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5 Startup PR Fails - And How to Avoid Them

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Jonathan Greechan describes various startup PR failures, explaining what can go wrong and how to fix it. He speaks from his vast experience in the startup world and provides key knowledge from which any new founder would benefit.

To learn more from the Founder Institute, check out this awesome new blog post on generating startup PR traction:
http://fi.co/posts/21501

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5 Startup PR Fails - And How to Avoid Them

  1. 1. http://fi.co | @founding 5 Startup PR Fails Jonathan Greechan, Co-Founder, Founder Institute
  2. 2. http://fi.co | @founding .. and how to fix them! Jonathan Greechan, Co-Founder, Founder Institute
  3. 3. http://fi.co | @founding Who am I? v.01: Intern --> Marketing Lead, Game Trust • 10mm+ players, Billboard Award Winning Game Producer • Raised $16mm, Acquired by RealNetworks (2007) v.02: Co-Led Product on Real’s Community Game Platform v.03: Launched TheFunded.com, Founder Showcase – < $1,000 paid marketing v.04: Co-Founder, Founder Institute
  4. 4. http://fi.co | @founding Before we get started… What is the most important thing for startup founders to focus on?
  5. 5. http://fi.co | @founding Avoid the “Product Fallacy” Product is not king. TRACTION IS.
  6. 6. http://fi.co | @founding Don’t be this guy
  7. 7. http://fi.co | @founding Try lots of different things
  8. 8. http://fi.co | @founding 5 Startup PR Fails 1. “I’ll just Outsource It” 2. Neglect the Basics 3. Start PR Too Late 4. No Story 5. No Strategy
  9. 9. http://fi.co | @founding Fail #1: “I’ll Outsource PR” • No seed-stage startup should ever outsource PR • >$5k/mo, 6/mo min • No reduction in the Founder’s
  10. 10. http://fi.co | @founding 1.1: “I’ll Do it Myself”* • Early PR needs to be Founder/ CEO driven • Early PR firms are only efficient when you have inbound/ need training
  11. 11. http://fi.co | @founding Fail #2: Neglect the Basics Stop making it so hard to promote you!
  12. 12. http://fi.co | @founding 2.1: Help Them Help You* Easily found on your site: 1.1 Sentence Description 2.Clear positioning in your competitive landscape Required Reading: FI.co/posts/504
  13. 13. http://fi.co | @founding Fail #3: Start Too Late “Hello, my name is… we launch on Monday.”
  14. 14. http://fi.co | @founding 3.1. PR is NOT a “One-Off” Get Started Today: 1.Find the storytellers 2.Learn the narrative 3. Contribute to the narrative
  15. 15. http://fi.co | @founding 3.2: Find the Storytellers • You don’t pitch publications - you pitch people • Who are the storytellers? • Learn about them on Twitter • Start engaging!
  16. 16. http://fi.co | @founding 3.3: Tools to Find Them
  17. 17. http://fi.co | @founding 3.4: Tools to Find Them (& Engage)
  18. 18. http://fi.co | @founding 3.5: Contribute to the Narrative
  19. 19. http://fi.co | @founding 3.5: No Niche is Too Small! • Devote a few hours a week to documenting your learnings • Be opinionative • Every subject has an expert
  20. 20. http://fi.co | @founding 3.6: Share Data
  21. 21. http://fi.co | @founding 3.7: Curate
  22. 22. http://fi.co | @founding 3.8: Be Opportunistic*
  23. 23. http://fi.co | @founding Fail #4: No Basic Planning • Launching in the press is not a rite of passage • Press is not a tool for idea validation, MVP testing, or product feedback
  24. 24. http://fi.co | @founding 4. Basic Planning* • What is your goal? – “Announcing our X”, “Spreading the word” are NOT GOALS. – Goals: Early adopters? Investment? Recruitment? Mainstream adoption? • Who is your target? • What is your story?
  25. 25. http://fi.co | @founding Fail #5: No Story • You launching is not a story • ANAS (Advertisement, Not a Story)
  26. 26. http://fi.co | @founding Don’t Drink Your Own Kool Aid • Your baby is not special • How do you make other people care? • Build a story.
  27. 27. http://fi.co | @founding 5.1. Build a Meaningful Story Build a (1)meaningful story where your company (2)plays an important role.
  28. 28. http://fi.co | @founding 5.1. Build a Meaningful Story Build a (1)meaningful story where your company (2)plays an important role.
  29. 29. http://fi.co | @founding Six Story Types 1. Drama 2. A Trend 3. People 4. Purpose 5. Traction 6. Unique Insight
  30. 30. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 1: Drama We like Drama 1. Good vs. Evil 2. David vs. Goliath 3. Evolution (X for Y) 4. Controversy
  31. 31. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 2: A Trend Pitch a trend, not a company – Don’t start with “I”, “my”, “we”, “our” – Start with “the”, “today”, “there”
  32. 32. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 3: People People (the “who”) are more interesting than companies (the “what”) – Your story – Your customer’s
  33. 33. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 4: Purpose The mission (the “why”) is more interesting than the company (the “what”) – The motivation – The societal benefit
  34. 34. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 5: Validation/ Traction Enough Said…
  35. 35. http://fi.co | @founding Story Type 6: Unique Insight Create Relevancy – Data, Data, Data – Counterpoint – Controversy wins EM
  36. 36. http://fi.co | @founding But Wait! Gut Check • Journalists wade through BS all day • Don’t get caught manufacturing news
  37. 37. http://fi.co | @founding Appendix: The Pitch REQUIRED READING: FI.co/guides/93 • Keep it simple - just a few sentences • Offer an exclusive • Take it step by step • Get them on the phone
  38. 38. http://fi.co | @founding “If I leave you with ONE thing…” Advertising is bought. PR IS EARNED. You need to start EARNING it NOW.
  39. 39. http://fi.co | @founding Jonathan Greechan Co-Founder, Founder Institute Producer, Founder Showcase Twitter/ Insta: @jonnystartup FB/ Linked: jonathan.greechan Thanks!
  40. 40. http://fi.co | @founding PR 101 Workshop Everyone has an angle, let’s find yours! 1. Define Your Goal 2. Identify Your Targets 3. Craft a Story

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