Use disproportionate force whenever possible to ensure your success in business. In public relations this is known as an unfair advantage. An unfair advantage is the irresistible, unbeatable and unrivaled part of your story. The unfair advantage is something only you possess.
What are unfair advantages?
An unfair advantage is a unique strength or attribute that sets you apart from any of your competitors. An unfair advantage is the story of your team or product is unforgettable, and will be a painful loss to anyone who chooses not to partner with you. Does your company own patents, were you first to market, is your advisor an Noble Prize winning scientist? These are unfair advantages and you owe it to yourself to use them to the maximum extent possible.
How do you identify your unfair advantages?
Tinfoil Security has an unfair advantage because the offensive web security service was co-founded by two MIT graduates who worked as national security contractors for the Department of Defense. Founders Ainsley Braun and Michael Borohovsky have already proven they know what it takes to protect American interests from cyber attacks. They’re abundantly qualified to protect your business.
The Tinfoil Security website says:
Our automated scan checks for vulnerabilities in every nook and cranny of your website. Using the same techniques as malicious hackers, we systematically test all the access points, giving you step-by-step instructions on how to eliminate any threat.
The unfair advantage is the “tie-breaker” that will win Tinfoil Security the deal instead of someone else.
Startups funded by top venture capital firms have an unfair advantage in public relations, such as those backed by Sequoia Capital, Andreesen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, or prominent angel investors like Ron Conway and Brad Feld. If your startup participated in the Y Combinator, Techstars, 500 Startups or Rock Health, the brand recognition of these prestigious accelerator programs is another unfair advantage.
How to get media attention with your unfair advantages
The easiest way to get media attention with your unfair advantage is to find a journalist who understands why your unfair advantage matters. While newsroom journalists cover breaking stories, most technology journalists who cover startups are specialists in a few key areas such as video games, hardware and devices or cloud computing.
You can use your blog to get journalists’ attention or you can monitor news for events relevant to your area of expertise. This is called “opportunistic PR.” Opportunistic PR is the art of inserting yourself into an unfolding news story. PR professionals often call this “newsjacking,” such as when Oreo capitalized on the blackout during the 2013 Superbowl. Making your unfair advantage relevant on an ongoing basis is an art unto itself.
Since news of the NSA PRISM program first leaked, privacy as a service provider SafeShepherd has been a regular guest on Bloomberg to discuss ways Americans can safeguard their personal information online. PRISM has also been a bonanza for other services that encrypt online communications and protect people’s sensitive data from prying eyes.
Sometimes you can’t predict when your unfair advantage will be useful for public relations, but you should never be afraid to maximize it. Subject matter expertise in an area will prepare you to strike when the opportunity arises. Establishing yourself as a thought leader will put your story at the head of the line when reporters need sources.
And the same things attributes that make you a good fit for press will win you deals, grow your company and establish your legacy. Never be afraid to use disproportionate force to dominate the public relations game.