PR Tips for Startups » public relations http://prtipsforstartups.com Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Tue, 08 Oct 2013 07:10:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 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 » public relations http://prtipsforstartups.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/PRTips_logo_iTunes_iTunes_1400x1400.jpg http://prtipsforstartups.com San Francisco, CA Is Google Feeling Left Out Of The Public Relations Party? http://prtipsforstartups.com/google-feeling-left-public-relations-party/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/google-feeling-left-public-relations-party/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 06:59:33 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1789

Google sad face puppy CC rawlands Is Google Feeling Left Out Of The Public Relations Party?Does Google’s public relations department feel inadequate? That’s the impression I get after watching the news this week.

On Tuesday Google launched a new look for Google Analytics product embracing the flat design trend. A new Google logo was unveiled today, also utilizing flat design. Yesterday the Mountain View, CA search engine giant announced Calico, a spinoff company offering nebulous health and wellness solutions, that some snarked look to cure death.

With all the big tech stories that have already occurred–and it’s just Friday–Google’s latest moves seem rushed to say the least. Let’s recap the major stories in tech public relations, shall we:

APPLE. APPLE. iPHONE. IOS 7. APPLE. APPLE

By rights this should be Apple’s week in the spotlight, with the hotly anticipated release of the iOS 7 mobile operating system as well as two new iPhone models. iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.

But what else has happened:

  • Microsoft buys Nokia
  • Twitter announces its confidential IPO
  • Yahoo refreshes its logo after 10 years
  • Apparently Microsoft bing got a new logo yesterday, but nobody noticed

A company as large and ubiquitous as Google makes major news releases daily. While some product lines affect specific market segments, many of Google’s company acquisitions, feature updates and tweaks will instantly affect millions of people.

Part of me wonders if Google chose this week to announce the launch of Calico, to refresh the look of Google Analytics and to change its logo just to steal some of Apple’s thunder.

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Help Us Help You http://prtipsforstartups.com/help-us-help-you/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/help-us-help-you/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2013 06:11:06 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1418 Question Mark CC Jared Cherup Help Us Help You

Startups win when we help each other. Here’s your chance to make a difference.

From time to time we like to check in with readers of the blog to see what ways we can better serve your needs. How can we improve the experience for you and members of our community?

Please send an email or use one of our contact forms with your thoughts. Your feedback is vital to the continued growth and success of this blog.

Let us know any of the following:

  • What are specific topics you’d like to see covered?
  • Have we written about an area of startup public relations and marketing that you’d like to see covered in more depth?
  • What are your burning PR and marketing questions?
  • What startup PR experts do you think would make great guests on the PR Tips Podcast?

Perhaps you’d like to contribute your own thoughts to the blog. We would be happy to have you submit a guest post on the topic of your choosing. Just make sure that it’s relevant to an audience of entrepreneurs, and includes your first-hand experience. We love strong opinions. Please be as outspoken as you like.

Your contribution, critical feedback and encouragement is vital as we continue to make changes and improvements to this site.

Thanks in advance!

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Peter Shih And When Keeping It Real Goes Horribly, Unspeakably Wrong http://prtipsforstartups.com/peter-shih-keeping-real-horribly-unspeakably-wrong/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/peter-shih-keeping-real-horribly-unspeakably-wrong/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 22:47:03 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1400 Peter Shih Celery Controversy CC Loco Steve Peter Shih And When Keeping It Real Goes Horribly, Unspeakably Wrong

Fact: San Francisco summer weather is terrible.  It can ruin your day, but it’s your choice to let it ruin your life.

At the risk of piling on, Celery founder Peter Shih probably wishes he had published his now-infamous blog post “10 Things I Hate About You; San Francisco Edition,” to Snapchat instead of ascendant content platform Medium. The controversy created is not likely to go away anytime soon and it’s going to do terrible things to his personal brand and startup.

In a tin-eared, mysoginistic and self-entitled blog post, Shih decried San Francisco’s well-known “June gloom,” bicycle riders, the homeless, and made enough enemies to create a perfect firestorm of controversy.

Perhaps if he’d just left the beloved San Francisco 49ers alone, this whole thing would have passed unnoticed.

No, not all press is good press

We all have bad days. Startup life is often about moving from one bad day to the to the next in pursuit of a dream. And in these situations it’s vital to have an advisor or a close friend who can listen to you vent. Airing your grievances on social media can ruin your business and take down your friends, cofounders and team with blinding speed.

The main problem with Shih’s blog post from a startup public relations standpoint is that it serves no larger purpose. Worse yet,  there’s a whole industry that thrives on the malevolence and ill-will directed at startups and the human failings of their founders. There would be no ValleyWag and no BetaBeat without it. Don’t feed the monster.

Be authentic, but don’t be stupid

Authenticity is at the root of startup public relations. But there are always limits.

You’re entitled to your opinion but remember that as a founder you’re speaking for yourself and your company. The two are one and the same. Founder Jesse Thomas torpedoed a formidable brand when he posted embarrassing video of AlphaBoost founder Matt Monahan blackout drunk from the official JESS3 Twitter account during  a Geeks On A Plane trip to India with 500 Startups. While Thomas’ antics were already well-known within certain circles, he lit the the match that sent his content production house up in flames.

How to keep it real

I personally encourage founders I’m bloggers to court some level of controversy in order to stand out. It’s good to pick the large enemy
Bigger than you already are. But choose your enemies wisely. You can’t pick a fight with San Francisco and win. For a lesson on how to write about San Francisco, take a lesson from my friend and Startup Edition collaborator Jason Evanish.

If I were one of Peter Shih’s investor I would advise him to stay off social media, double down on the product, and make something useful. Usually it’s better to be hated than to be ignored. It’s far better when your competitors hate you because you’re going to steal their marketshare. This whole incident is none of those things.

A ray of sunshine(?)

Bad press doesn’t last forever. Some of us never get our 15 minutes of fame. Others get it for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately for Peter Shih we have short attention spans, and the snarkforce is already running to the site of the next burning building. But the damage is done.

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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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Hello, And Welcome To New Readers (: http://prtipsforstartups.com/readers/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/readers/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 04:05:42 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1274 World Map CC Eric Fischer Hello, And Welcome To New Readers (:

It’s an exciting time here at PR Tips For Startups. Over the last 48 hours we’ve experienced a surge of international traffic, and hundreds of new visitors. Thank you for checking out our blog, listening to the podcast and for sharing PR Tips content with your friends. We love it.

PR Tips For Startups soft-launched on May 1, 2013, and today alone we’ve had visitors from more than 80 countries. We are so honored to be a part of your day. Thank you!

The idea for this blog was to create a resource for startups and entrepreneurs searching for actionable, do-it-yourself public relations and content marketing advice.The mission of PR Tips For Startups is to help entrepreneurs and innovators like you change the world. Our actions change the world in big and small ways.

Entrepreneurs are heroes. Entrepreneurs dream big dreams, embrace risk and wake up every morning to build a better life for us all. Along the way you are creating jobs, you’re sharing yourself with your community, and you’re giving the ultimate gift; the gift of hope.

If today is your first day visting the blog, below are some of our most popular posts and articles. They should give you a feeling of who we are, and what we’re about.

 My Biggest Startup Founder Mistakes

Wipeout CC jesman Hello, And Welcome To New Readers (:

 

You may have found out about the blog because of this post. Esther Dyson says, “Always make new mistakes.” It’s only a mistake if we don’t learn from the things we do wrong.

Read: The 10 Biggest Mistakes I Made As Startup Founder

Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups

How To Find Journalists To Write About My Startup CC pasukaru76 Hello, And Welcome To New Readers (:

Getting publicity for your startup is hard, especially when you don’t know where to look. Here’s where to start.

Read: Five Places To Find Journalists Who Write About Startups

What Do Journalists Love? Data!

Stabilo CC plindberg Hello, And Welcome To New Readers (:

 

One of the best ways to get journalists to pay attention to your startup is to tell unique and powerful stories about the world from your company’s unique perspective.

Read: What Do Journalists Love? Data!

How can we help you help others?

PR Tips For Startups continues to grow and evolve. We’re creating a community where entrepreneurs educate and mentor each other. We want you to add you voice.

Please let me know how we can make your experience even better.

If you have a startup-related topic you want to see on the blog, please send us an email. We love getting questions and feedback.

Is there a podcast guest you would like to see featured on a future episode? Do tell!

Would like to contribute a guest post? Please, please, please! We would be thrilled!

PR Tips For Startups is for startup founders and entrepreneurs like you. Together we’re making the world a brighter, more-connected and more generous place. And it all starts with you. However we can help each other, we must.

Take the first step, and submit your comments or questions in the form below.

Cheers!

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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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Public Relations Tactics Are Not A Public Relations Strategy http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-strategy-and-tactics/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-strategy-and-tactics/#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2013 02:27:04 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=635 African Warriors CC koopmanrob 279x300 Public Relations Tactics Are Not A Public Relations Strategy

Startups often pursue short-term public relations tactics and mistakenly think they have a public relations strategy. Fortunately it’s not hard to separate the two, and to see how they work together.

A public relations strategy is a playbook that will deliver your company to its goals. A variety of public relations tactics must be deployed in order to make your company the most attractive option to your prospects.  Some of the tactics involved include launch announcements and press mentions (earned media), guest posts (earned/owned), sponsored posts (earned + owned) and educational content (pure owned). Each represents a different form of visibility and exposure for your company. But if you don’t have a public relations strategy you can’t know if the tactics you’ve employed are actually helping or not.

Few tokens of startup success are more coveted than a writeup or launch announcement in TechCrunch. Early in the life of a startup a lot of energy and resources are often hurled at snagging a TechCrunch article, or ink in one of a few similar publications. Founders love to collect logos on the home page.  The external validation is supposed to be a tipoff to investors, and helps with recruiting efforts, according to the prevailing wisdom.

Phalanx CC mpfilmcraft 300x245 Public Relations Tactics Are Not A Public Relations Strategy

But early media exposure should not happen at the expense of customer acquisition and product development. This tactical blunder can lead to strategic misalignment, with the public relations cart in front of the horse. Before you embark on this path, ask how press coverage will serve your long-term aims.

Raising venture capital is itself a tactical maneuver. Fundraising isn’t the ultimate goal. Neither is recruiting.

As a founder you went into business to create value for others, and to help people solve problems. VC will help you scale up your customer acquisition efforts, which might include hiring a public relations firm to help with marketing. A well-crafted public relations campaign may make your company more attractive to job candidates, but you’re not in business just to grow staff, are you?

How to create a public relations strategy

The following are tactics that will help you construct a winning public relations strategy. While not exhaustive, these building blocks will help you tell your story powerfully, and build sustainable buzz for your company.

Who are your customers?

There are multiple audiences for your product, and you should share different sides of yourself with each. Some segments of your audience may be large and fickle, while others are small, targeted and passionate. When you understand this you’ll realize that your public relations strategy should be crafted for the long haul, and media relations should include major publications and niche sites alike.

What are your public relations goals and business goals?

Think first and foremost about the goals you want to accomplish, both personally and professionally. What does success look like? It’s a question I always ask.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you’ve arrived. Be specific about what you hope to accomplish, and be audacious. But most of all, be honest.

Terra Cotta Soldiers CC Andrew Hefter 300x199 Public Relations Tactics Are Not A Public Relations StrategyWhat is your key message?

Once you’ve set you’re “North Star” you can start to tell the story of how you plan to reach your goals.

Much like an elevator pitch, you have to boil your story down into a phrase or a few talking points. This is instrumental when talking with journalists, but it’s a helpful exercise to make sure that your team clearly understands the company mission statement.

What is your narrative arc?

It’s helpful to think of your company story as novel or a TV show, with discreet episodes. Have your season finale crafted before you  release Episode 1. Each chapter or vignette advances the plot towards the conclusion.

How are you positioned versus your major competitors?

If you don’t have any competitors then you may not only be ahead of your market, but ahead of your customers as well. Fortunately even disruptors have something or someone they’re disrupting. By closely following the moves of your larger rivals, you’ll be able to craft a public relations message that demonstrates unique value as well as a thorough understanding of the marketplace.

What are the unique strengths of your team and solution

People today want to know the team. There’s a reason Dropbox has photos of its entire team on its home page. Leverage the personalities of your team, and your startup swag to get your public relations message to the right customers.

Remember that you’re battling for attention, eyeballs and customers.

The right tactics will help you gain ground on the competition, increase market share and profitability, but don’t confuse the means with the ends. Be strategic and tactical for the long-term, and you will reach your goal.

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Public Relations Is More Important Than Product http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-is-more-important-than-product/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/public-relations-is-more-important-than-product/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 03:48:38 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=625 Public Relations Sculpture CC Vasquez66 Public Relations Is More Important Than Product

Sorry if I’m the one who has to tell you this, but your product really doesn’t matter. But your public relations does.

A bad product with good public relations won’t fly. There’s nowhere to hide on the Internet. But A good product with bad public relations is just as bad. If you don’t have a public, you don’t need a product.

Business and public relations are one and the same. We get hung up on the nuances. I often switch between talking about startup public relations, and small business wisdom interchangeably. Business success is the ability to communicate the benefits of a product or service to the right audience, at the right time. This is the heart of public relations. Therefor business is practice of public relations personified.

We buy products because of a story. We buy  because we think the product in question it will help us achieve our goals. Whether our expectations are met or exceeded is all a function in our belief in the message. The better the perceived benefits can be communicated against our existing needs, the more likely we are to buy.

This is different from advertising. Advertising is about generating demand for mediocre products to a vast, and homogenous advertising. In today’s era of public relations, brands and businesses have the opportunity to tell stories to customers that reflect their needs and hopes back at them. Public relations is about listening, and product is the response.

The power of the public relations process is to connect with the emotion, the fears, goals, and aspirations of the customer. We do not make rational by decisions. Our emotion leads us to a buying decision and then we logically explain why we made the choice we made.

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PR Tips Podcast 002: Building Community For Your Product–Even Before You Launch http://prtipsforstartups.com/building-community-douglas-crets-mircosoft-bizspark/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/building-community-douglas-crets-mircosoft-bizspark/#comments Wed, 29 May 2013 04:47:27 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=536 pr tips for startups badge PR Tips Podcast 002: Building Community For Your Product  Even Before You Launch

Community is something that every company should strive to create around its product or service. In our connected world it’s easier than ever to tap into large pools of people who share a common ambition, or a common pain, and to listen to their needs. You can start the public relations process early by generating excitement among a loyal group of early users, before sharing your ideas with the wider world.

On this week’s installment of the PR Tips For Startups Podcast we speak with Doug Crets from Microsoft BizSpark about how startups can leverage existing communities to improve their products, or to create a new product that serves a need.

Doug says that today companies and brands can act as journalists, and serve the information needs of their community with the same authority and impact of a media organization. But it’s important to focus on the needs of the community, and to avoid self-promotion. If you’re only interested in talking about what you do, your audience will quickly tune you out.

Microsoft BizSpark is a global community of more than 50,000 startups who receive free software, support and mentorship to grow their businesses for up to three years. In his role as a central collector and publisher of information for his community, Doug is careful not to be “All Microsoft, all the time.”

Seek to become a trusted voice for your community, and the people will naturally gravitiate to your offer.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Companies who incorporate community into their product:

Zirtual: Virtual assistants for busy people

Babelverse: The universal translator for spoken communication

Venture capitalists who do a good job of creating community:

Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures. His blog is AVC.

Mark Suster from GRP Parnters, whose blog is Both Sides of The Table.

 

 

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http://prtipsforstartups.com/building-community-douglas-crets-mircosoft-bizspark/feed/ 4 Babelverse,BizSpark,Both Sides of The Table,Doug Crets,entrepreneurs,Fred Wilson,GRP Partners,journalists,Mark Suster,Microsoft BizSpark,public relations,startups Community is something that every company should strive to create around its product or service. In our connected world it's easier than ever to tap into large pools of people who share a common ambition, or a common pain, and to listen to their needs. Community is something that every company should strive to create around its product or service. In our connected world it's easier than ever to tap into large pools of people who share a common ambition, or a common pain, and to listen to their needs. You can start the public relations process early by generating excitement among a loyal group of early users, before sharing your ideas with the wider world. On this week's installment of the PR Tips For Startups Podcast we speak with Doug Crets from Microsoft BizSpark about how startups can leverage existing communities to improve their products, or to create a new product that serves a need. Doug says that today companies and brands can act as journalists, and serve the information needs of their community with the same authority and impact of a media organization. But it's important to focus on the needs of the community, and to avoid self-promotion. If you're only interested in talking about what you do, your audience will quickly tune you out. Microsoft BizSpark is a global community of more than 50,000 startups who receive free software, support and mentorship to grow their businesses for up to three years. In his role as a central collector and publisher of information for his community, Doug is careful not to be "All Microsoft, all the time." Seek to become a trusted voice for your community, and the people will naturally gravitiate to your offer. Resources mentioned in this episode Companies who incorporate community into their product: Zirtual: Virtual assistants for busy people Babelverse: The universal translator for spoken communication Venture capitalists who do a good job of creating community: Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures. His blog is AVC. Mark Suster from GRP Parnters, whose blog is Both Sides of The Table.     Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no 30:09
How Travel Site Hipmunk Uses Lean Content To Drive Revenue http://prtipsforstartups.com/hipmunk-lean-content/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/hipmunk-lean-content/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 17:51:51 +0000 Chikodi Chima http://www.prtipsforstartups.com/?p=363 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.

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