PR Tips for Startups http://prtipsforstartups.com Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Thu, 18 Jul 2013 17:32:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 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 http://prtipsforstartups.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/PRTips_logo_iTunes_iTunes_1400x1400.jpg http://prtipsforstartups.com San Francisco, CA How To Make Journalists Fall In Love With Your Corporate Blog http://prtipsforstartups.com/journalists-fall-love/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/journalists-fall-love/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 01:43:19 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1032 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 inquenchable.

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.

 

 

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Startups Without Goals Plan To Fail http://prtipsforstartups.com/startups-goals-plan-fail/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/startups-goals-plan-fail/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 01:45:46 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=986 Startups Failure Comes From Setting Goals After Its Too Late CC cobiie Startups Without Goals Plan To FailFailure to plan is planning to fail.

Far too many startups fail because they don’t define their mission until its too late. One of my biggest startup mistakes was fleshing out goals with my co-founder more than a year after we had been working together.  As ridiculous as this sounds, I’m sure I’m not the only person who has launched a venture without a discreet goal in mind.

I valued connections with people over making money. I still wanted to make money, but it wasn’t what motivated me to launch the endeavor. My co-founder saw an opportunity to disrupt incumbent technologies with huge financial upside if we got it right. It was the classic example of blind men describing an elephant. We were doomed to startup failure because the closer we got to achieving one set of priorities, the further we would be from the other.

Defining Goals Is Crucial To Startup Success CC TheLizardQueen Startups Without Goals Plan To Fail

 

When genius fails to plan

Last night I watched Beauty is Embarrassing  an amazing documentary about artist, animator, puppeteer and all-around awesome human being Wayne White. If you’ve ever seen Pee Wee’s Playhouse you know his work.

Wayne says his mission is to add humor to the world of fine art. Simple as it sounds, this is no small task. The art world is a stuffy and self-serious domain. Comedy is one of the most difficult things to pull off. Anyone who has ever been to an amateur standup night can tell you this. But equipped with a clear mission Wayne is tearing the art world a new one, and living a fully-realized life. We should all be so lucky.

Wayne says his first memories are watching people react to his drawings as a toddler. Growing up in the deep South Wayne knew he wasn’t destined for small town life. He moved to New York, and then Hollywood, but even as he excelled as an artist, Wayne struggled to define his mission; to make fine art fun.

The voices in his head told him what he wanted was wrong, but no one will tell you to your face. Even if someone had the guts to say it, they don’t have the power to stop you from achieving your destiny because no one is in charge. Those few people (trolls) who have the audacity to publicly doubt you are probably your greatest source of inspiration. You burn with the fire to prove them wrong.

Define success before you start

Goal-setting is one of the most powerful tools in the startup arsenal. In a world of uncertainty the goals you set for yourself are something within your control. Much like setting reasonable expectations, goals are concrete outcomes you hope to achieve, and committing to  expectations we set for ourselves that can lay the path for future success.

Why setting goals is so hard

Setting goals is one of the hardest things to do in life. Seriously. We may be working towards something, but if we never define it clearly we can never be wrong.

 

Failing to fail

This is called failing to fail. It’s a dangerous. Failing to fail is a defense mechanism we use so that we never get our hopes up too high, and we can avoid embarrassment. It’s the opposite of setting goals, because we’ll accept whatever we get as fate.

So much of entrepreneurial success is due to luck. But it’s not blind, dumb luck. As my wise uncle in Nigeria always says, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” If you’re prepared for opportunity, you’ll know what it looks like and what to do with it.

 

Startup Failure Comes From Not Setting Goals CC sweis78 Startups Without Goals Plan To Fail

Get lucky with S.M.A.R.T. goals

I recommend setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, which I first encountered after listening Pat Flynn talk about the subject of mind hacks on his podcast. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurarable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Once you have a framework for success you’ll know when you’re on the right track and when you’re not.

 

Goals allow you to say “no”

Saying “no” is the ultimate badge of achievement. It’s a hard-earned right, and not a privilege.

Ghandi said, “A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a “yes” merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”  And Apple founder Steve Jobs said, “Innovations is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things,” to focus on the few that matter.

If you don’t know, or don’t recognize what you really want, you’ll say “yes” to things that will never deliver your desired outcomes. Having a goal allows you to say no to 1,000 things so you can say yes to the right few.

 

Goals must be public

My goal here at PR Tips For Startups is to help entrepreneurs change the world. We achieve this by providing innovative marketing strategies from today’s small business leaders. The better we all are at finding the right audience for our message, the sooner they can benefit from what we have to offer. In this way we jointly make a contribution to a better life.

I was a little uncomfortable sharing my goal. Who am I to want such a thing? Every entrepreneur in Silicon Valley wants to change the world. That’s so corny! Why shouldn’t I focus my energy on something else.

No one tells you what they really think except your true friends. You’re lucky if three people in your life are such straight shooters. All the self-doubt comes from me.

Well, what else would that something be? My destiny is mine! No one lives my mistakes.

Goals hold you accountable to an outcome, but it’s you who has to do the work to succeed.

 

Setting the wrong goals is an avoidable startup mistake

So much of startup life is focused on tactical goals, such as getting outside investment from the right VCs, launching new features, and getting media coverage from the right technology journalists. All of these are worthy pursuits. They should not interfere with your larger goals.

Understand the difference between tactical goals and strategic goals. Think of a tactical goal as the roadmap to your destination. Imagine a cross-country road trip. Tactical goals are the mile markers along the way, such as stopping at the Grand Canyon as you drive from California to New York.

 Stretch Goals CC Rainbirder Startups Without Goals Plan To Fail

Stretch goals vs milestones

 

I recently read an amazing LifeHacker piece about scientific ways to crush procrastination. I highly recommend checking it out.

There are many categories of startup mistakes, but overcommitment is one of the most flagrant offenses. As the CEO of a startup you’re aspirations are limitless, but your resources–and especially time–is finite.

In the most basic sense, “dreaming big” isn’t all that bad advice (though dreaming too much can be harmful, more on that later).

But there’s also the problem of setting up grandiose plans and becoming intimidated by your own lofty expectations. Since you don’t want to stop dreaming big, the best way to find a balance is to simply set “macro goals” and “micro quotas.” Your goals should be the large scale things that you hope to accomplish, that much is obvious. But your quotas are what you must get done everyday to make it happen.

Setting a low bar means overachieving every day.

You know there will always be a fire to put out tomorrow, but racking up small wins daily is a great way to build momentum and keep yourself moving forward.

Stretch goals are the opposite of bankable daily quotas. With the wind at your back you should challenge yourself to achieve greatness. You never know where you’ll end up, but visualization of success is of the most important things you can do. Surprise yourself
And in spite of what you’ve read, I still have a lot of work to do setting goals. It’s definitely a growth area. At the beginning of a work day I often write my session goals, but I don’t reconcile the daily, tactical achievements against my long-term mission.

Part of writing about goals and goal-setting is a reminder, and  a public declaration of my intent. I’m accountable to you now, but especially to myself.

Any suggestions?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best ways to consistently achieve your goals. You don’t have to be an expert at it–I’m not–but how do you get more done in less time, and keep focused on what’s important? I want to hear from you!

  • What are your favorite goal-setting apps?
  • What goal hacks work for you?
  • Where do you go for inspiration?
  • What’s your best productivity hack?

Sound off in the comments section below.

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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/ 1 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
Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs Than MBA’s http://prtipsforstartups.com/journalists-make-better-entrepreneurs-than-mbas/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/journalists-make-better-entrepreneurs-than-mbas/#comments Sat, 13 Jul 2013 01:30:27 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=924 Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs than MBAs CC Happeningfish Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs Than MBAsI’m a journalist. I’m also an entrepreneur. Not saying I’m good at either here, just stating facts.

While everyone looks to business school graduates to grow great companies, it’s journalists who actually go to school to learn the skills necessary to be successful entrepreneurs.

Kara Swisher recently said, “Journalists need to start being entrepreneurial like everyone else.” I would argue we journalists are more entrepreneurial than your average bear, and that includes MBA’s.

Why journalists make great entrepreneurs

Journalists make great entrepreneurs because of the cold realities of doing business. “Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the face,” as boxer Mike Tyson is famous for saying. Business theory and business practice are two very different beasts. No one takes more lumps, and is more used to things going wrong than a journalist.

Getting Rejected Is Part of Business CC Easy Wingman Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs Than MBAs

Rejection is part of the job

If you aren’t being rejected you  aren’t taking risks. If you’re not taking any risks you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re a manager.

Journalists put themselves in harm’s way and get into uncomfortable situations for a living. You can’t sit in your aeron chair and report from the frontlines of a conflict at the same time. You have to get uncomfortable to get the prize.

Nothing is harder than asking for someone’s hard-earned money.

Journalists make good entrepreneurs because we’re used to rejection. We take take rejection in stride.

Your customer is probably a bootstrapped entrepreneur or small business owner who’s risking his kid’s college tuition on new and untested products. If you’re just starting up in business then chances are pretty good you’re not selling to the Fortune

500, or publicly traded companies. Any hesitation to buy is because he or she is in the same situation you are–just hoping to make it.

Its A Numbers Game CC Spooky Dad Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs Than MBAs

It’s a numbers game

There are millions of small businesses in the U.S., and hundreds or thousands in your market. Journalists need to find sources for their stories, but it’s rare that only one person is capable of giving expert feedback on a human event. If you’re counting on a single customer to make you’re year, it’s like expecting a single source to hold your story together. Not gonna happen.

When you’re on a tight deadline you need to find the right person fast. This is why it’s essential for journalists to have a beat, and to continually cultivate new sources.

As an entrepreneur your deadline is running out of cash. Whether you’re concern is making next month’s payroll, or hitting investor milestones, you need to have a way to keep money in the door. Those are customers.

While a journalist has a beat, you have a prospects list. You’ll blow deadline if you’re wasting time with prospects who won’t convert. Knowing whom to talk to is key.

Actionable Customer Development from Andreas Klinger

Journalists ask good questions

Getting in front of the right people is hard enough, but it’s equally important to engage constructively and deliberately. The best way to do this is to ask questions.

The slide deck above is about customer development, and it inspired this post. What jumped out at me is how it emphasized asking questions in the right way. As a journalist this is now second nature.

Journalists are trained to ask people open-ended questions. A yes or no question will get you a “yes” or a “no.”

  • Why
  • How much
  • When was the last time
  • What does it feel like
  • Who can…

Are all questions that can’t be answered in a word. Give people a chance to open up and they will.

Journalists wear many hats

Startup Founders Wear Many Hats Journalists Make Better Entrepreneurs Than MBAs

I was fortunate to enroll in the Digital Media program at the Columbia Journalism School. While I was a student

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Pro Tools

were my some of my best friends. We spent way too many late nights together in the editing lab.

Techie and non-tech journalists are responsible for story sourcing, pitching, reporting, writing, editing and even a little self-promotion. It’s all in a day’s work.

Founders have to wear just as many hats. If you’re the CEO of an early-stage startup your job entails

  •  company strategy
  • Accounting and finance
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Customer relations
  • Procurement and operations

just to name a few.

They don’t teach you this in business school. And to the extent you are acquainted with the process, it’s another thing to be accountable for all of these activities on a daily basis.

Journalists are excellent communicators

Communicating with the public is at the heart of any successful business. You may learn presentation skills in business school, but to be an effective reporter is to be a man (or woman) of the people.

It doesn’t hurt to be able to write well (and fast). These are the essential skills of the journalism trade.

The ability to tell your story better than your competitors–and to the right audience–is what will set you apart in business. If you’re able to master storytelling you’re at a distinct advantage.

To be fair, there are only four graduate journalism programs in the U.S., while there are hundreds of business programs. And if journalists were really so good at business, the profession might not be in such disarray.

But on-the-job learning only happens when you’re working. As an MBA candidate you learn about working. As a journalism student you experience the real world every day. This looks a lot more like running a business to me.

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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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Kanye West And The Power Of Self-Hypnosis http://prtipsforstartups.com/self-hypnosis-shortest-path-success/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/self-hypnosis-shortest-path-success/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:33:23 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=836 Kanye West Self Hypnosis For Success CC NRK P3 300x195 Kanye West And The Power Of Self HypnosisKanye West is many things; humble is not one of them. Kanye West is an inspiration to me and entrepreneurs everywhere because he took the fast-track to success. Kanye West hypnotized himself to believe he was a success long before it happened.

Success is a matter of belief. There are wildly successful people who are deeply troubled because all they have isn’t close to being enough. Some of the most well-known and respected entrepreneurs and startup founders wake up every morning afraid they haven’t earned enough money, achieved enough recognition or made a big enough impact.

This deep, and nagging uncertainty is one of the driving forces behind creativity and innovation, but it can just as easily drive you crazy.

Kanye West is my favorite example of someone who wrestles with his demons, and turns it into amazing art. You don’t even have to like Kanye to appreciate him as a rare creative force.

How Kanye West Hypnotized Himself to Succeed

Long before Kanye West was Yeezus, Yeezy or even Ye, he believed he was going to be huge. He knew it so deeply he hypnotized himself to see success before the world did. This is why I find his music so powerful, because in it he sowed the seeds of his eventual success well in advance of reality.

Kanye West and Jay Z Watch The Throne Tour CC RogerChung.com  300x200 Kanye West And The Power Of Self Hypnosis

In 2003 I first saw Kanye West perform in a derelict basement nightclub in Seattle. The space had no windows, and to get to it you had to walk down a flight of steps under the city streets. The only reason the venue–then called Shongo Village–could operate legally, was because its permits had been grandfathered in. The Kanye West who had a fan thrown out of the Tacoma Dome for tossing a business card on stage wouldn’t be caught dead in this fire trap.

In 2003, while Kanye had racked up some pretty major hits with Jay-Z, Talib Kweli and Common, amongst others, he was not a household name as a solo artist. In fact, the promoters of the show were only able to pack the house with radio and print ads claiming Jay Z, Beanie Siegel and other Rocafella Recordings artists as “invited guests,” which was technically true, but very misleading. “Who is this guy with the weird name?” I thought. Of course who am I to talk about unusual names?

Kanye took the stage wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and backpack. And this unknown, but ambitious musician had the crowd in his pocket within moments. I was still skeptical. And it was still years before Kanye became a bona fide superstar, but that evening, and on nights like it across the country, Kanye inched forward on the path to legendary status.

“Through The Wire,” was Kanye’s first song as solo artist to get radio play, and it while it was becoming popular at the time, it wasn’t lighting up the charts either. While the song is crammed with the same braggadocio and bombast typical of rap as a genre, it accurately predicted what would follow:

Trying to be a millionaire, how I used two lifelines
In the same hospital where Biggie Smalls died
The doctor said I had blood clots, but I ain’t Jamaican, man
Story on MTV and I ain’t trying to make a band
I swear this right here, history in the making, man

Kanye West CC Aktivioslo Kanye West And The Power Of Self HypnosisKanye’s car accident and near-death experience added a dramatic flourish (unintentionally) to a life he believed was bound for greatness. And he made it so. Kanye was so confident in his talents, and so convinced of his impending success he felt the world would be robbed of a great artist if he had died. And history has proven him right.

Today Kanye West is a genre-bending musician, fashion designer, film-maker and a new father. He made his own luck.

 

How You Can Hypnotize Yourself to Succeed Like Kanye West

What makes Kanye West great is that he struggles with his ego, lust, passion and self-doubt, and puts it on display for the world.

Entrepreneurial success is no different. If we didn’t believe we had something remarkable to do in this world–something destined to improve people’s lives–we would still be working for other people. Of course it’s not easy to get there. It’s a risk. You know this.

But the first and most important step is belief. You don’t need to be Kanye West, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer or Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi to make a difference. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have their cash piles, though. Ultimately you still have to make something valuable to other people, otherwise all the self-hypnosis in the world won’t make you a success.

Material wealth is one of the ways success is rewarded, but it’s not the only one that matters. There are those who are penniless, self-assured and satisfied because they feel their contribution the world matters. It’s all a matter of belief.

What unites all successful people is the belief that what they do is important. Successful people believe this long before their actions bear fruit.

The most successful people never rest on their accomplishments, and they are tireless in their pursuit of excellence. At the end of the day it’s all a state of mind. Start now.

Kanye West Always Believed He Would Be Successful CC NRK P3  Kanye West And The Power Of Self Hypnosis

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Get Outside Yourself http://prtipsforstartups.com/get-outside-yourself/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/get-outside-yourself/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 03:09:31 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=833 Get Outside Yourself CC CRASH candy 200x300 Get Outside YourselfThis morning I woke up and meditated. This afternoon I meditated again.

Mindfulness is a practice I am cultivating, and I’ve been off my stride for a while. I haven’t been to yoga for weeks, and my jogs have gone from almost daily to weekly.

As startup founders it’s easy to get caught in a rut. There are always fires to put out. Taking care of important matters often means neglecting the most important asset of all–our minds.

Because we’re so busy, or because we think we are, we get caught having the same thoughts over and over again, thinking that the same solution will solve a problem. But this isn’t the case.

The reason why exercise is so important to performing at our peak is because it forces us to get outside our minds, and to do something different.

And just as exercise helps us to flex our muscles, it’s vital to speak and interact with people who don’t do the same job as us.

I’ve been whipping out a ton of proposals for clients lately, and I’ve gotten non-tech, non-PR friends to look them over. This has been a huge help! Not only do I get a proofreader to spot any unintentional errors, but friends who work in the non-profit or education sector can add invaluable feedback before the finished product is sent away. “You can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle,” says Bryan Eisenberg, author of ‘Waiting For Your Cat To Bark.” We’re so close to our problems, and spend so much time with them, that they become nearly impossible to see.

Whether you take a friend to lunch who does physical labor, or you just call your grandmother more often, it’s vital to get outside yourself to find meaningful answers to the issues that affect you and your business.

No one’s life is free of problems, but each industry and each trade has a unique way to get to a solution. The more broad you are, the more different types of people you spend time with, the more opportunities you have to learn problem-solving techniques that won’t come to you doing the same old thing.

Get outside yourself and find answers where you least expect them.

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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.

Screen Shot 2013 07 06 at 10.14.18 PM 300x138 Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups

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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