Mercuri, “would screw up the story for them.” Laermer says Mercuri, “did not understand HARO. Not one bit.”

If anything, there appears to be bad blood between RLM and Propheta. The background: Laermer once employed Mercuri, who left RLM to lead the Online and Technology division at 5W Public Relations as a Senior Vice President.