As a continuation of last week’s post, where PR renegade Shaun Saunders interviewed Murray Newlands, and leading up to next week’s PR Summit in San Francisco, I present an entertaining conversation with Greg Galant, CEO of Sawhorse Media (creator of Muck Rack and the Shorty Awards).
Greg is one of those guys we can all learn a lot from; in terms of just normal human being-ness…he’s pleasant and unassuming but not afraid to ruffle feathers. It’s a fine balance, but he does it with extreme adeptness. In this interview he talks about the future of PR, what journalists like, and that little thing called Twitter. P.S. He will be speaking at PR Summit next week!
Rebekah Iliff: What was the impetus behind Muck Rack, and how’s it going?
Greg Galant: When we created the Shorty Awards in late 2008, we were surprised by how many journalists were using Twitter to do their jobs. We had inbound press requests from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC and many more. At the ceremony our pressroom was filled with over 60 journalists. We ran out of drinks for them.
So we learned journalists like to tweet and they like to drink. We thought we could help with the former desire. In April 2009 we [Sawhorse Media] launched Muck Rack as the first place to find journalists on social media. After we saw its popularity, we re-launched in late 2011 as a full-fledged social network for journalists and introduced Muck Rack Pro to help companies get more press.
We’ve got over 15,000 journalists on Muck Rack. Most of the top PR firms and many Fortune 500 companies are using Muck Rack Pro, in addition are many “growth stage” companies including Hubspot and Hootsuite. We also have many tiny startups using it to scale their PR efforts.
RI: How has the PR role changed since the days of Steve Jobs (i.e. needing to know 4-5 journalists to get your story out)?
GG: Three big things have changed in media:
#1 – There are many more outlets that matter.
#2 – Journalists change jobs and beats more frequently.
#3 – You can find and build relationships with journalists using social media.
The first two make life harder for PR pros, but the third is a huge opportunity most people in PR are still not taking advantage of, in my opinion.
RI: Talk about the concept of “Slow PR” – what does it mean, and why does it deserve lip service?
GG: Much of the PR industry has devolved into writing stale press releases and emailing it en masse (i.e. spamming) to hundreds of journalists. Emailing lots of journalists the same thing seemingly doesn’t have a cost. But it’s not very effective. And in the long term there’s a big cost to your reputation.
Slow PR is about using social media to heavily research which journalist you should connect with, building relationships and sending focused pitches – over time. (more…)