Help a Reporter Out, a Simple Microbusiness

October 29, 2015

Career

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Peter Shankman, a PR and media guy, has created an elegant, profitable business called Help a Reporter Out, or HARO. It’s a newsletter that connects journalists with sources.

Here’s how it works. When a journalist is writing a story and needs a source for the article, they submit a request to Peter. Peter compiles the requests and emails them to his contact list 3 times per day. You can become a contact by signing up at helpareporter.com. If you can help a reporter out, you do, either because you’re a nice guy, or because you want to get yourself or your business mentioned in the journalist’s write up.

So how does Peter make money? He runs a small text-only advertisement at the top of each email. These bring in around $3,000 per day for a couple hours’ work. That’s 800k per year — not too shabby.

This is a great example of adding value by connecting people together.

Trendy News Dot Org

If you use Twitter, you’ve probably noticed the Trending Topics section to the right of your homepage. These are the snippets of conversation showing up most frequently across Twitter right at this moment.

Some trending topics reference a breaking news event. As I write this, North Korea is trending because they just announced the successful test of a nuclear weapon. You can click on the trending topic to find out how people on Twitter are reacting to the news event. The only problem is it’s sometimes difficult to understand what’s going on just by reading a jumble of tweets. I prefer to read up on the event in a newspaper first, and then check out Twitter’s reaction afterward.

I’ve often wished there was a single web page that would display the Twitter trending topics but also any relevant news articles. I couldn’t find anything like this, so I went ahead and hacked something together myself.

Check out the site here: Trendynews.org.

You’ll see that many of the topics have news attached to them. But some of the topics are purely for fun and don’t have any news associated with them. As I’m writing this, one of the topics is #3Drunkwords. Lots of people are tweeting, you guessed it, three words you might say while drunk. You can click on the trending topic right from Trendynews.org to see everyone’s tweets.

 

I’m On a Boat

Although I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live on television in years, I’m a bigger fan of SNL now than I ever was in the past. That includes junior high, when I would actually tune into the show live.

Why the resurgence? Andy Samberg videos. They’re funny, and I don’t need to stay up late to see them.

I’m impressed with SNL. They recaptured my attention after a couple decades of irrelevance to me. And they used a completely different distribution method to reach me.

Alright, now check out I’m On a Boat: