Publicity & Presentation Startupbootcamp - Madrid Roxanne Varza Editor, TechCrunch France
Outline● Getting attention from the press● Writing a good press release● Communicating with the press● Best practices
I. Getting attention from the pressSeveral possibilities ● creating "buzz" ● famous by association ● making an announcement ● other alternatives ("goodies")
Creating "buzz"● an innovative way to get attention● example: HOPA dry-erase girl (a hoax)● http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/11/elyse-porterfield/
Famous by associationTip from Julia Allison: "Whenever someone takes a picture of me, I always try to stand next to someone famous..."
Making an announcement ● a launch, fundraising/investment, the opening of an office, recruiting someone at Facebook, impressive statistics, a new product with hot new features*" ● these all deserve classic press releases*Avoid "announcing" new features every month, it annoys thepress/me
Other options/goodies● A funny story (but dont abuse this) ○ Examples: ■ People renting goats as lawn mower on E-loue.com ■ A 9 year old child produces a professional magazine using MadMags platform... ○ Bad example: "a dog made a website using our product"● Be part of a trend ○ wave of Q&A sites like Quora, social games, YCombinator (great one for SBC startups)● Mystery or something impressive ○ Example: Hipster, 10K sign-ups in 2 days without anyone knowing what the product even was!
II. Writing a good press release ● Only for announcing something traditional or classic (hiring someone from Facebook, announcing an investment round...) ● Why I personally like press releases ○ especially useful for technical terms/expressions ○ summary of essential info that should be included ● But I do NOT want to simply republish a press release, I need MORE info!
Always include basic information● The official launch date● Number of people on the team● How much money have you raised? Is there an investment round in the future or in process?● Competitors (from USA, EUR, your country of origin)● Business model● Is there a mobile app? Integration with social networks?● Stats? (Number of users, etc.)● High-profile client names to include?● Some new projects/features to come in the near future?● Are you going international/to new markets?
PR AgenciesGood Bad ● A journalist can go to ● It can get complicated for ONE person for info on organizing interviews or several companies asking for follow-up information after a press release is sent ● PR reps never have ALL the information on the company and take longer to get it (critical for a blogger/real-time media)
III. Communicating with the pressThe way in which you communicatewith journalists is MORE importantthan the information you aresending!!!
Before sending a press release...● Know and select the right media and journalist ○ Example: Michael Arrington and I both write for TechCrunch - except Mike hates France and I love France. We are not going to write about French startups the same way...● Also, know how the journalist prefers to receive information. This is usually VERY clear on the website of the publication and is meant to save time!
The email inbox of a journalist/bloggerDeath by email (I receive several hundred emails per day) ● Personalize: "Hello Roxanne..." gets my attention ● Pick a short but punchy email title
Tips for sending a press release● Pick a good title for the email● Personalize the email with the name of the journalist● Send all information or elements in advance for better quality articles ○ BE CLEAR if there is an embargo date/time● Give exclusive information and be clear about it (journalists love this)● Communicate and coordinate with the others involved in the press release (investors, partners, etc.)
Sending a press releaseThe particular case of a blogger: ● it is a real-time media publication ● it is an interactive mediaTips: ● Put all information into the body of the email ● Include links, videos, references to other articles ● Dont forget to send screen shots and a recent logo
IV. Best practices ● Following up with a journalist who hasnt published anything ● Corrections ● Competitors ● Social Media ● Top Secrets
When should you ask a journalist whythey havent written about you yet?● All journalists are bombarded with info ○ It is OK to ping the journalist to verify they want to write about your topic● The journalist may not like your product or company or isnt at ease with the subject ○ Ask the journalist but do not insist - this can lead to bad press (see below...)● It is also possible that the content isnt in the editorial line of the publication ○ Example: not all iphone apps are TechCrunch material
IV. Best Practices● When should you ask a journalist to make a correction? ○ You can ignore typos ○ Correct (politely!) information that is incorrect ■ A competitor or a founders name ○ Feel free to update the journalist from time to time (sometimes they can modify the article with new info)
CompetitorsTALK OPENLY ABOUT YOURDIRECT AND INDIRECTCOMPETITORS, ITS BETTERFOR YOU!!!● Helps a journalist understand your product better● If you can be compared to someone like Google, Facebook, Groupon, Zynga, etc...GO FOR IT!!
Social Media as a news source● Social media platforms are a new source of information for journalists ○ Facebook - activity on Fan pages can be news ○ Twitter - sometimes tweets can be news worthy ○ Quora - interesting replies to questions can lead to stories
Top secrets● People say you should never trust a journalist...EVEN IF YOU THINK IT IS OBVIOUS WHATTO PUBLISH AND WHAT NOT TO PUBLISH,IT IS NOT. DO NOT TELL A JOURNALISTANYTHING THAT YOU DO NOT WANTPUBLISHED. PERIOD.