Community is something that every company should strive to create around its product or service. In our connected world it’s easier than ever to tap into large pools of people who share a common ambition, or a common pain, and to listen to their needs. You can start the public relations process early by generating excitement among a loyal group of early users, before sharing your ideas with the wider world.
On this week’s installment of the PR Tips For Startups Podcast we speak with Doug Crets from Microsoft BizSpark about how startups can leverage existing communities to improve their products, or to create a new product that serves a need.
Doug says that today companies and brands can act as journalists, and serve the information needs of their community with the same authority and impact of a media organization. But it’s important to focus on the needs of the community, and to avoid self-promotion. If you’re only interested in talking about what you do, your audience will quickly tune you out.
Microsoft BizSpark is a global community of more than 50,000 startups who receive free software, support and mentorship to grow their businesses for up to three years. In his role as a central collector and publisher of information for his community, Doug is careful not to be “All Microsoft, all the time.”
Seek to become a trusted voice for your community, and the people will naturally gravitiate to your offer.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Companies who incorporate community into their product:
Zirtual: Virtual assistants for busy people
Babelverse: The universal translator for spoken communication
Venture capitalists who do a good job of creating community:
Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures. His blog is AVC.
Mark Suster from GRP Parnters, whose blog is Both Sides of The Table.