PR Tips for Startups » Content Marketing Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Thu, 15 Aug 2013 07:22:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips for Startups » Content Marketing San Francisco, CA “Start With The Why”: Content Marketing For Startups and Small Businesses Fri, 09 Aug 2013 05:51:06 +0000 Chikodi Chima

Content marketing is your investment in a relationship with your customers. Content marketing is one of the hottest buzzwords in public relations and small business marketing today, and for good reason; humans crave stories to make sense of the world.

Smartphones, tablet computers and a proliferation of web-enabled devices give us more access than ever to the stories we desire. Telling your story as a small business and as a brand has never been easier, with the possibility of reaching a massive audience that grows daily. which is why content marketing is so attractive as a low-cost, measurable way to promote your brand.

As an experiment in content creation, we were recently we were joined by  Skyword agency marketing manager Ruben Sanchez, to talk about content marketing tips for small businesses and large brands alike. Skyword is an integrated platform that allows businesses and brands to hire content creators, track keywords important to their brand story, measure content performance, and organize the “choreography” of getting the right content in front of the right viewers at the right time.

Please note that the conversation starts at the 3:00′ mark due to  a few technical difficulties in the beginning.

In our conversation we spoke about about the following topics:

  • Content marketing for lead generation
  • Examples of companies doing a great job with their content marketing
  • The future of content marketing for small businesses
  • Challenges of effectively using content marketing in your small business


How to use content marketing for your small business

For small businesses Ruben says that content should, “Start with the why.” Tell the story of why you went into business, and why you do what you do. Today’s empowered consumers have already done the vast majority of their research on the products or services they want to buy before they reach the provider’s website. Content can help reinforce the reasons why they should purchase from you.

How brands can leverage content marketing

Large brands and marketers should create content that answers every question your customer might have, and use content to drive prospects towards making their decision.

If you have more questions for Ruben about content marketing, or how you can use Skyword for your business, he can be reached on Twitter at CentralSQ.

]]> 0
What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising? Fri, 26 Jul 2013 17:00:15 +0000 Chikodi Chima What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing and Advertising CC Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

A startup recently approached me about being a guest blogger. It seemed like a great opportunity. To reach a new audience and flex my storytelling skills would be fun. I was very disappointed, however, when the company edited my work to be a blatant promotion of their product. #FAIL

Guest blogging is a powerful form of content marketing and a great way to to expose yourself to a new audience. High-quality guest blogs on relevant websites and communities are are one of the simplest ways to cultivate thought leadership in your industry. As a journalist I’ve learned not to have an ego about my work being edited.

However, the company in question violated the cardinal rule of content marketing; don’t sell. While I consult with startups, I didn’t agree to be a spokesperson for the company.

Fortunately it’s a teachable moment. We’ve already explored the difference between public relations and marketing on this blog, so now is an excellent opportunity to understand the difference between content marketing and advertising.

Content Marketing Puts Your Audience First CC tom@hk What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing puts your audience first

In order for content marketing to work you have to think first and foremost about what your audience needs. Putting your product or service ahead of the needs of your new readers is a fast and easy way to damage your credibility.

People know when they’re being advertised to, but they treat it as such. Content marketing allows you to engage different parts of the brain, and reach people when their guard is down. This is sometimes called “educational marketing.”

“You can out-spend or out-teach your competition,” Nathan Kontny said recently Fast Company. Teaching something new or necessary demonstrates your expertise and value. Kontny says,

Let’s say you’re selling a camera. If you have a lot of money, you can use it to buy attention. But if you begin in a spot like me, without enough money to even pay yourself, you’re better off spending your resources teaching people.

Teach people to be better photographers. Once you’ve helped someone take better pictures, you’ll have a true follower and lifetime fan. Oh, and you also happen to sell cameras?

With advertising you’re attempting to be everywhere your audience is. Content marketing allows you to be where your audience is when they need you.

Content Marketing Is About Building Trust CC Thomas Leutard What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing is about building trust

There’s a marketing adage that your audience must be exposed to your message seven times before they will be ready to make a buying decision. A combination of paid advertisements, marketing collateral and other forms of content can help you reach the magic number seven, and convert your prospects into customers.

In order for a guest blog or any form of content marketing to be effective, it has to be valuable to the reader. Resist the temptation to sell. Your agenda is already implied.

When people find your content–likely on your website or blog–they know that your agenda is wrapped up in whatever you’re saying. This is fine. If the content doesn’t speak for itself, however no one will be motivated to accept your offer.

Why content marketing is different from advertising

Advertising is, “Truth well told.” This elegant slogan for multinational advertising agency McCann Erickson sums it up nicely.

Advertising is truth well-told to get you to buy stuff. Preferably today. The goal of advertising is to drive a behavior. The goal of advertising is to drive sales.

Increasingly advertising agencies are engaging in content marketing on behalf of their clients. Copywriters, graphic designers, animators and other professional content creators are legion within advertising firms. Who better to come up with the content for content marketing?

But advertising is fundamentally different from content marketing. While content marketing seeks to educate, advertising seeks to activate. Advertising uses psychological principals such as scarcity, discounting, and positioning to get you to buy.

When your business buys advertising you’re buying the right to say whatever you want about yourself. Advertisers can tell great stories about themselves, their mission and their worldview.

Apple is a great example of a company that inspires with its advertising.

Content marketing is not about self-promotion

Content marketing is an investment in a relationship with your customer. The goal is to drive behavior–ultimately a purchase–but it is different from advertising, because the persuasion happens over a much longer time horizon. Content marketing pulls the reader towards a purchase decision, while advertising pushes. Advertising is by its nature disruptive, while content is a story we seek out.

When you’re promoting yourself you’re not giving the audience a chance to make up their own mind’s about the value you create. Even if you’re awesome. Content is a neutral third party that reinforces your value without interruption, self-promotion or pressure.

BuzzFeed Native Advertising 236x300 What Is The Difference Between Content Marketing And Advertising?

Content marketing versus native advertising

Native advertising is original content that carries a sponsor’s brand or message. BuzzFeed, College Humor, The Atlantic, Vice  and a growing number of online publishers are supplementing their revenue through native advertisements such as, which appeared on BuzzFeed recently.

Native ads aren’t cheap. In addition to the cost of content creation, placing a native advertisement can cost thousands of dollars. But native advertisements appear in the “river” of posts, as opposed to real reserved for traditional ad units, and they’re guaranteed maximum eyeballs.

While the rates may vary between publishers, the native ad platform maintains one strong advantage over traditional ad placements; virality.

While there’s an increasingly-sophisticated science of creating viral content and viral advertisements, people rarely share a marketers message on their own. Not so with original content that is educational, emotional or contains practical value. If something appeals to you, it’s likely to appeal to your friends.

Content marketing as public relations

If you’ve invested in content marketing you have already engaged in the public relations process. Content marketing is “owned media” that speaks to the needs of your target audience. If you take the added step to promote your content (as you should), this is most certainly public relations.

The hybrid of earned and owned media is when you promote your useful, owned content to relevant journalists. One of the most common forms of content marketing/public relations is when companies create infographics with information about industry trends, and then pitch them to journalists. Another tactic is to promote the publication of a white paper or another piece of long-form content.

Great content is an investment

Great content requires an investment of time or money. Your corporate blog is a great place to showcase your story, and engage customers. If you have the time yourself, or if your team has a talented writer to manage your blog, this is an excellent way to educate, challenge and inspire with your mission. The rise of content marketing is one of the reasons English majors are the hot new hire at businesses and startups. Stories are more powerful than ever for business. But at most startups time is the scarcest resource.

A number of platforms such as Scripted, Contently, oDesk and Elance will allow you to outsource your blogging and content creation to a pro. And when you decide to invest in content marketing there are countless content types to choose from to achieve different goals. And then the fun starts.

Do you need content for your website or business? If so, I’d love to help. Email me


]]> 1
Everything You Do Is Content Tue, 23 Jul 2013 03:18:28 +0000 Chikodi Chima Everything You Do Is Content Marketing CC trace elliot Everything You Do Is Content

If you’ve ever worried about when to start content marketing for your business, the barriers have never been lower.

Yahoo showed the world the power of content marketing last week when it’s Q2 earnings call was presented as a live video, CEO Marisa Mayer uploaded behind-the-scenes photos to Tumblr, and the event was live-tweeted. The tweets even followed SEC safe harbor guidelines,  according to The Wall Street Journal.

The move was sophisticated in its simplicity. Few people outside of journalists are likely to consume all of the earnings call content, but each shard speaks to a different community in it’s language.

But you don’t have to be a mammoth Internet company to get serious mileage out of lean content marketing.

People are always hungry for stories. This is the power of content.

Everything you do is content

We live in an era where customers expect the CEO to be the face of the product or service they buy. As a founder this means your life’s journey is the journey of the product from idea to market. Your struggles and triumphs are those of the company. Nothing could be more engaging.

Today brand marketing and advertising are  less important than the genuine human connection that can be created online.

Your customers are fans. Your customers are your community. They want to know the real you. Give it to them.

Genuine is better than professional

There’s a time and a place to invest in professional content marketing. As a startup its more important to be real, and responsive than polished.

When you’re starting up you can engage in many forms of content marketing that are free, spontaneous and can still be powerful.

It’s the CEO’s job to write the firts 1,000 signups, Rob Fitz writes on Startup Toolkit. Responding to early customers with a sincere note is a form of content marketing. Updating your company blog is a must, and it counts as content marketing.

Even sharing pictures of yourself coding with your team, or in the parking lot outside investor meetings is a great way to prove to your loved ones you’re still alive, and engage in low-cost content marketing.

My friends at SkyCatch are masters of early-stage startup content marketing. They use their Instagram account and with aplomb to document the progress of their drones business at every step.

Behind-the-scenes snapshots are tantalizing

Before entrepreneur and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose launched Oink, he used to tease the Web with blurry video of team whiteboards uploaded to his YouTube account. If you squinted hard enough you could almost imagine seeing what in the world the Milk Studios team was cooking up. Knowing I would never learn anything important never stopped me from watching the next video

So many possibilities. Pick one.

A startup without a story is dead in the water. No one is going to tell your story if you don’t do it first.

There are so many avenues for authentic, spontaneous content marketing for your startup. You just need to pick one and go with it. Whether it’s quick blurbs to your blog, genuine conversations via Twitter, or impromptu photo shoots on Instagram, everything you do is content.

]]> 1
How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog Wed, 17 Jul 2013 01:43:19 +0000 Chikodi Chima Startup Love CC Wolfsoul How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate BlogEvery startup thinks their story is remarkable. You’re lucky when journalists agree.

Between 2009 and 2010 Apple gobbled up 14.1 percent of technology news headlines, according to the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism. Google was a close second with 11.4 percent, of headlines, roughly equivalent to the combined tally of Facebook and Twitter in the news. Seems like ancient history. While the breakdown of news coverage is different today, the media landscape for startups is no less bleak.

Scrappy startups fighting for recognition have a seemingly impossible task. How to get noticed in a landscape dominated by juggernauts. Your best opportunity to shine is to make journalists fall in love with you through your corporate blog.


Why do you want journalists to fall in love with you?

If you’ve ever been in love you know the feeling of wanton desire. It’s unquenchable.

To be with your lover for one more moment you’ll climb any mountain and swim the deepest ocean. Every phone call, text message or display of affection is a gift.

Desire is a powerful motivating factor. When journalists desire you, they will seek you out to tell your story with gusto. As a reporter I’ve definitely fallen in love with startups before.

How to make journalists fall in love with your blog

A well-designed, and well-executed blog can make journalists fall in love with you. It’s a peek into your world.

The startup company blog is the ultimate platform to share your vision, engage customers and to show off your startup swag. Until you have a media footprint your blog is the first thing people searching for information about you will see. The more passion you have for your company mission, the more your blog content will reflect your desire to improve the world.

How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog CC puzzlescript How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog

Make content journalists love!

The best writing is personal and feels like it was written just for you. Maybe it was.

You can use your blog to speak to the specific interests of the journalist whose attention you most want.

Journalists are infomaniacs who are passionate about their beat. They will gladly consume any new information that fuels this passion. Make your blog irresistible to journalists by cramming it with the topical information they crave.

When he or she finds your blog the effort will be instantly recognized. Forbes editor Kashmir Hill write almost exclusively about privacy. Her blog is called “The Not-So Private Parts.” If you care about technology and privacy as much as she does you’re bound to create a lasting relationship. The best way to demonstrate this is on your blog.

Comment on your favorite reporter’s stories on your blog. Challenge his or her ideas, and come up with stories of your own that match the tone and content of their writing. It’s a great way to add value to their reportage. At the very least you’ll be broadening your subject matter expertise and industry knowledge.

The risk of courting a single journalist with your blog is that your content ignores the needs of your broader audience. However, if you’re speaking from the perspective of your company’s product mission, your customers should be happy to join you for the ride.

Make Content Journalists Love CC Thomas Stegelmann How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog

Always put your best stories on your blog first

Put your best company stories, updates and insights on your blog first. Resist the temptation to hoard your juiciest tidbits for the big interview with that influential startup journalist. Later may never come.

And if you do snag press coverage and don’t have anything to talk about with a reporter, your company has bigger problems to worry about.

The exception to this rule is when you’ve got a story ready for your blog that a reporter has agreed to print on his or her site. When you’ve tempted a journalist with proprietary data, an infographic or other exclusive insight, make sure they get first crack.

Blog like your life depends on it

Because so much is riding on your blog you should treat content creation as if your life depends on it. An excellent corporate blog for your startup can distinguish your from your rivals. And you never know who will find your content, and how it can open doors in the future.

Today’s startup public relations is about telling your story to the right people, not the most people possible. Once your content is out in the wild it’s easier than ever to understand who has viewed your your content, for how long, and where they found it, with Google Analytics and social media monitoring tools.

Make Journalists Fall In Love With You Through Your Blog CC Thomas Hawk How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog

Startups with excellent company blogs

Creating a seductive, lovable blog for your startup will take time. Fortunately you can and should emulate startups with excellent corporate blogs. Below are a few of my favorite startup corporate blogs, with an assist from Smart Recruiters:

  • Simple
  • General Assembly
  • Ready For Zero
  • FreshBooks
  • Hubspot
  • Kissmetrics
  • OKCupid (sadly inactive)


Important Content Can Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Startup CC Jennifer Stylls How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog

More tools to make journalists fall in love with your blog

Blog articles are just one of the ways you can use your blog to make journalists (and customers) fall in love with you. If writing isn’t your forte–or even if it is–you should feel free to experiment with a wide variety of content types.

Reach your audience across platforms and and demonstrate subject matter expertise with:

A startup blogging lesson from Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious says: Update your blog regularly. Publish stories that show how you’re changing the world in big and small ways.

Depending on the content appetite of your audience you may need to post daily, weekly or monthly. From an SEO standpoint you want to publish more rather than less. But always make sure that posts are high-quality and relevant.

Grammar mistakes, spelling errors and technical hiccups are easy ways to damage your credibility.

Make Journalists Fall In Love CC Jenuine Captures How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog

Blog content is a long-term investment

A love that was built to last takes time.

Investing in original content guarantees that when startup journalists finally do find you the have something to chew on. But remember that you’re building a reputation over months–years even.

Until you’ve cobbled together some reputable press clips you’re media footprint is likely too small to attract the attention you crave. It’s the age old problem. It’s easy to get press when you have press. With a corporate blog you are the publisher, and you have control over how much content is published, and when.

Big companies don’t have to make journalists fall in love. Where charm fails they have scale, they have money and they have power. But it wasn’t always this way.

There once was a time when Dropbox, Airbnb and Instagram were longshots. By their various means they found champions in the media who made their rise to greatness seem inevitable. If you have dreams of the big time, you’re going to be charming, scrappy and seductive. Content is your best friend. The way to a journalist’s heart is through your blog.



]]> 1
How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue Mon, 27 May 2013 17:51:51 +0000 Chikodi Chima Hipmunk tags CC natbat 300x300 How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue

There’s an adage in business, “Half my marketing budget is wasted. I just don’t know which half.” Today the old saw attributed to John Wanamaker is a rarity.

Marketing dollars and public relations campaigns can now be tracked with scientific precision that would make NASA blush. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

A few days ago a fantastic example of revenue-driving lean content arrived in my inbox. Travel site Hipmunk created a nifty infographic with the irresistible tagline, “How to Save $300 on Your Next Vacation.”

Hidden travel costs!?! Oh, noz!!!! I better see what I’m missing.

The infographic itself wasn’t anything earth-shattering. (It’s embedded below) Don’t park your car with the hotel valet, was one piece of advice. Another tip was the not to tip the maid who cleans your room.  You could save $20.

Screen shot 2013 05 25 at 5.43.18 PM 300x240 How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue

But for all it’s frugality, the graphic was actually a well-executed Trojan Horse. The point was to grab your attention long enough so that you would scroll to the bottom of the email where a revenue generating search button was placed. If you search for and book a flight after reading the infographic you just made Hipmunk some money. So is this sneaky, or the new normal?

“Our thinking as marketers needs to shift from “Mad Men” to “math men,” says Mitch Joel of Twist Image in a recent Harvard Business Review post. ”This doesn’t mean that creativity, insight, and storytelling die. It does mean that we can use technology to make us better at how that our human-crafted messages convert to sales,” Joel says.

The infographic is part of a much longer conversation between me and Hipmunk. I’ve used their travel search to book flights in the past, and

We live in a quantified world. Whether I buy a flight through Hipmunk today, or in six months, their team knows I read their emails and a little nudge can get me to visit their site.

Hipmunk Referral Link 300x130 How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue

When The link I clicked in the email took me to a custom landing page for newsletter readers. You can see evidence of this from the tracking code in the URL. More sophisticated tracking code could have taken me to a custom offer valid only for people who read the newsletter with the infographic. If I had come to the site from Twitter, or another social platform tools like Optimizely would allow Hipmunk to show me entirely different versions of their site. Such is the power of lean content in action.

How much does all this cost? Not much. To create two versions of an infographic could range from $500-700 for an external designer. Much less if the creative was produced in-house.

We’re entering into an era where it’s easier than ever to track the ROI for content production and public relations down to the cent. With greater cost accountability for content and marketing, startups and small businesses will be able to take more calculated risks, conduct experiments and do more cool stuff.  I’m all for lean content marketing, where ROI can be proven, revenue can instantly be generated and greater customer insight gained.

Total Cost of Travel Infographic How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue

What examples of revenue-driving marketing content have you found lately? Sound off in the comments section below.

]]> 1
How To Recruit A Technical Co-Founder With Lean Content Sun, 19 May 2013 05:02:45 +0000 Chikodi Chima  

Bulls Eye Jarod CC Carruthers How To Recruit A Technical Co Founder With Lean Content

Note: This post has been updated with comment from founder Daniel Vitiello.

A provocative advertisement popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday. Unlike most ads that beg for my digital affection, this one asked a simple question: “Will you be my co-founder?” Unusual. Definitely worth a click.

Cofounder Ad Screenshot How To Recruit A Technical Co Founder With Lean Content

The clickthrough rerouted me to a full-page YouTube video where I was greeted by Daniel Vitiello, who explained that what I was watching was pin-pointed to me based on specific information in my Facebook profile. Through Facebook’s fine-grained ad targeting platform he knows I’m in San Francisco, and that I’m into tech startups. He’s right, of course. And I am very impressed.

Daniel is looking for someone with a background similar to mine to be the co-founder of Yota, a marketplace for personal shopping data.

People who use Yota upload photos of their shopping receipts and can sell the data directly to data brokers and advertisers.

Harvesting and selling consumer data is a multi-billion dollar industry, Vitiello says in the video. Right now major players like Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon are reaping huge profits in an unregulated industry. Yota would serve as a platform to give consumers more control over their data, as well as earn some of the money their data is worth.

Beyond the precision of his message, it’s clear Vitellio is a customer development pro. He “got out of the building,” and surveyed hundreds of people before building anything. He was able to identify the problem, build a persona of his ideal user, and form revenue-generating partnerships with a quasi-functional prototype. Now all he needs is the technical talent to get the platform to scale. Hence the very clever and genuine ads on Facebook.

Daniel Vitellio Screenshot How To Recruit A Technical Co Founder With Lean Content

As you can see from the YouTube screenshot more than 700 people have watched the video. While it’s no Harlem Shake, it’s still a spectacular feat.

The privacy settings on the YouTube clip prevent accidental discovery by people who just happened to be watching related content. Only those people with the exact URL can watch, and that the exact audience for whom the message was intended.

My background is non-technical, but on Facebook I have liked myriad publications and brands that label me as a die-hard tech geek. Good use of breadcrumbs, my friend.

Vitellio has also perfectly demonstrated “lean content,” in action. You don’t need to speak to thousands of people anymore to get your message to the critical few who need it. Think small and win big.

Using the same technique as Vitiello it is now possible for any brand or startup willing to invest the time upfront to create lean content that speaks powerfully and intentionally to a microniche audience.

Better still, because Vitiello targeted his ideal co-founder so precisely, he’s not wasting any money on ad impressions or clickthroughs from poor quality matches (unless you count non-technical geeks like me). Lean content cuts through the noise and the ROI is trackable and immediate.

There’s a lean content meetup in San Francicso next week, and I’m even more thrilled to be going.

So how did the lean content recruiting work? I wanted to know. Below are my questions along with Daniel’s responses.
CC: What prompted you to buy a targeted Facebook ad?

DV: I recently heard about software that can scrape Facebook user ID’s from groups and pages. When I learned that you could upload the list of ID’s into Facebook’s ad platform I was excited by the opportunities this presented. I imagined the different ways you could apply this to be hyper relevant and personal in ad campaigns. This let to my first experiment of buying ads to target developers living in san francisco.

CC: What characteristics were you searching for?

DV: I tried to find pages and interests to scrape IDs from that only a developer would like. This included pages like Hacker News and Github which only provided a few thousand results each. I was able to find a much bigger audience when looking at general interests of “computer software” and “programming language.” I then further narrowed it down by targeting an audience living in san francisco aged 20-30.

CC: How many people match your search criteria?

DV: In the initial ad campaign I had a potential reach of 4,460 people. After split testing several different titles and pictures for the ads to optimize the conversion rate, I expand the potential reach to 19,800 by adding additional interests that still fit within the scope of being mainly developers.

CC: How many developers have contacted you?

DV: I have had over 20 people contact me after seeing the video so far. Most of them are developers but a couple are biz dev guys who are interested in the idea and potentially working together have reached out as well. I was surprised when a girl emailed me saying she had seen my video on the art of ass kicking blog when after a quick google I found this:

CC: What other methods have you tried to find a co-founder?

DV: I have gone to dozens of different cofounder networking events on meetup, pitched to developers at pitch events, and looked at the find a cofounder sites online. I find that in person at one of those events it is difficult to get your entire idea across and really attract that interest. Especially when you want to create something that has never been done before.

CC: What are some unconventional technical recruiting methods that inspired you? 

I really admire the automation that Noah Kagan sets up when he is recruiting for a new position. He showed me how to set up autoresponders and email filters to make the process of wading through applicants exponentially faster. However with my method nearly every lead that has come in has been someone that I want to continue a conversation with. Since I positioned my advertising and video to only attract quality leads I haven’t needed to set up a filtering process yet.

]]> 2
Inspiration: Always Play Nice But… Fri, 10 May 2013 16:18:02 +0000 Chikodi Chima 20130510 091109 Inspiration: Always Play Nice But...


H/T: Jason via Doodler’s Anonymous

]]> 0
Public Relations is Whatever You Want it to Be Fri, 10 May 2013 15:11:53 +0000 Chikodi Chima Public Relations Banksy Bird 300x300 Public Relations is Whatever You Want it to BePublic relations is whatever you want it to be. No one owns it. The old guard have lost their hold on the hearts and minds of the public, and anything is possible.

Public relations is equally owned by today’s startups and small businesses who have the power to reach unlimited audiences, and share their stories in high fidelity. No journalist nor publication is needed. Your blog, YouTube page and Twitter feed  have the same power that once belonged only to CNN, The New York Times. Best of all they’re free.

Upstart media brands like Mashable, The Verge, and TechCrunch reach millions speaking to the passion of technology addicts and Internet pioneers. Every niche pursuit has a megaphone. Each day new media empires are born and legacy brands take one step closer to the grave.

In this new, and uncharted landscape public relations is a new and different animal. There are so many publics. So many desires. All want to be satisfied. All can. Now is the time to tell your story, as a business owner, a problem solver and as a human being. The eyes and ears are there.

While the frontiers of public relations are wide open, stories count more than ever. Content alone is not enough to satisfy. With so much information chasing so little attention, nothing short of excellence will be tolerated, shared and adopted.

Public Relations Banksy 300x200 Public Relations is Whatever You Want it to Be

Public relations is being disrupted, re-imagined and repurposed, but there is still a prominent place for knowledgeable veterans. Relationships matter. Strategy matters. Experience still matters. More than ever mentors can teach a new generation of storytellers about the craft, and prove once and for all that for all the change we see, nothing is really new.

Today’s public relations practitioners get to be instant experts, multitalented cross-platform communicators. At times it seems the future is moving at us 1,000 miles per hour. And perhaps it is. With the ever increasing speed of technological innovation, the next great disruption really is around the corner. Whether it’s 3D printing, nanotechnology, targeted genetics, cloud computing, or good ol’ fashioned SMS, the world we used to know is giving way to a new reality from one moment to the next.

Who wants to own the new public relations? Who wants to be the new face of business? The opportunity is before you. Go get it! Make it yours!

]]> 2
Copywriting: Value Proposition Lessons From Captain Obvious Sun, 05 May 2013 23:19:42 +0000 Chikodi Chima When communicating with customers on your website, take a lesson from Captain Obvious; it’s better  to be clear than clever. Your value proposition is a written statement of your customer offering, and a promise of the unique benefit you deliver.

Comunicate your value proposition in a way that  cannot be misunderstood, no matter how obvious or childlike it may seem.

“You’ll never, ever hear anyone say, ‘It’s too easy to understand what your site is about,’” Peter Sandeen writes on the KISSmetrics Blog. “But if your site is even a bit confusing, your bounce rate will skyrocket.” Communicating what’s obvious to you–perhaps painfully so– is what will bring the right clients to you in droves.

To make your value proposition crystal clear think not about the features you  offer, but the problem you solve for users, and why they need to take action. Now.

“A clear value proposition makes you the best choice for prospects,” Sandeen says on It’s OK to be direct. Resist the temptation to confuse wordiness with intelligence. While a third grader might not buy your product, you’ve done a great job creating your value proposition if they can understand what you do. Remember, it’s not easy to be clear in writing.

Below are few examples of business that clearly spell out their value proposition while leaving zero room for confusion:

  • Yesware: Email for salespeople (a product I use and recommend)
  • Mixrank: Uncover any advertiser’s ads and traffic sources
  • Pagelever: Pagelever powers data-driven social marketing decisions

Any uncertainty as to what the companies above do? Didn’t think so?

Captain Obvious Strikes Again 300x225 Copywriting: Value Proposition Lessons From Captain ObviousI’ll readily admit that creating a clear, unmistakeable value proposition is a problem that resonates with me. As journalists we learn that a catchy headline is a powerful weapon to capture readers’ interest and get them to click on a story. It’s also a way to distinguish your story from other reporters covering the same event, and to stand out from other and posts on your site. Cleverness pays dividends in the news business.

Copywriting is a very specific form of writing, with very narrow purpose. Think of your website copy as your frontline sales team, to paraphrase Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers a bit. Your product or service is much more than a few lines of text on a website, but this copy is the start of a relationship. Your customer is like the hottest girl or guy in school. There’s lots of competition, and on your first date you need to make a strong first impression to win him or her over. Be crystal clear in your value proposition, and show why you’re the one.


]]> 2
Check Out The 10 Best Twitter Feeds For Startups And Entrepreneurs Wed, 01 May 2013 05:37:24 +0000 Chikodi Chima Twitter Bird Check Out The 10 Best Twitter Feeds For Startups And EntrepreneursAccess to great mentors is one of the secrets of successful entrepreneurs. In old times (read: before the Internet) mentorship was something that happened on a one-to-one basis. People would meet over coffee to discuss ideas, and come up with solutions. Today Twitter makes it possible for a single great mentor to share his or her wisdom with thousands of people at once.

Over on Business News Daily writer David Mileach has composed a list of the Top 10 Twitter accounts for entrepreneurs. For your convenience I’ve selected three of my favorites:

Dharmesh Shah is currently CTO of marketing automation software company Hubspot, and founder of OnStartups, so it’s no wonder he has more than 180,000 subscribers. Follow him on Twitter @Dharmesh

Gene Marks is hard to miss, writing for the You’re The Boss blog on The New York Times, Huffington Post,  and occasionally sticking his foot in his mouth over at Forbes. Somehow Marks finds ways to dispense even more small business wisdom on his Twitter feed. Follow him on Twitter @GeneMarks

American Express Open Forum is the small business content arm of one of the world’s largest credit card companies. American Express is an early adopter among financial institutions, as well as a leader in social media. OpenForum produces a prodigious amount of startup and small business-focused original content, and practical advice for entrepreneurs. Follow them on Twitter @OpenForum

Unfortunately this list gets negative marks for failing to include any female entrepreneurs, but it’s great overall.

After you’ve had a chance to check out the top 10 Twitter feeds for small startups please let us know who are your favorites, and why.

]]> 2