PR Tips For Startups » public relations strategy http://prtipsforstartups.com Public Relations Advice and Startup Marketing Tips Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:46:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.1 Public Relations Advice and Startup Marketing Tips Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Public Relations Advice and Startup Marketing Tips Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips For Startups » public relations strategy http://prtipsforstartups.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/PRTips_logo_iTunes_iTunes_1400x1400.jpg http://prtipsforstartups.com San Francisco, CA Event Hacking For Startups http://prtipsforstartups.com/event-hacking/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/event-hacking/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:41:41 +0000 http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=2172

Event Hacking CC Social Media Lunch Cologne Event Hacking For StartupsMany people think that startup public relations is only about “getting press.” While media relations is one tactic startups use to spread there message, event hacking is underutilized technique founders can use to connect with their audience, build lasting relationships with customers and get the attention of journalists and strategic partners.  Joe Bubman talks about effective ways for startups to maximize free or low-cost events and in-person meetups for maximum public relations exposure.

Good public relations can be a godsend for early-stage startups seeking that elusive catalyst to generate customer interest. Sadly, the methods we startup founders use to attract attention often backfire. We hound our friends, self-promote on Facebook, and pitch writers to report on our company.

But most people don’t like feeling sold to. Sometimes the least effective thing we can do is grab the bullhorn, climb to the rooftops, and shout to the masses about the ingenuity of our product or service.

A more effective approach begins by putting yourself in the shoes of the consumer. What startups (yes, besides your own) do you promote to your friends? If you’re like me, you tout startups that deliver value to you.

Startups can achieve great PR results as a byproduct of delivering solid value to the community, often independent of their product, website, or mobile app. Here are three examples from the San Francisco startup community:

  • Jetpac runs awesome travel trivia events that bring together people who love travel. Mix together competition, food, and alcohol and you’ve got a loyal community who believe in the brand, regardless of their familiarity with the product!

  • Optimizely rewards participants in a discussion forum with food, drinks, a t-shirt, AND a gift card. A/B testing has never been so sexy.

  • The Livefyre CEO visits your local coffee shop to share expertise on entrepreneurship. Attendees may know nothing about Livefyre going in, but likely leave with an appreciation for the knowledge and composure of the company’s leader.

When crafting your PR strategy, think hard about how best to deliver value to the community. The more they derive benefit from anything you’re doing, the more interested they become in everything you’re doing.


Joe Bubman is founder and CEO of Company Connector, which matches working professionals with the best employers for them.

Bubman Jan 2013 photo 225x300 Event Hacking For Startups

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PR Tips Podcast 006: Startup PR Tips And Tactics With Erica Swallow http://prtipsforstartups.com/startup-pr-tips-tactics-erica-swallow/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/startup-pr-tips-tactics-erica-swallow/#comments Tue, 13 Aug 2013 06:59:33 +0000 http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1370 pr tips for startups badge PR Tips Podcast 006: Startup PR Tips And Tactics With Erica Swallow Erica Swallow is a startup public relations powerhouse. She’s a technology journalist and consultant helping startups master the finer points of business storytelling, between her travels, panel appearances and other adventures.

Erica is a long-time contributor to Mashable, a contributor to Forbes and her writing has also appeared in Entrepreneur, CNN, Huffington Post and USA Today. Erica also teaches the Udemt Startup PR course, which is also featured TechCrunch’s Crunch U. Needless to say, Erica knows a thing or two about startup journalism, and how to help startups get their story in the press. But she’s also the first to admit that she learns new storytelling tactics each day.

On this episode of the PR Tips For Startups Podcast we speak with Erica about the human aspects of the startup public relations process, as well as innovative public relations tactics to tell your story to the world.

PR tactics for first-time entrepreneurs

Startups don’t have big marketing budgets, strong SEO footprints or name recognition, Erica says. But startup founders have “newness” and passion, which can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to speaking with reporters. “Be as human as possible,” says Erica. When you’re in your early days it just you and a small team eating and breathing your cause. This passion and commitment is infectious.

How to select the right journalists to pitch

Erica suggests making a daily ritual of reading your favorite technology, entrepreneurship and startup publications. This way you get a feel for the style of coverage of each, as well as the particular interests of the journalist most likely to write about your company. Erica also says that you should pay attention to the way your favorite reporters write the headlines to their stories.

Your pitch to your favorite reporter should mimic the style of headline they’re likely to write, and, if possible, the subject of your pitch should mirror the headline of the story you’d like the reporter to publish about you.

How to effectively pitch your startup to reporters

Make your story pitches visual and visceral. “People don’t just want to consume empty words,” Erica says. Startup journalism is generally very cut and dry. It doesn’t have to be. What does your startup do? How many users does your startup have? How much money has the startup raised? From whom? Just the facts.

Erica commends the writers at Bits, the technology blog of The New York Times, who write startup stories with color and verve, taking something that is ostensibly a collection of 1′s and 0′s and really bringing it to life. Pitch your startup story with images, customer case studies, and anything that makes your business relatable to the audience. Remember to be human. Focus on the impact you create for other humans. Journalists are humans, too.

Other startup marketing techniques

Pitching stories to journalists is only one of many ways to get your message out there. Telling your story with white papers and customer case studies, and leveraging proprietary user data are great ways to humanize your business and capture journalists’ attention.  Journalists love data. In-person events and meetups are a great way to connect with your hardcore fans, and to create a noteworthy occasion that may attract members of the press, Erica says. She also recommends that you think about webinars as a platform to communicate your message to the public.

Startups with great PR

HotelTonight is an iPhone app that allows last-minute travelers to book deeply-discounted stays at boutique hotels in a growing number cities. HotelTonight gets love from the technology press, travel industry press, and the company gets high marks for its use of social media. As a startup your story has many angles you can exploit to speak to journalists who cover

Also mentioned in this interview:

Vayable CEO Jamie Wong

Contently CEO Shane Snow

WeHostels

Deliverish

You can reach Erica @EricaSwallow on Twitter, and EricaSwallow [at] gmail [dot] com

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http://prtipsforstartups.com/startup-pr-tips-tactics-erica-swallow/feed/ 2 Airbnb,content marketing,contently,data storytelling,Erica Swallow,humor,Mashable,mistakes in startup pitches,public relations strategy,puns,search engine optimization,SEO  Erica Swallow is a startup public relations powerhouse. She's a technology journalist and consultant helping startups master the finer points of business storytelling, between her travels, panel appearances and other adventures. -  Erica Swallow is a startup public relations powerhouse. She's a technology journalist and consultant helping startups master the finer points of business storytelling, between her travels, panel appearances and other adventures. Erica is a long-time contributor to Mashable, a contributor to Forbes and her writing has also appeared in Entrepreneur, CNN, Huffington Post and USA Today. Erica also teaches the Udemt Startup PR course, which is also featured TechCrunch's Crunch U. Needless to say, Erica knows a thing or two about startup journalism, and how to help startups get their story in the press. But she's also the first to admit that she learns new storytelling tactics each day. On this episode of the PR Tips For Startups Podcast we speak with Erica about the human aspects of the startup public relations process, as well as innovative public relations tactics to tell your story to the world. PR tactics for first-time entrepreneurs Startups don't have big marketing budgets, strong SEO footprints or name recognition, Erica says. But startup founders have "newness" and passion, which can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to speaking with reporters. "Be as human as possible," says Erica. When you're in your early days it just you and a small team eating and breathing your cause. This passion and commitment is infectious. How to select the right journalists to pitch Erica suggests making a daily ritual of reading your favorite technology, entrepreneurship and startup publications. This way you get a feel for the style of coverage of each, as well as the particular interests of the journalist most likely to write about your company. Erica also says that you should pay attention to the way your favorite reporters write the headlines to their stories. Your pitch to your favorite reporter should mimic the style of headline they're likely to write, and, if possible, the subject of your pitch should mirror the headline of the story you'd like the reporter to publish about you. How to effectively pitch your startup to reporters Make your story pitches visual and visceral. "People don't just want to consume empty words," Erica says. Startup journalism is generally very cut and dry. It doesn't have to be. What does your startup do? How many users does your startup have? How much money has the startup raised? From whom? Just the facts. Erica commends the writers at Bits, the technology blog of The New York Times, who write startup stories with color and verve, taking something that is ostensibly a collection of 1's and 0's and really bringing it to life. Pitch your startup story with images, customer case studies, and anything that makes your business relatable to the audience. Remember to be human. Focus on the impact you create for other humans. Journalists are humans, too. Other startup marketing techniques Pitching stories to journalists is only one of many ways to get your message out there. Telling your story with white papers and customer case studies, and leveraging proprietary user data are great ways to humanize your business and capture journalists' attention.  Journalists love data. In-person events and meetups are a great way to connect with your hardcore fans, and to create a noteworthy occasion that may attract members of the press, Erica says. She also recommends that you think about webinars as a platform to communicate your message to the public. Startups with great PR HotelTonight is an iPhone app that allows last-minute travelers to book deeply-discounted stays at boutique hotels in a growing number cities. HotelTonight gets love from the technology press, travel industry press, and the company gets high marks for its use of social media. As a startup your story has many angles you can exploit to speak to journalists who cover Also mentioned in this interview: Vayable CEO Jamie Wong Contently CEO Shane Snow WeHostels Deliverish Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no 57:31
Choose Your Enemies Wisely http://prtipsforstartups.com/choose-enemies-wisely/ http://prtipsforstartups.com/choose-enemies-wisely/#comments Sat, 10 Aug 2013 04:53:12 +0000 http://prtipsforstartups.com/?p=1315 Choose Your Enemies Wisely CC Rafik Berlin Choose Your Enemies Wisely

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

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

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

box billboard Choose Your Enemies Wisely

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

Why your enemy is your friend

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

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

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

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

Repositioning your enemy

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

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

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

Don’t be afraid to stir the pot

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

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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 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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