This past Carnival Season has been super busy for me. I joined a local Baton Rouge Krewe (Artemis) and took part in a social media experiment put together by Tom Martin of Zehnder Communications. The experiment, My Mardi Gras Experience was sponsored by Tabasco, Sheraton New Orleans, and Bebo. A few bloggers were brought in to experience the real Mardi Gras that’s celebrated in New Orleans. The purpose was to find a way to change the stereotype of Mardi Gras from drunken debauchery to what it really is – a family gathering that celebrates the spirit of community and giving – all by livestreaming, tweeting, and blogging.
One person that was part of our group was Peter Shankman, former public relations pro and the founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO). If you aren’t already familiar with HARO, you should go check it out. I’ve used his service successfully for sources to include in cruise articles, gift guides, and most recently my latest book. I finally was able to observe how THE master of marketing works and what makes people love him so much. We chatted and we laughed and I learned a few things that I thought I would share with the masses:
1. Laugh a whole lot – One thing Peter Shankman does is laugh. A lot. I like to laugh too, so I was able to have a good time even while standing in a hotel lobby.
2. Get an air card – We’re mobile people and social media is instant. Peter has an air card so that he doesn’t have to depend on local wifi connections. He admitted that it paid for itself the first three days he used it since he would’ve been charged upwards of $20/day for hotel internet access. I’ve personally had too many nights in a hotel falling asleep with a laptop in the bed and the upload bar still going in circles. Slow connections be damned! I’m taking it to Shankman level.
3. Share a few things that you’ve learned – I may know some things but I don’t know everything. Peter suggested I take advantage of BlackBerry Messenger and was nice enough to set it up for me. Now I have one contact – Peter. LOL!
4. Know your worth – He’s smart. Peter charges for appearances, he charges for coverage and he doesn’t give many things away. People will only value you as much as you value yourself. Want to make money? Don’t give your work away.
5. Fedex your dirty laundry – I caught up with Peter in between trips. He flew directly from Australia and would be setting off for India after the festivities. Why carry around dirty clothes? Sure, you could get them laundered at the hotel, but he said it was only $8 to FedEx compared to the price of laundering. Plus, it was less to pack for the last leg of his journey.
6. Have a blast – This goes along with laughing. Peter is definitely living the moments that come his way and to all outward appearances, he’s having a blast. We could all lighten up a little, so I’ll take a cue from ole Shankman and follow his lead.
7. Don’t filter yourself – Peter says what he thinks and doesn’t have a filter. Sure, in some company this may not always work, but it got me to thinking of all the times I bit my tongue and didn’t verbalize what was on my mind. I’m loosening my filter and there’s no telling what I will say.
8. Work your behind off – This is the entire reason Peter Shankman is Peter Shankman. He may laugh, he may be having a blast, but he’s definitely working his behind off. While at a private party during Mardi Gras, Peter Shankman not only enjoyed the food and drink of our host, Kevin Kelly, but he brought along his laptop to work for that instantaneous social media that we all live for. He took video and photos, edited, uploaded, and tweeted everything out, just so anyone following along could enjoy his experience vicariously through the tweets and updates.
Peter Shankman, it was a pleasure, sir. Thanks for imparting your words of wisdom on this Louisiana Traveling Mama. It was fun, and it was real.