Media Relations for a Connected World
Use PR to Help Launch Your Tech Startup
At the end of every good supply chain are brand new and, hopefully, newsworthy products. As hard as getting the product from design to reality might have been, getting the attention of the press might be just a little bit harder. However, knowing the basic rules will help.
The news media, especially the journalists who cover technology, are fascinated by new companies and startups, especially if the new technology is really cool and interesting. Yes, social media offer wonderful opportunities to get the word out about your company and direction. However, by leveraging the power of technology media -- which your cohorts, investors, and potential customers access and read every day -- you can greatly increase the word of mouth and knowledge about your company.
Making your case
What makes your startup unique and interesting? To be honest, all budding entrepreneurs think their startup is the most interesting and most fascinating business opportunity that has ever existed. And if you don't think that, you don't deserve to be forming a startup. However, you need to be able to convince the rest of the world that you are going to make a difference.
What problem are you solving? Is this really a problem? Is it a minor problem, or is it a major challenge? A small technology tweak can be very valuable, but it is hard to get cynical industry reporters and writers to care about an upgrade. They are looking for the big picture. Like most other people, the editorial world is basically in WIFM mode: What's in it for me? They are looking for stories that will catch the interest of their readers. The more readers they have, the more eyeballs, the more hits, and the more their publications can charge their advertisers. Yes, it is all about the money.
Reporters really like being the first to the party -- the first media person to find and write about your startup. Not only is it a great story for them, but, like most people, they may take a proprietary interest in you and your company, and they may really want to see it succeed. They like hanging out with their peers and boasting about finding a small company that will become the next Google or Facebook.
Help the media to help you
Know what makes your product special and unique. Why is your new product or service so much better than everything else on the market? It is not good enough to be 10% less expensive. Competing on cost alone is not a big attraction -- unless, of course, you are cutting the cost of a needed technology by 50% or more.
Once you've established that the new technology is unique and could change the world, make sure it exists. Vaporware is a killer. Yes, delivery can be a few months off, but don't make the claim that the product is available now if you're not even close to production.
Not only will you alienate reporters and ensure that they will never talk to you again, but you will antagonize all the potential customers who saw the news and rushed to your website to buy your product. Be relatively honest about when the product or service will be available to the world. Most reporters are quite cynical. They have seen it all, and they will see easily through BS and untruths. They may not actually confront you in the interview, but your news will never hit their pages.