PR Tips for Startups » Content Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Sun, 03 Nov 2013 02:46:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips for Startups » Content San Francisco, CA How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue Mon, 27 May 2013 17:51:51 +0000

Hipmunk tags CC natbat 300x300 How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

]]> 2
What Do Journalists Love? Data! Wed, 22 May 2013 11:47:39 +0000 Question mark CC Oberazzi What Do Journalists Love? Data!

Incentivibe founder Adeel V. recently asked me,  ”What types of content can you pitch to journalists and the media that they love to cover?”

Many people probably have the same question about public relations, so I figured I could turn the answer into a blog post. Adeel, I’ll give a short answer and a long answer:

Your chances of building a durable relationship with a journalist improve if you can offer exclusive, high-quality data about your industry. Data shines a unique light on how groups of people live.

Trends emerge not when one person starts doing something, but when hundreds or thousands of people engage in the same behavior. This can only be observed from a bird’s-eye view. That’s why data is so necessary and why journalists love it.

As an expert on your industry you’re in a unique position to tell the story of how humanity is changing and evolving based on how your product affects the lives of the people who use it.

Any journalist who gets to be the first person to tell a story about new recorded human behaviors is going to have a hard time saying no.

But it’s not a guarantee.

And now the longer answer…

There is no such thing as startup kryptonite.

Never has an early stage startup had such a brilliant story idea, a hot tip, or an infographic so mesmerizing a journalist absolutely had to publish it. Sorry.

Skepticism is in our nature. More to the point, we journalists have to be cynical (some might say jaded) to protect the public from bad actors. Some people will do anything to get their name in the press. What harm is fudging a little data to someone without scruples? Data is us.

Most tech writers also have a lot of autonomy to cover the stories they care about, and develop a beat. Editors support their writers, but don’t tell them what to do or whom to cover.

It makes sense. When a reporter cares about something deeply, and he knows it well, he will write better stories with more context, better sources and better access to key players and decision-makers. This means that journalists already have a pretty good sense of what the story is before you pitch it to them. But not always.

Stabilo CC plindberg What Do Journalists Love? Data!The power of exclusive data

This might seem like a problem, but it’s actually an opportunity. Because individual journalists care so deeply about a particular topic, you can pique their interest if you have unique, proprietary and exclusive data about something relating to their beat.

My VentureBeat colleague Dean Takahashi knows more about the Microsoft X-Box than almost any living human. He even wrote a book about it. If you had amassed unique insight into the world of X-Box and how it’s used, Dean would probably open your email.

What is an exclusive?

Exclusive is a word that gets thrown around too much, and you should use it carefully. Exclusive means that no other reporter has your data. Everyone else is excluded. Get it?

If you promise a reporter an exclusive, make sure it really is. Don’t tell everyone you pitch that they’ve got the exclusive, just so that spur someone to write you up. Word gets around, and you don’t want to burn yourself.

Why exclusives work

Journalists are very colegial with one another, but like any other industry, we’re also intensely competitive. For instance, AllThingsD reporters Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka first reported the news that Yahoo acquired Tumblr. The scoop, or the exclusive makes us look good in front of our peers, and that’s something we all want, right? If you can make a journalist look good in front of her boss and co-workers, you have less of a hill to climb.

The problem with infographics and charts

Datasets are different than infographics or charts. A prudent reporter will examine the dataset you produce and draw his or her own conclusions. An infographic doesn’t allow you this close inspection. An infographic is only as good as the data that goes in, and no pretty graphics or timeline will change that.

The other problem with data is that a lot of reporters don’t know what to make of it. We journalists got into the ink- slinging business because math scares us. GMAT? No thank you!


Journalists Crunching Number What Do Journalists Love? Data! to the rescue

Fortunately there are tools out there like, which allow anyone to make a compelling data visualization. Just for fun I created a quickie to demonstrate the proportion of journalists who enjoy dealing with numbers. It’s not scientific, but it only took a couple minutes.

With data in hand, anyone who cares, but isn’t a master of Adobe Illustrator can still make a chart that tells a story and looks decent.

Journalists know a lot, but we don’t know everything. You can help a journalist by giving him or her the ability to tell a story that has never been told. Proprietary data about your industry is a powerful tool in your arsenal. And always remember that making someone else look can take you places.

So I hope you find this helpful. I tend to prattle on sometimes, and it’s late, but I truly believe data in the right hands has the power to change the world.

Shouldn’t it be yours?

]]> 6
How Entrepreneurs Can Build an Audience Using Google+ Hangouts Thu, 25 Apr 2013 20:45:48 +0000 6919656946 30b7b986b3 300x199 How Entrepreneurs Can Build an Audience Using Google+ HangoutsGoogle+ Hangouts can be a great way to build an audience for your company, and give your content a more human feel. The free service from Google allows you to record group video chat live, with a host and as  many as nine participants. An unlimited number of viewers can watch, and submit questions and comments in a chat stream. A great feature of Google+ Hangouts is the ability to save your live recording as a YouTube video, ready for future distribution. All you need is a webcam, which comes standard on most laptops and desktop computers

Copyblogger writer Sarah Hill has a great post today talking about the benefits of video content, and live audience interaction from Google+ Hangouts.

“Hangouts give an unparalleled opportunity to boost your online authority by showing off what you know. Take the opportunity to increase group engagement by featuring guest speakers or specialists and broadcasting high-quality informational sessions to your audience.”

Startups and small businesses can use Google+ Hangouts to demonstrate subject matter expertise in their niche or market category. Regular use of group video chat is a great way for you to lead “classes” on how to get the most out your product or service. And using Google+ Hangouts give you the ability to connect your audience with other authorities and thought leaders in your field who have interesting perspectives on the problem you are working to solve.

Give it a shot, and let us know what worked for you!


]]> 3