PR Tips for Startups » Public Relations http://prtipsforstartups.com Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Mon, 12 Aug 2013 06:53:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 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 » Public Relations http://prtipsforstartups.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/PRTips_logo_iTunes_iTunes_1400x1400.jpg http://prtipsforstartups.com/category/public-relations/ San Francisco, CA When Is Too Early For Startups To Begin The PR Process? http://prtipsforstartups.com/early-startups-pr-process/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/early-startups-pr-process/#comments Sun, 11 Aug 2013 05:45:57 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1325

Startup Public Relations CC Stephen Poffe When Is Too Early For Startups To Begin The PR Process?

Don’t make the mistake of launching your business without considering your startup public relations strategy.

Despite what people say, It’s never too early to begin the startup public relations process. Even with just an idea, the sooner you engage in public relations, the sooner you’ll be able to verify if you’re on the right track.

Public relations is an umbrella term for product creation, engaging with customers, and courting the media. Starting the public relations process from Day 1 means identifying your public and key areas of differentiation that make you the right choice for prospects. Whether you’re past the MVP phase, or simple kicking around an idea, getting outsiders involved means developing customer relationships, advancing a company narrative, and growing your profile as an entrepreneur.

Public relations for your startup is different from advertising because your investment is time, not ad-buying dollars. That doesn’t make public relations free, but there is no out-of-pocket cost.

Simple way to begin the startup public relations process

Public relations for your business doesn’t have to be expensive. The fastest and easiest ways to engage in the PR process for your business is to maintain a corporate blog, and to be active on Twitter. Content that illuminates your growth process is a great way to humanize your company, and to create discussion with potential users and partners.

You should also follow influential bloggers in your industry and engage with their new blog posts and articles. Create a community around the problem you wish to solve. It’s essential to have a community for your product, both before and after you launch, as we discussed with Douglas Crets from Microsoft BizSpark.

Should you hire a PR firm to help?

The majority of public relations and content marketing activities startups need can be handled internally. Many startups have started hiring public relations firms early for good reason.

The barriers to entry for starting a technology company have never been lower. More startups means more innovation, and more solutions to real world problems. This means more competition for users’ attention, and more competition to get in front of journalists.

Hiring a public relations professional at an early stage can help you break through the noise, and stay on the radar of the journalists and influences who matter. An experienced PR firm or solo PR consultant is also there to help you develop important collateral for your company, such as media kits, website copy, and positioning statements. Publicists can also help your CEO or team members get invited to speak at conferences, and participate on panels at major industry events. A publicist can help startups generate the early buzz they need to attract key hires, or sway the decision-making process at a prestigious startup accelerator.

Early PR for Your Startup CC seanmcgrath When Is Too Early For Startups To Begin The PR Process?

Why you want early PR

The time has never been better for startups. Amazon Web Services has dramatically reduced the cost of hosting and file storage, and companies without technical founders, who are experts at product marketing, can do quite well. What’s needed is added awareness, and the credibility of media recognition. Startups featured in prominent publications are at an advantage when they’re looking for investors, or who when they’re attempting to close major partnerships with established players. While much of this startup public relations activity can be hacked, a PR pro, with knowledge of the landscape, can significantly add to your ground game.

What to do if you can’t afford full-time PR

Many startups cannot afford to retain a full-time publicist. But even at an early stage it’s still a good idea to seek the help of a PR professional. Depending on your budget, the maturity of your startup, and your public relations needs, you may be able to engage a startup PR professional on a per-project or one-off basis until you have significant momentum behind your company.

A publicist who specializes in startups can help you tease out the most compelling angles of your startup story, and can provide important feedback on what journalists cover startups like yours, as well as how to pitch them. Business Insider put together a handy resource for startups to pitch reporters. Jason Baptiste also has a helpful guide for pitching startup journalists on his site.

Countless resources, courses and how-to’s exist on how to engage the media. An experienced publicist has devoted his or her career to cultivating relationships with the press for the client’s benefit. This can only happen over time, and with repeated outreach. Ultimately startup journalists want to speak with entrepreneurs and CEOs, not their flacks, but PRs are a bridge to relationship formation. 

The best time to begin the startup PR process was yesterday. The second best time is right now. If you have questions or comments about PR for your startup, I’d love to help in any way I can. Just drop me a note.

Have you had experience with early PR, good or bad? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Choose Your Enemies Wisely http://prtipsforstartups.com/choose-enemies-wisely/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/choose-enemies-wisely/#comments Sat, 10 Aug 2013 04:53:12 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1315 Choose Your Enemies Wisely CC Rafik Berlin Choose Your Enemies Wisely

Creating controversy is the single faster way to get your startup on the map. While you should always strive to create lasting value, it’s a much longer road to recognition.

Box.net CEO Aaron Levie is my favorite example of an entrepreneur who uses emnity to drive sales. Since it’s inception Box.net has had an intense rivalry with Microsoft’s SharePoint product. Perhaps rivalry is the wrong word. Box is expected to IPO in 2014, but even with an infusion of cash it never has and never will pose a real threat to Microsoft’s business technology juggernaut.

Issues of scale aside, Box has been one of the loudest and more tireless critics of Microsoft. It’s a strategic and effective way to generate undue attention for your startup.

box billboard Choose Your Enemies Wisely

Box buys billboards along Highway 101–the central artery of Silicon Valley–proclaiming their benefits over comparable Microsoft cloud storage technology. After one such billboard ran its course, Levie said at CloudBeat 2011 that he had it hung in the Box.net office in Mountain View. A technology company with millions of users has very few reasons to buy display advertising. There’s nowhere for customers to buy their product in the real world. The purpose of the advertisements is to provoke and annoy Microsoft, as well as to instill a sense of belonging in the Box team.

Why your enemy is your friend

The right enemy will do more for you than all your efforts combined. Make sure to choose your enemies wisely.

On its own Box could never outmaneuver or outspend Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft has enough money that when Box was small, they could have bought the startup and killed the company just to muzzle Levie. If this had happened, it would have been a huge win for Levie and his small team, because they would have achieved a fast and lucrative exit. However, the merits of their technology, and their dedicated sales and product teams got them to the IPO stage.

As an unknown cloud storage company Box.net could have gone through the slow and agonizing process of creating a standalone brand. Instead they choose their enemy wisely, and rocketed into the public consciousness. By choosing Microsoft as their enemy Box steadily injected their brand into the mind of current customers and likely purchasers. Without earning the right to be compared to Microsoft, they positioned themselves against Microsoft, and made themselves much bigger and more formidable than than their size.

Repositioning Is Key To Defining Your Rivals In Business CC Bundeswehr Fotos Wir.Dienen.Deutschland. Choose Your Enemies Wisely

Repositioning your enemy

““Repositioning” is when someone tries to redefine where a brand stands,” says Atomic Tango founder Freddy Nager. ”Coca-Cola claims to be “Classic,” so Pepsi repositions them as old-fashioned and tired. Microsoft claims to be ideal for business, so Apple repositions them as awkward and uncool.” BTW, the Microsoft reference was an accident, but they’ve clearly painted a big target on their back. By presenting yourself against a larger competitor you start to shape how their customers view them, and present your business as a viable alternative. 

Nager also recommends “chiseling” your enemy, with a number of devious, but effective tactics. Chiseling is the act of chipping away at the core value of your enemy’s brand in a steady, systematic fashion, as Nager explains.

And whether you want to participate in the dark arts of repositioning, it’s worth a read just to recognize if they’re being used against you.

Don’t be afraid to stir the pot

Controversy sells. If you choose your enemy wisely people will pay attention to you, and the right prospects may become your customers. The worst thing in the world is to be ignored as a business, or as anyone with an idea. A little controversy, or a lot is a great way to separate yourself from the pack, and to show what you’re made of. People like a rivalry, and they love an underdog story even more. Be smart about the enemy you choose, and that underdog story could one day be about you.

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Soylent And The Case For Cause Marketing http://prtipsforstartups.com/soylent-cause-marketing/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/soylent-cause-marketing/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 02:18:21 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1293 skeptical chihuahua CC Ylie Soylent And The Case For Cause MarketingPeople don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Soylent founder Rob Rinehart wants to end world hunger. In the process he’s served up a steaming plate of controversy, pitting foodies, nutritionists and poverty eradication advocates against one another. Intentionally or not, he’s hit on the perfect recipe for viral PR.

Soylent is dangerous! It won’t stand up to scientific scrutiny! And Soylent just might be the devil, his critics claim.

What’s all the fuss about Soylent?

Soylent is a dissolvable powder that provides you with your total daily intake of calories and essential nutrients at a cost of 50 cents per day. That’s it.

“Are you working on a truly disruptive technology?” asks Douglas Crets from Microsoft BizSpark. “Here’s one sign that you are — people who hold incumbent positions in the industry express frustration and skepticism at your work,” he says. In that case Rhinehart is definitely onto something huge.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

I met Rob a few months ago. We were at a vegan night at a house in San Francisco’s Mission District. He told me about his quest to end world hunger, and that he had gone 51 days consuming nothing but Soylent. I was skeptical.

But my friend tried Soylent, didn’t die, and so I tried some. Soylent is sweet, light in texture and had a sunny vanilla taste to it. Reinhart said the vanilla was added to enhance flavor, and was not a biproduct of the mineral mixture. While I couldn’t actually imagine living off the stuff indefinitely, its taste was good enough that I had a second sample.

I would venture to say that most of the people who are the most opposed to Soylent haven’t tried it.There are 50 beta testers who are helping Rob improve the formula, mouthfeel and product experience. A handful of journalists have also been invited to sample Soylent, including the kind-hearted folks at Gawker and i09. But everyone has an opinion. People tripping over themselves to be the one to condemn Soylent most vociferously.

People who support Rob see the need for real solutions to global hunger, and want to be a part of the change they desire. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

The problem Soylent solves

There are 870 million people today who are chronically malnourished, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Program. That’s one out of eight living humans. In America 40 percent of the food we produce is wasted, and 25 percent of all fresh water consumed is used to create this food waste. It’s disgusting.

There is more than enough food to feed our planet. Even in times of drought and plague, the problem of feeding starving people comes down to logistics. Soylent could allow aid organizations, governments and other concerned folks to rush life-sustaining nutrition to people in conflict areas without fear of spoilage, or food aid theft.

Why Soylent is a cause and not just a product

Will Soylent end starvation and solve our food waste problem? Maybe.

A successful crowdfunding campaign has already helped Rinehart raise more than $1,000,000 to improve his testing methodology, scale production and distribution. It’s too soon to know if it will work, and what the unintended side effects may be, but this is irrelevant. Starvation, obesity and bad diet are problems bigger than any one man. People gladly give their money to Rheinhart because starvation is a problem they want solved.

People want Soylent to succeed because they believe in the mission. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why do do it.

What is your company mission?

Every startup has a story. Often the founding team was united around a common problem, and they found the problem affected many more people than they thought. Founders who solve a painful issue for which no other solution exists have the best stories to tell about their business, and find success enrolling others in their mission. Whatever the case may be, people are drawn to help you when your product has “self-transcendant value,” and is a story bigger than you and your team. This is the root of cause marketing.

Watch the TED Talk from Simon Sinek below to understand how many of the companies you admire wrap themselves in a cause.

Rhinehart is a credible spokesman for the product, because he created Soylent, and is living off its sustenance. He’s committed to sound science, and researches his product tirelessly to ensure that it will one day be ready for the masses. In short, he no con. But that hasn’t stopped people from lashing out at him with ad-hominem attacks, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), and boundless skepticism.

The genius, of course, is that all the controversy is the best public relations money can buy. While people may not be saying nice things, at least they’re talking. You can easily turn negative attention into something that suits your aims. You can’t turn no attention into anything. In marketing and sales it’s better to be hated, feared, reviled or ridiculed than to be ignored.

The jury is out on whether Soylent will end world hunger. Even if it falls short of its goal, and can keep 1 million people alive for cents per day–or even one starving person–then it can be judged as a success. That’s not just a protein powder. It’s a cause.

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Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential? http://prtipsforstartups.com/weird-startup-damage-public-relations-potential/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/weird-startup-damage-public-relations-potential/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 04:22:54 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1084 Gorilla Scratching Head CC cj berry Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential?Great company names are hard to find. Or are they?

Among the startup mistakes I’ve made was wasting too much time with my co-founder trying to come up with the perfect company name. Either the name wasn’t descriptive enough, or a good, short name was already taken. We went back and forth for days. In the end we got nowhere.

Could you be doing public relations damage to your cause if  people don’t understand what your startup does because of a strange name? I doubt it.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday became the latest publication to lament the proliferation of Web 2.0 names, especially those ending in li or ly. By their count there are 161 companies whose name ends ly or li. There’s even a Pinterest board. Those crazy kids!

Writer Lindsay Gellman says:

 

With about 252 million domain names currently registered across the Internet, the short, recognizable dot-com Web addresses, or URLs, have long been taken.

The only practical solution, some entrepreneurs say, is to invent words, like Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg and Zaarly, to avoid paying as much as $2 million for a concise, no-nonsense dot-com URL.

The Atlantic Wire amplified the original story under the headling “The Pitfalls of The Clever.ly Named Startup,” and Quartz went with the sensationalist title “Startups, stop choosing names that aren’t actual words.” Shameless link bait. Alas, I clicked.

Web 2.0 Names Ending in ly Does Your Weird Startup Name Damage Your Public Relations Potential?

This story emerges every so often. Every time a new writer talks about Web 2.0 names they inevitably mention Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr. These companies that are today household names were compelled to adopt unusual monikers because the ones they wanted were unavailable. Companies who are lambasted by the journalist get some free public relations exposure, and hopefully get at least a few downloads apiece.

Shorter names are perceived as better, especially in an era of 140-character updates.

But all of these stories miss something. Longer names can be fine too, especially when they’re descriptive and catchy. A commenter on the Wall Street Journal story named his personal finance tool Greater Than Zero. Makes sense. Right? I recently heard about a solar company called Milk The Sun. You can still be clever and come up with a good company name that makes sense.

But there are benefits to the oddball Web 2.0 names that are not discussed in any of the articles I’ve read. From a marketing and public relations standpoint it can be good to invent a word.

The more distinct your name, the easier it is to track yourself online. With a zany, made-up name it’s easy to keep track of what people are saying about your fledgling company using tools like Google Alerts, Mention and BrandsEye. If you’re name is made up the signal-to-noise ratio is very high. People are only going to tweet, blog or share your name if they’re interested in you. Even if they’re slamming your product.

Having a trackable name allows you to directly engage your audience, solicit feedback and quickly make changes based on user suggestions.

Once you reach a certain size this no longer matters. On Quora I asked how many times the word Google appears online each day. Unfortunately no one serious stepped up to the question. When Google was called “Back Rub,” it would be impossible to distinguish whether someone was talking about the company, or about a massage. But switching the name to Google gave founders Larry and Sergei the opportunity to engage with anyone using their name online.

Ultimately it comes down to the value your company creates. IFTTT (If This Then That) seems like one of the sillier company names I’ve come across, but it keeps popping up more and more often. In spite of the oddity of the name, what they’re doing is increasingly relevant to me, so their name could be anything, and I would probably still use their product.

Create value and you can call your product anything you want.

 

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PR Tips Podcast 004: What Is Public Relations With Erica Lee http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-podcast/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-podcast/#comments Sat, 13 Jul 2013 19:10:39 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=962 logo final2 287x300 PR Tips Podcast 004: What Is Public Relations With Erica Lee On this episode of the podcast we answer the question, “What is public relations” with Erica Lee the founder of StrategicLee. Erica is a 20-year veteran of marketing and PR, and StrategicLee is a boutique San Francisco-based public relations consultancy whose focus is “fast-growth” stages for startups and enterprise technology clients. Erica and her team are help businesses with their PR Whether you’re a small startup who has recently closed a round of funding, or you’re an established player looking to make a big splash with a new product launch.

 

What is public relations

“PR is about making your phone ring,” Erica says. The PR process can be approached in many different ways, but if your businesses isn’t getting interest from customers, you PR isn’t working.

PR is about achieving your business goals through public facing communication, in print press, on blogs, on television, speaking at conferences, and so forth. But regardless of the tactics, its about getting new customers and strengthening your relationship with current customers.

What is not the job of a public relations firm

“Companies need to own their voice,” Erica says. Specialist PR firms are just like any other business; Each team has key areas of strength. In the early stages of a company your PR firm can help you with messaging and positioning, collateral development, and market research, among other tasks, Erica says.

Over the long term, however, it’s your responsibility as the founding team to come up with the company voice, mission statement and business strategy. PR can play an important role, but shouldn’t be a substitute for in-house work.

What questions should you ask when you interview a PR firm

It’s OK (and encouraged) to speak with several public relations specialists before choosing the PR firm that is right for your business. Before taking this step, Erica says it’s important to define yourself first. What are the key strengths of your team? what is your unique selling proposition? how are you changing the world? The better you understand the qualities of your own story, the better match you will find in a public relations firm or PR specialist.

When is it too early to begin the PR process

“If you’re not doing consistent PR you’re losing your audience,” Erica says. She compares the start/stop approach to PR to a sprinter beginning a race flat-footed. It’s better to set aside the budget and resources for consistent PR, rather than making noise and going silent for six months. “Timing is everything. Don’t be afraid to wait,” Erica says.

How does a startup or small business demonstrate thought leadership

“We’re all looking for what is going to be the future of our business,” Erica says. Business thought leadership comes in many forms, such as white papers and case studies, webinars and contributed articles to relevant publications. Anything that interprets trends, or predicts the future path of an industry is a great opportunity for your business to stand out as a thought leader.”Slow down and really think about how you want PR to be a reflection of your business,” Erica says.

And it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge while being “vendor neutral.” Don’t aggressively promote your product or service, or you will damage the credibility of your message.

What is the difference between public relations strategy and tactics

Public relations strategies and public relations tactics are often confused.”If you don’t have a full story ready, no one is going to write a full story around you,” says Erica.

Your public relations strategy has to come first. A public relations strategy is the roadmap of opportunities, Erica says. Once you know what you want to accomplish it becomes easier to select the proper channels, journalists and methods to get your story to the intended audience.

Public relations tactics will help you track important metrics of success, such as new customer acquisition, and reaching other important milestones.

What are examples of really effective uses of PR

Erica says that LinkedIn’s ‘Top 1 Percent‘ campaign, is an excellent example of integrated public relations and marketing. LinkedIn, the professional social network, notified users when they were among the top one percent of most-viewed profiles, and sent them a snazzy email certificate. Did you receive one? The move was pre-announced, and users who were notified often shared the news with their social networks, further amplifying LinkedIn’s marketing message. Pretty clever, no?

Where can you go to learn more about the PR process

Erica recommends checking out the Website of the Public Relations Society of America. The PRSA has comprehensive resources for public relations professionals and n00bs alike.

Got a PR question for Erica?

She can be found at StrategicLee on Twitter, and anywhere Internetz are found.

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http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-podcast/feed/ 2 Erica Lee,PR strategies,strategic communications,StrategicLee,Thought Leadership,what is public relations  On this episode of the podcast we answer the question, "What is public relations" with Erica Lee the founder of StrategicLee. Erica is a 20-year veteran of marketing and PR, and StrategicLee is a boutique San Francisco-based public relations consultan...  On this episode of the podcast we answer the question, "What is public relations" with Erica Lee the founder of StrategicLee. Erica is a 20-year veteran of marketing and PR, and StrategicLee is a boutique San Francisco-based public relations consultancy whose focus is "fast-growth" stages for startups and enterprise technology clients. Erica and her team are help businesses with their PR Whether you're a small startup who has recently closed a round of funding, or you're an established player looking to make a big splash with a new product launch.   What is public relations “PR is about making your phone ring,” Erica says. The PR process can be approached in many different ways, but if your businesses isn't getting interest from customers, you PR isn't working. PR is about achieving your business goals through public facing communication, in print press, on blogs, on television, speaking at conferences, and so forth. But regardless of the tactics, its about getting new customers and strengthening your relationship with current customers. What is not the job of a public relations firm "Companies need to own their voice," Erica says. Specialist PR firms are just like any other business; Each team has key areas of strength. In the early stages of a company your PR firm can help you with messaging and positioning, collateral development, and market research, among other tasks, Erica says. Over the long term, however, it's your responsibility as the founding team to come up with the company voice, mission statement and business strategy. PR can play an important role, but shouldn't be a substitute for in-house work. What questions should you ask when you interview a PR firm It's OK (and encouraged) to speak with several public relations specialists before choosing the PR firm that is right for your business. Before taking this step, Erica says it's important to define yourself first. What are the key strengths of your team? what is your unique selling proposition? how are you changing the world? The better you understand the qualities of your own story, the better match you will find in a public relations firm or PR specialist. When is it too early to begin the PR process "If you're not doing consistent PR you're losing your audience," Erica says. She compares the start/stop approach to PR to a sprinter beginning a race flat-footed. It's better to set aside the budget and resources for consistent PR, rather than making noise and going silent for six months. "Timing is everything. Don't be afraid to wait," Erica says. How does a startup or small business demonstrate thought leadership "We're all looking for what is going to be the future of our business," Erica says. Business thought leadership comes in many forms, such as white papers and case studies, webinars and contributed articles to relevant publications. Anything that interprets trends, or predicts the future path of an industry is a great opportunity for your business to stand out as a thought leader."Slow down and really think about how you want PR to be a reflection of your business," Erica says. And it's important to demonstrate your knowledge while being "vendor neutral." Don't aggressively promote your product or service, or you will damage the credibility of your message. What is the difference between public relations strategy and tactics Public relations strategies and public relations tactics are often confused."If you don't have a full story ready, no one is going to write a full story around you," says Erica. Your public relations strategy has to come first. A public relations strategy is the roadmap of opportunities, Erica says. Once you know what you want to accomplish it becomes easier to select the proper channels, journalists and methods to get your story to the intended audience. Public relations tactics will help you track important metrics of success, such as new customer acquisition, and reaching other important milestones. Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no 47:34
What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing? http://prtipsforstartups.com/difference-public-relations-marketing/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/difference-public-relations-marketing/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 22:51:52 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=896 What Is The Difference Between Public Relations and Advertising CC Doug8888 What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

Public relations is different from marketing. Sometimes it isn’t.

Public relations jobs aren’t advertising jobs, but sometimes they are. Confused? I’m often asked the difference between public relations and marketing, so I wanted to answer the question for myself as much as for anyone else.

At the end of the day public relations, marketing and advertising are about communicating a story. The “why” is identical: Get customers. Move product. Drive revenue. “How” is what sets them apart.

Small business public relations, small business marketing and online advertising for small business are just parts of a whole.

The lines between the various forms of mass communications have definitely blurred in recent times, as more and more of our lives migrate online. The public relations job description may (or may not) be different from the marketing and communications job description, but the end product is identical: action.

What Is Public Relations CC Arno Meintjes Wildlife What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

What is public relations?

I don’t know. Seriously. Do you?  While Wikipedia may have the most cut-and-dry answer, the rules of public relations for small business are changing so fast no one wants to be wrong.

Public relations is whatever you want it to be. Public relations is anything that communicates a story to an audience. That’s my definition.

On this blog I use the term public relations and business interchangeably. Your job as a startup founder is to communicate the benefit of your product to an external, paying audience. That is public relations. Business development is public relations. Community-building is public relations, and listening to customers most certainly is public relations.

To be effective in business you need to reach as broad and relevant a public as possible. That’s it. Once you’ve found them you need to speak in the language they care about.

What Is Marketing Description CC Dr. Keats What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

What is marketing?

See above.

I’ve worked a few entry-level marketing jobs. My boss was my client and the only public that mattered. While I was preparing collateral to be consumed by the external public, they were not the stakeholders. What the buying public thought about my work didn’t matter and I wasn’t accountable for any results–just product.

To me marketing is about delivering the look and feel of a company–and being the voice–but it’s not expected to move the needle. Marketing’s chief consumer is itself.

Without solid marketing your company isn’t even an idea in the public’s mind. You’re just a bunch of people working in a room. Traditional marketing doesn’t get people fired up, or stir passions.

I can’t say whether this is everyone’s experience with marketing, but that has been mine.

What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Public Relations What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

The difference between public relations and marketing

Gawker’s Sam Biddle recently posted the job listing  to be Fab.com CEO Jason Goldberg’s next executive assistant. It sounds pretty intense.

Depending on the size of the organization, someone in human resources or the marketing and communications department would be responsible for writing it up. If a company doesn’t have an internal recruiter then marketing would definitely be on call. Your public relations team would never write job descriptions for the company. It’s too intimate.

The job of PR is to tell the best possible story about you to the world. If they saw how the sausage was made this would be a deal-breaker.

While both public relations and marketing know how to write, you’re writing for distinct audiences. Marketing is unapologetically one-sided. It lacks nuance.

To me marketing copywriting is the embodiment of the old saw, “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” It’s just part of the job.

Public Relations and Marketing CC Our Planet. Close Up What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

There is more than one public

Marketing and communications speaks to the internal public as often as they communicate externally. These internal marketing initiatives are almost always handled in-house. As a marketer you help prepare collateral and messaging the company for one-off events such as tradeshows, important meetings and other formal events. Marketing can and does have relationships with the press. In small organizations and early-stage startups the head of marketing and communications is responsible for internal communications initiatives (corporate comms.), public relations and press outreach, as well as social media.

At very young companies all of these public relations jobs and communications responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the CEO. It’s a lot.

What is the difference between public relations and advertising?

“Everyone knows the best advertising is to be in the news,” writes futurist Daniel Burrus. Public relations is free advertising.

When your public relations efforts pay off you can get your message in front of hundreds of thousands or millions of eyeballs without paying for placement. It’s not free. You have to work a lot harder to “earn” that kind of exposure, but self-interested parties will do the distribution for you when your content or message gives them social capital.

Small business public relations is an attempt to leverage the power of storytelling to reach the desired audience through an incremental cash outlay (retainer for professional services), versus a fixed budget for media. There are a variety of public relations strategies and tactics to reach these goals. Advertisers invest in creative and then buy media placement where they think the audience will be. Traditional PR metrics measure the value of media hits against the advertising spend of reaching the same number of people. This is rapidly changing in an era when every communications initiative, every piece of collateral and every utterance can be tracked in minute detail.

How To Tell The Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing CC Fuzzybutt What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

Drawing a line is hard

Drawing a line between public relations and marketing is hard. Like the liger cub in the photo above, they’re becoming one another. It’s also becoming increasingly unnecessary to draw a line between the twp.

It all comes down to resources. A small, scrappy startup is going to have to do everything in-house. Division of labor favors generalists who can push the company forward to its next important milestone. Once you scale up you can afford to hire a public relations firm, who may have the bandwidth and the expertise to carry out a lot of media relations, collateral development, business development and communications duties that come along with growth. Hiring an outside public relations firm may be expensive, but you’re able to end or suspend a contract, which allows you to control your burn rate. Not so with an internal hire.

When you move from a Series A startup to your Series B, or you’re actually producing significant revenue–gasp–you may shift many of your public relations duties in-house, or the focus of the engagement with your firm shifts. As you grow you’re going to need more communication, not less.

Marketing takes on new roles with increased specificity. New jobs emerge such as community manager, chief happiness specialist and rabble-rouser. Is a community manager part of the product team, customer support or marketing? Is he or she responsible for content marketing, advertising or sales? You betcha! All of that and then some.

The future of integrated marketing and public relations

Joe Pulizzi from The Content Marketing Institute recently put out a great story about the marketing department of the future. A company with a big enough budget, Red Bull Media House, for instance, could reasonably expect to have all 10 of the new roles of marketing on their payroll.

Content Marketing Department of The Future What Is The Difference Between Public Relations And Marketing?

I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of marketing, a lot of public relations and a lot of storytelling going on. It’s all public-facing, it’s all revenue-driven and it’s all vital to long-term growth.

If you’re delivering customers it doesn’t matter what your job description says. How you measure the impact of your work is important, but it’s not the only thing.

Marketing teams can buy advertisements and pitch stories to reporters. Advertising agencies can (and do) whip up some pretty compelling content. A modern public relations firm isn’t bound by any laws that says they have to harass reporters all day on behalf of clients.

The future of marketing, public relations and advertising is going to be integrated, messy, colorful, chaotic and combustible.

Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss it.

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Six Easy Steps To Make Your Public Relations Go Viral http://prtipsforstartups.com/easy-steps-viral-startup-public-relations/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/easy-steps-viral-startup-public-relations/#comments Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:15:56 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=853 Viral Marketing Domino Effect CC verbeeldingsk8r Six Easy Steps To Make Your Public Relations Go Viral

Viral marketing is the holy grail of social public relations and online media.

As a frequent consumer of social media you probably have a six sense for viral hits. You see a new video, news story or infographic and  your first thought is, “I’ve got to share this!” And when you’re the first one of your friend group to distribute the day’s top story you feel a small sense of accomplishment. It’s OK. Admit it.Make something irresistible enough and people will share it with their friends, friends of friends, and soon millions of people  will have participated in your public relations campaign.  And the best part of viral distribution is that its earned, not owned or paid.

Viral marketing is an extremely calculated effort to tap into human psychology to take advantage of our natural tendencies to share. There’s nothing wrong this, and you should put the power of virality to work for your startup or small business.

All it takes is a little practice.

How do I make a viral hit?

Viral Marketing Ideas For Startup CC twenty questions 300x225 Six Easy Steps To Make Your Public Relations Go Viral

Some viral hits are pure flukes, most are not. Star Wars Kid was an accidental viral hit (if you’re old enough to remember it). Gangnam Style was most certainly deliberate.

There’s a science to making just about anything go viral. It’s not complicated.

Virality is methodical, predictable and even mundane. If  a 12-year-old girl and her younger siblings can make a viral hit you certainly can. Follow a simple, six-step formula and you  be off to the races.

How to make any idea go viral in six simple S.T.E.P.P.S

Jonah Berger recently published the definitive book on of virality, ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in years. Berger is the James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and his writing style is both breezy and power-packed. In a recent LinkedIn Today post Berger summarized the thesis behind ‘Contagious’:

The next time someone tells you that going viral is about luck, politely tell them that there is a better way. Science. Word of mouth isn’t random and it’s not magic. By understanding why people talk and share, we can craft contagious content. And use it to get our own products and ideas to catch on.

Is it really that easy? Yes. Berger distills the process of virality to six simple concepts, which he call S.T.E.P.P.S.

  • Social Capital–Something that makes you look good for sharing with others
  • Triggers–Images, words or objects that make you think about the idea or product to be shared
  • Emotion–Joy and anger are especially powerful drivers of sharing activity
  • Public–Anything that can be seen easily. You can’t share what you can’t see/experience
  • Practical Value–similar to Social Currency, it’s useful information that other people should know
  • Stories–So-called ‘Trojan Horses” that carry lessons and useful data in digestible form

In his book Berger describes how a $100 cheese steak helped a Philadelphia steak house break out in competitive restaurant scene. He also uncovers the thought process behind Steve Jobs’ decision to put the Apple logo right side-up-on the back of your laptop. I encourage you to buy the book if you want to have your mind blown, and your startup public relations turbo-charged.

Watch an idea go viral in real-time

Sasquatch Festival is one of the coolest events in one of the most beautiful venues in the world. (As a Washingtonian I’m clearly not biased) By today’s standards the video is not hugely viral–with only has 7 million views–but perhaps this is because it was shot and uploaded in 2009.

The below clip is a fantastic opportunity to apply Berger’s six S.T.E.P.P.S. to an event in real-time.

Social Currency

The scene starts innocently enough. ”Look at this train wreck!” someone thinks, and starts filming with his or her iPhone. “When I share this with my friends they’ll think I’m so cool.”

Triggers

Loud music makes you want to dance, especially when other people are around.

Emotion

Dancing is fun. Especially at a festival. Who doesn’t like fun?

Public

All these people can see me having way more fun than them. Wheeee!

Then something strange happens: More people start to join in, and all of a sudden you have a party.

Practical Value

Are you here to have a good time or not? Stop wasting time looking cool.  Shake your money maker!

Stories

“Remember when we went to Sasquatch Music Festival and we started dancing with that lone weirdo, and it turned into a viral video?”

“Yeah, I remember that. We’re part of Internet history now.”

Berger never says virality has to happen in a sequence, but all the elements must be present. And the video highlights one of the strongest propellants of virality; FOMO–the fear of missing out.

We look to other humans for clues about what we should be doing and what behaviors to imitate. It’s a deeply-ingrained survival mechanism. Once people start sharing, we feel compelled to share too.

The difference between viral and massively-viral

Making any idea viral is no more complicated that following the six steps listed above, but there’s a difference between viral and massively-viral. A viral concept can be engineered reliably. Massively-viral hits are extremely rare, and should never be guaranteed. Gangnam Style is close to reaching 2 billion views on YouTube, but no other human artifact has ever reached such megaviral status. Trying to outdo PSY is a fool’s errand.

In our Internet era we’ve wasted tons of time reinventing the wheel, and re-learning human psychology. Master marketers like Seth Godin may introduce new phrases to our vocabulary like “permission marketing,” but at best it’s a new slant on something that is already intimately familiar. That’s why it works.

Domino Effect of Virality CC MissTessmacher Six Easy Steps To Make Your Public Relations Go Viral

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Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups http://prtipsforstartups.com/how-to-find-journalists-who-cover-startups/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/how-to-find-journalists-who-cover-startups/#comments Sun, 07 Jul 2013 06:03:49 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=815 How To Find Journalists To Write About My Startup CC pasukaru76 300x201 Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups Finding journalists to write about your startup can be one of the most daunting public relations tasks.

While the journalism industry has been in steady decline, there are still thousands of publications and many times more reporters filing copy each day. So who wants to write about you?

Reader Santa Sahoo recently asked me how to find journalists and publications that cover enterprise software, and Security-as-a-Service. While I don’t have specific domain expertise on Internet security journalists, I do know a thing or two about how to look for journalist and how to build a beat.

How to find journalists to write about your startup

What follows are tips and tricks I use to find relevant reporters to cover specific topics and industry niches.

Similar Site Search

Similar Site Search is my go-to for ideas about how to get wide scale industry coverage for a startup.

Simply type in the name or URL for a relevant publication and Similar Site Search will spit out 50 similar sites based on a combination of keyword frequency, backlinks and other indicators of relevance.

Similar Site Search isn’t always as helpful as I’d like it to be for generating lots of leads. If the topic is very specific you may end up with service providers who have SEO’d their websites to show up high in search. If you’re clever you can take one high-quality result, use it as the subject of a new search and “spin” it into dozens more relevant outlets.

Muck Rack

Muck Rack is comprehensive database of journalists and the publications where they work, along with a detailed breakdown of reporter’s beat, social profiles and other data about the stories they cover frequently. It’s a paid service and not one I use currently.

Muck Rack is great for keeping tabs on specific journalists and their activity across social media such as Twitter and Google+. Using Muck Rack you can also dive deep into the archives to see how often particular writers cover your niche, your competitors or relevant topics about your industry.

TechMeme

Using a combination of human editors and machine curation, TechMeme keeps its finger on the pulse of the technology indusry. Hot stories such as funding announcements, product launches and personnel shakeups are published on AllThingsD and the like, then they  ”tip” on TechMeme almost immediately.

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TechMeme has a leader board where you can see the outlets responsible for the highest volume of major stories in the technology industry. While TechCrunch is comfortably out in front, there are a few surprises, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and threatpost.

Here’s a secret: Stories that are hot on TechMeme are often the result of stories and rumors that were first published by bloggers who cover specific niche topics, such as Apple patents. TechMeme curates news and amplifies trending stories.

You can use TechMeme to trace back the original story source and build relationships with these reporters at smaller outlets.

Help A Reporter Out

Help A Reporter Out, (HARO) is a service that allows journalists on a deadline to ask questions of a large pool of subject matter experts. On HARO journalists post detailed questions they need answered, and they usually identify the publication where they write. As a Columbia Journalism School student I frequently used HARO to find sources who could talk about the impact of social media on spelling, digital medical records and seniors using Twitter. When I helped launch a publication about renewable energy and transportation,  HARO was also very helpful when I needed to find experts on energy efficient vehicles, high speed rail and an assortment of sustainability topics.

Public relations professionals often stake out new source requests from journalists looking for “insertion opportunities” on behalf of their clients. Whether you’re ready to be an expert or not, you can monitor new HARO requests from journalists to see which reporters at which publications are writing stories about your industry. Once you’ve identified a match you have found a new publication that covers your industry and a specific journalist who is likely to be interested in your company now or down the line.

Hacker News

Hacker News is the brainchild of Y Combinator founder Paul Graham and a tremendous resource for startups looking to get blog coverage. Hacker News is a community of developers, engineers and technology enthusiasts who share relevant news from a wide variety of sources. At VentureBeat our most heavily-trafficked stories were those that were popular with the HN crowd.

Screen Shot 2013 07 06 at 10.04.27 PM 300x145 Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups

A healthy portion of HN stories come from mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, Bloomberg or TechCrunch. HN users also post links to their personal blogs and niche sites that cover interesting topics. Hacker News has a search function at the bottom of the main page that will allow you to find articles and comments about the topic of your choosing. Filtering through search results on IT security shows you which mainstream publications and reporters are covering the topic, as well as smaller, targeted sites.

Blogrolls

Although the blogroll has somewhat fallen out of favor, it’s a great resource for understanding the media landscape around your topic. A blogger who keeps a blog roll on her site has handed you a list of the people she considers influencers. You’ve heard the term, “Like attracts like.” The blog rolls of writers who cover your industry provide a pretty good look at the folks with whom you need to form relationships.

And while the audience for certain influential blogs may be small, reporters at larger publications frequently get their story ideas from specialized writers who have dedicated audience. Read the stories that make it to the front page of TechMeme and they’re very often credited to writers and bloggers at niche sites who are top experts on highly nuanced topics.

I hope you’ve found this information useful on your startup public relations journey.

While these are some of the methods I use to find relevant blogs and journalists who cover specific topics, I’m sure there are many more methods that also work. Please share your startup PR hacks in the comments section.

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Dave McClure is Right, Silicon Valley Sucks At Markteting http://prtipsforstartups.com/dave-mcclure-right-silicon-valley-sucks-markteting/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/dave-mcclure-right-silicon-valley-sucks-markteting/#comments Sat, 06 Jul 2013 05:23:51 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=797 You Suck CC rot ist die farbe der hoffnung Dave McClure is Right, Silicon Valley Sucks At MarktetingLegendary angel investor Dave McClure set off another firestorm this week when he said that startups are “functionally illiterate at marketing.” Sadly he’s right.

There are a lot of brilliant people in the Valley, most of whom don’t know the first thing about public relations and marketing.

Silicon Valley is Hollywood for Geeks, Wall Street for founders and Paris Fashion Week for user interface designers. But it’s product obsession is to its detriment. Silicon Valley is all product all the time.

New York is a startup city that gets marketing. I spent a day at General Assembly HQ in 2011, and spoke with 11 founders back-to-back. Startups in New York don’t build stuff. They’re extremely good at marketing.

Tred, BestVendor and wehostels are made in New York startups that are exceptionally good at transacting business on behalf of other people who make things. They didn’t build the widget factory, but they make sure to find buyers for the widgets. This is bare knuckle marketing. Sell stuff.

The more Silicon Valley startup founders I meet, the more I realize what seems like common sense public relations isn’t common at all. At least around here. Marketing and PR are not in our DNA. They should be.

We make great things here. No one will deny that people worldwide love what we make. But it’s a mystery sometimes how what gets in Silicon Valley finds its way to the people who need it, when we’re so bad at marketing.

As CEO it’s your job to be the face of the company, and to represent your product in the public. It’s also your job to make sure people get paid on time, to ensure that bills don’t pile up, and that your awesome crew is hitting product and traction milestones. Being CEO is no picnic. But critical to the success of your operation is making sure your story is out there, and that your audience knows how to find you.

How to not suck at marketing

The easiest way to market yourself is to have a blog. I’m always amazed when startups don’t have a blog, or when it hasn’t been updated for months. Of all the ways not to mess up at public relations, this is the most flagrant offense.

Another lean marketing technique is to remain active on LinkedIn. Whether you’re posting updates regularly, contributing to relevant discussions, or just using LinkedIn Today to follow news, you should be listening to what your audience needs online. And unlike buzzy, noise-ridden social platforms, LinkedIn is a professional social network filled with decision-makers and likely customers. Finally, you should be using SlideShare to promote your ideas, and as an additional listening mechanism. They’re all free. The more time you put in, the more you will get out. But remember, it’s a process, not a product.

In our age of lean startups it’s OK not to be a generalist. Where people excel they should be left to thrive. Not everyone is good at the whole communications thing. I get it. And bad public relations can do more harm than good. But while Dave riles people up, his screed should be a wakeup call.

Public relations is vital to the success of any good product. A good product with no marketing doesn’t stand a chance. It’s time for Silicon Valley to stop sucking at public relations and marketing.

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Always Keep Them Guessing http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-mystery/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-mystery/#comments Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:57:21 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=769 Snow Monkeys CC Masashi Mohida 300x200 Always Keep Them GuessingPublic relations masters like Steve Jobs had a lot of tools up their sleeve. Most were not high tech.

The element of surprise is one of the most powerful, underrated and time-tested methods of grabbing and holding the attention of your audience. Tease us with clues and we’ll stand in line for hours to see what’s behind the curtain. There’s no more powerful public relations technique than when people are clamoring to know what you’re up to.

I just read a great Inc. article that drove the point home nicely. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is working on a new startup called Jelly, which has divulged little more than it’s name, high-profile investors like Al Gore and Bono, and has been tantalizing reporters who would love to know more details. Use secrecy to your advantage, but make sure you have the goods as well.

“Either you’ve built something people want or you haven’t,” says Twitter co-founder and Jelly investor Evan Williams. Public relations is vital to the success of a good product, but it can’t paper over the flaws of a worthless offering.

Google[x] is one such example of a team effectively using secrecy to keep us on our toes.  As mysterious as it sounds, they bring the wood, too. The secret skunkworks program is responsible for Google Glass, The high altitude Internet blimps known as Project Loon, and the self-driving car.

While you want the world to know how awesome you are, inject a little mystery into your next announcement or launch, and see how it turns the tables from you chasing to being chased.

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