Many people think that startup public relations is only about “getting press.” While media relations is one tactic startups use to spread there message, event hacking is underutilized technique founders can use to connect with their audience, build lasting relationships with customers and get the attention of journalists and strategic partners. Joe Bubman talks about effective ways for startups to maximize free or low-cost events and in-person meetups for maximum public relations exposure.
Good public relations can be a godsend for early-stage startups seeking that elusive catalyst to generate customer interest. Sadly, the methods we startup founders use to attract attention often backfire. We hound our friends, self-promote on Facebook, and pitch writers to report on our company.
But most people don’t like feeling sold to. Sometimes the least effective thing we can do is grab the bullhorn, climb to the rooftops, and shout to the masses about the ingenuity of our product or service.
A more effective approach begins by putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer. What startups (yes, besides your own) do you promote to your friends? If you’re like me, you tout startups that deliver value to you.
Startups can achieve great PR results as a byproduct of delivering solid value to the community, often independent of their product, website, or mobile app. Here are three examples from the San Francisco startup community:
Jetpac runs awesome travel trivia events that bring together people who love travel. Mix together competition, food, and alcohol and you’ve got a loyal community who believe in the brand, regardless of their familiarity with the product!
Optimizely rewards participants in a discussion forum with food, drinks, a t-shirt, AND a gift card. A/B testing has never been so sexy.
The Livefyre CEO visits your local coffee shop to share expertise on entrepreneurship. Attendees may know nothing about Livefyre going in, but likely leave with an appreciation for the knowledge and composure of the company’s leader.
When crafting your PR strategy, think hard about how best to deliver value to the community. The more they derive benefit from anything you’re doing, the more interested they become in everything you’re doing.
Joe Bubman is founder and CEO of Company Connector, which matches working professionals with the best employers for them.
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