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Colette Ballou presentation at TechChill Baltics

Presentation by Colette Ballou on PR issues at TechChill Baltics conference

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PR For Start-Ups
Colette Ballou, Ballou PR
February 13th 2014
@coletteballou @balloupr
© Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
Client experience
© Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
First, the big picture
© Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
Corporate reputation
Done right, PR is a huge part of your
reputation
• It is what people say about you whether in a newspaper, on
a blog, on Twitter or to a colleague at an event like this one
• It is about good word-of-mouth that supports sales and
increases valuation
• Your reputation is everything, and a good name can be
damaged in a few keystrokes. Looking after your reputation
is crucial
© Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
Big misconceptions
Ad

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Colette Ballou presentation at TechChill Baltics

  • 1. PR For Start-Ups Colette Ballou, Ballou PR February 13th 2014 @coletteballou @balloupr
  • 2. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved Client experience
  • 3. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved First, the big picture
  • 4. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved Corporate reputation
  • 5. Done right, PR is a huge part of your reputation • It is what people say about you whether in a newspaper, on a blog, on Twitter or to a colleague at an event like this one • It is about good word-of-mouth that supports sales and increases valuation • Your reputation is everything, and a good name can be damaged in a few keystrokes. Looking after your reputation is crucial
  • 6. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved Big misconceptions
  • 7. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved PR is more than media relations, but media relations is a big part of what we do
  • 8. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved We don’t control the media: we control the message. And understand media agendas, news cycles, trends, and how something becomes news and talked about
  • 9. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved At it’s most basic and tactical, PR is media relations, writing press releases, etc. At it’s best, it’s reputation management
  • 10. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved Humans are storytellers
  • 11. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved The most respected companies use PR as a strategic advantage
  • 12. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved There’s a key factor in corporate reputation
  • 13. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved A good reputation has to be earned
  • 14. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved SendGrid
  • 15. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved If you don’t speak, others will speak for you, and shape and thus control your reputation
  • 16. Start early Honesty, transparency, authenticity, integrity Build and guard your reputation carefully © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 17. The smaller picture © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 18. You probably don’t need a PR agency © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 19. If you are pre-seed or seed, you need to mine your friends and family (if B2C) or super-early users (if B2B) for feedback on what works and what doesn't. They are the ones that will put their heart and soul into pointing out bugs, giving feedback and spreading the word. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 20. Focus on the product, product design, the basics of the business, leverage social tools and channels to enhance your marketing and your connections to spread by word of mouth. PR is not a necessity at this stage in your life. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 21. About PR © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 22. Good PR is about building and maintaining professional networks » PR is more than traditional and non-traditional media relations: it means reaching influencers, your customers, prospects, and even your competitors to get good word-of-mouth that drives sales and increases valuation. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 23. Intro to PR What PR is: the basics » Key messages » Media training » Press materials distribution » Press releases » Proactive pitching » Opinion pieces » Media tours » Market analyst relations » Speaker placement at conferences » Awards © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 24. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved PR does not replace sales – it works in tandem with it. PR takes time. Up to six or even nine months depending on whether or not you already have traction and your industry.
  • 25. Okay, but how do I get PR? © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 26. Elements of news »News is » New product (with customers) » Personalities » Expansion, failure » Financials » Layoffs, litigation »Can be news » Change in direction » Business as usual » New customer » Personnel appointment © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 27. Elements of news »Not news: »We’re still here! »Product still selling »Our existing product is really better than our competitor’s new product © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 28. Let’s get to the heart of it – PR how-tos Determining your approach – what makes something news » Timeliness: is it part of the news agenda of the day? » Differentiation: is your technology disruptive or a refinement? Or has it been done before? » Impact: how does the story effect your industry, your competition – will it change things in any way? » Proximity and education: how is it relevant to the publication/journalist you want to write about it? Have they written about the subject before? » Controversy: will it divide opinion, will it get people talking? » Prominence: is there a well-known person attached to the news? Who is quoted in the release/any third party endorsement (market analyst or key influencer)? © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 29. Ways to get coverage »Press release »‘Surfing’ the news agenda/piggy-backing »Case studies »Product reviews »Bylined articles »Letters to the editor »Editorial calendars »Technical articles »Surveys © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 30. Documents To Prepare Key messages: the who/what/where/when/why and how of your company » Limited to three-five maximum » Supportable with factual data or proof points » Concise, clear, understandable Press kit/collaterals: » Company boilerplate: a concise overview reflecting the key messaging and features of your company » Bios of key management: quick bios of your founding members, senior team, and investors » Testimonials: what do others have to say about your product? » Company fact sheet: a quick one page document describing your product, features, and audience For internal use only: press Q&A - answer all the tough questions ahead of time © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 31. The Press Release © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 32. The Elements of a Press Release When drafting your press release, it is important that you focus on the key news that you are announcing in a clear one- to two-page release »Typically, a press release will follow this format: »Topic sentence: what you are announcing »Subheader: how this affects the industry »The location, date »Paragraph one: what your company does, what they are announcing, and what are the immediate and long term benefits »Paragraph two: give more detail about the news. Use examples »Paragraph three: use a quote from a key partner, customer, or influencer to discuss how they use your service »Paragraph four: use a quote from your founder, or CEO to talk about the larger vision of your company. how does your announcement help you achieve that vision? What is next? »Paragraph five (if necessary): technical details and requirements »Paragraph six: your company boilerplate © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 33. Wildfire Press Release Wildfire launches new way to measure brand engagement on Facebook Wildfire Integrates with Facebook’s new Insights data to provide brands with a richer understanding of engagement London, UK.— 3rd October, 2011—Wildfire, the leader in social media marketing software, announced today the release of new analytics that enable marketers to better understand their brand’s reach on Facebook, including how well brands are accessing the friends of their fans and how successfully they are creating brand advocates. Wildfire’s new analytics tap into new Insights metrics being announced by Facebook today, but also go deeper by enabling brands to view these metrics in aggregate across all their Facebook pages and tabs. Selected by Facebook to help advise them on the new Insights metrics, Wildfire is in the unique position to offer its users immediate access to the new metrics when Facebook releases them in the coming days. Additionally, Wildfire’s participation in Facebook’s beta testing program allowed it to build out its own platform not only to provide its clients with an easy way to digest and track the new Insights metrics, but also to go deeper by providing additional insights, including the ability to aggregate the new analytics across multiple Facebook pages and tabs. “Facebook Insights provide marketers with powerful social media measurement tools to better understand and influence the discussion between a brand and its audience,” said Victoria Ransom, Wildfire founder and CEO. “Partnering with Facebook allows us to deliver a fully- integrated analytics solution that builds upon the foundation provided by Facebook’s platform. Our enhanced social marketing tools give Wildfire customers an advantage when it comes to brand engagement.” © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 34. Wildfire Press Release/continued When used in combination with Facebook Insights, Wildfire’s new analytics deliver critical value to the social space, which according to key players like Mark Zuckerberg, is becoming increasingly focused on engagement, as noted in the f8 keynote. With engagement rising to the forefront of social marketing strategy, marketers look to quantify the impact of their social media efforts, which requires more than a tally of how many fans or followers they have on a particular social network. Facebook Insights and Wildfire’s integration provides brands with state-of-the-art, actionable data. Wildfire’s announcement today is part of its ongoing commitment to providing brands and agencies with a complete social marketing solution. Companies such as Electronic Arts, Travelocity, the Indianapolis Colts, and Virgin Atlantic use Wildfire to power social media campaigns and manage their social properties. On the heels of the release of it Social Marketing Suite earlier this summer, the integration with Facebook’s API provides marketers with advanced analytics to help them create more tailored campaigns with a precise strategy. Using Wildfire tools like Messenger and Page Manager, brands can optimise the Facebook conversation with their customers and reach a wider audience. Download PDF: http://lp.wildfireapp.com/rs/wildfire/images/Facebook_Insights.pdf Read more blog post (will go live Oct 3, 6am PST): http://blog.wildfireapp.com/?p=2989 Like Wildfire on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/wildfireinteractive Follow Wildfire on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/wildfireapp © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 35. Wildfire Press Release/continued About Wildfire Interactive Headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., Wildfire is the leader in social media marketing software and the only social media marketing company to have received an investment from Facebook’s fbFund. Our patent-pending technology allows large brands, small businesses and agencies to easily create their own attractive, branded social campaigns (e.g. sweepstakes, contests, giveaways, coupons and more), build and manage social pages, monitor and communicate with their social audience and measure the performance of their own and their competitors’ social media marketing. Intuitive, streamlined and affordable, our software is simple enough for even the least tech-savvy business manager to use and flexible enough to suit the needs of the most creative marketer or advertising agency. Wildfire serves tens of thousands of companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Ogilvy and Target, and has offices in Redwood City, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and London. More information about Wildfire can be found at http://www.wildfireapp.com/. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 36. How To Distribute Your Press Release Email key press: » Note: for most high level press, you need to send a short pitch email, introducing yourself and your company, along with your release Who are your main press targets? » Provide your release to them under embargo. To secure high level press, look to use “exclusives”. Keep in mind that some publications do not honor embargoes, so it is important that you get confirmation before you email your release and pitch Wire distribution: » There are many different types of wire services: » Businesswire, PR Newswire, etc. » Some are free, many are expensive. Generally, you get what you pay for. Make sure to decide ahead of time whether the cost of distribution is a factor © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 37. How To Pitch Your Story To The Media Do Your Homework: » Get involved in social communities: look for early industry friends on Twitter, Quora, and blogs » Get familiar with your writers: use RSS keywords to track news in your industry. Read and comment often » Get the press involved (provide specific high level outlets with exclusives and early beta access. Get feedback before you launch) » Watch your competitors: Google alerts works great for this The Actual Pitch: » Email and Twitter are your best channels of communication » Tailor your pitch for press and publications. Have they recently written about your industry? » Be friendly, concise and honest. Stay away from terms like “revolutionary” and don’t be afraid to mention competitors » Understand timing: do not pitch during industry shows » Begin pitching early in the week. No reporters open email at 5:00 PM on a Friday » Provide visual assets and video » Confirm meeting times ASAP. Reporter schedules are often busy © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 38. Actionable right now: A few words about start-up competitions © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 39. Actionable right now: A few words about conferences © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 40. Ballou PR Networking Tips & Etiquette »It’s very important not to be the creepy lurking person. Very »Be thoughtful of speakers, VCs and journalists, they get LEAPT upon at conferences. Say your piece, then let them be »Get the business card. Give yours »Always re-introduce yourself to people. Never say “Do you remember me?” It puts the other person in a terrible position. »When someone re-introduces themselves to you, don’t make them feel stupid or rude for possibly not remembering you. They are trying to help you. Don’t repay kindness by making them feel like an idiot »Don’t approach someone when they are in the middle of something, for example, when they are mobbed, trying to get off a stage, or trying to leave the venue »Please accept when the other person has to close the conversation. Make it easy for them and allow them to go »Think twice before touching anybody. It doesn’t create closeness or confidence where there was none; most times, it just is creepy and off-putting © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 41. Ballou PR Networking Tips & Etiquette/continued »Bring a wingman, or better yet, a wingwoman. They can make sure you get into and out of conversations smoothly, help you with names, etc. »Building on the wingman concept: an introduction is gold. Get a mutual friend or colleague to introduce you – it’s more powerful »Watch the other person for cues, such as body language, on when to wrap things up. It’s polite and appreciated, and you will be remembered! »Remember that the point is NOT to hog the other person’s time for an hour. The point is to be compelling and memorable »Have a clear “ask” if you are trying to speak to someone, and get to the point. Don’t just say, “We should have coffee.” »If appropriate, consider approaching with a “give” instead of an “ask”– “I saw on Twitter that you are keen to invest in the Baltics, may I help you get to know Estonia?" © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved
  • 42. © Copyright. Ballou PR. All rights reserved London – Paris – Berlin Thank you! Other questions? @coletteballou @balloupr More about us: http://www.slideshare.net/BallouPRUK/bpr-creds

Editor's Notes

  1. Working with high-growth technology companiesB2B, consumer, corporateLondon and Paris, Berlin – I am based in Berlin20 people and growingSale of French company Musiwave to Openwave for 100+ million eurosEntry of Facebook and Pinterestinto FranceClients include: Pinterest,Evernote, Flipboard, Zendesk, SendGrid, Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin,Eventbrite,HotelTonightStripe, GP Bullhound,Seatwave, SumUp Rubicon Project, Unruly Media, Infectious Media
  2. + Exact Target and WhatsApp
  3. Some facets of corporate reputation come readily to mind: the quality of your products and services.How you respond to a crisis. If you’re a listed company, your results and your share price. Interactions with your customers or, if you’re a VC or angel investor, interactions with your LPs and portfolio companies,All of these factors contribute to the shaping of your corporate reputationBecause PR is about public opinionYou may not think that it’s crucial today, or in the next few months, but it will be one day. When you most need it. And if you haven’t built it, nurtured it, guarded it, then when you most need it, it won’t be there.
  4. PR is more than media relations: it means reaching influencers, your customers, prospects, and even your competitors to get good word-of-mouth that drives sales and increases valuationIt’s about ensuring you are represented accurately and positively in media and on social networks. It’s about ensuring you have consistent messaging. It’s about ensuring you are considered an industry leader (eventually) by peers in the industry through comment opportunities in the media and speaking opportunitiesPress releases PitchingKey messagesPress kits/collateralsMedia trainingOpinion piecesMedia toursMarket analyst relations (Gartner, etc.)Speaker placement at conferencesAwards
  5. And I want to clarify something: we don’t have special relationships with the media so that they cover our clients, we have to earn our clients media attention by understanding what is news, or how what our clients are doing fit into the news agendaThis involves a understanding of what they do but also where the company needs to go, which is why we insist on direct line to the top-level managementMusiwaveSumUp
  6. Why is so PR powerful?We love telling them, we love hearing them.We more easily digest things when they are framed in stories. Facts are great, but they rarely move uson a gut level
  7. Who?Often have a Chief Communications Officer
  8. If you run a company, or are a part of its management team, it’s youA strong corporate reputation is important for so many reasons:People want to associate and buy from companies they trust. If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of charging a premium for your products, even in price-sensitive times.If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of withstanding negative events – and of earning repeat business that eventually turns into the lifelong loyalty associated with the most-respected brands.
  9. But that reputation has to be earned, and it is earned over time, both through your performance and your behaviour. My advice is to start early. The CEO and top-level management, partners – you all need to be involved. That doesn’t mean that as a CEO, you need to do everything yourself, but you do need a public profile of some kind. You will not have the credibility you need if you only start communicating when things are going particularly well, or particularly poorly. LakestarBehave with honesty, transparency, authenticity and integrity. Invite, rather than command. To show humility, rather than claim world domination. Be real, rather than claiming to be ‘really excited’ at every minor product announcement.
  10. American company that does emailservicesThe incident started when Richards complained about two guys behind her at PyCon who made sexually charged jokes about "big dongles." Richards also tweeted a photo:.After the photo circulated and Richards complained to the event's organizers, one of the men was fired by employer PlayHaven.On Thursday afternoon, SendGrid's website was down and reports indicated it was a victim of a DDOS attack. Richards' blog, meanwhile, was also experiencing service issues, but that may have been caused by heavy traffic to the site.
  11. I spend a lot of time advising startups not to use a PR agency, which is pretty funny considering I run a PR agency. At this stage, you & your founders are the best PR -- us LI and FB, Tweet, ask clever questions on Quora, use Pinterest, SnapChat, Vine if appropriate. Create a community. Get to know who your Twitter followers are, see who follows you & your company, see who they follow, get involved. Find out where else your followers are present on the social web, learn more about them, see where else you can engage them, etc., which is exactly what you should be doing.Get these first 1000 users deeply involved, and get involved with them -- it's the best investment you can make. Another reason not to hire a PR firm is that when you are in a very raw beta, the last thing you want is media attention, b/c you will only get one shot with the media at this stage. If your site is buggy, you'll get a bad review. And everybody will know it.Save the PRfirm for very specialized projects when you are up & running smoothly, and start after your Series A or so.
  12. Focus on basics.
  13. I’m going to change your perception about what PR is
  14. PR not for everybody – some people want to know exactly what coverage they are going to get, we cannot guarantee it. Deliverables, sure. If you are a SN company & LI announced it’s IPO the same day you had an announcement, you will likely get little coverage – the SN agenda will be ruled by LI that day (and for several days to come)If you can’t handle this uncertainty, PR is not for you.
  15. Everybody thinks their startup is the best EVER, just like everybody thinks their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. Thus, they think that everything they do is newsworthy. But let’s think objectively about this.Reporters want scoops – they answer to their editors & to their readers
  16. To approach the media, you have to take a long hard objective look at yourself, see where your company and your news fits in
  17. Look on line, see some of our PRs, use them as a templateNote market differences in grammar, punctuation, tone: US vs UK, France, Germany, etc.
  18. This is an oldie but a goodie
  19. Don’t be afraid to mention competition! They validate you and help people understand what you do, what space you are in, and why you they should care. Saying you have no competition means either you are stupid or you selected a space that no one thinks is worthwhile.
  20. Don’t worry about entering to win!These are great to meet investors. But don’t become a perpetual competitor -- 3 is about the limit.Want to talk about which ones to enter? Let’s discuss how to decide – Seedcamp, Pioneers, LW, TNW, TC Disrupt, etc.
  21. Conferences are awkward situations. You know that you need to make the most of your time there – chances are that you paid not only the entrance fee, but also for the flight and the hotel. But why do we fail to make meaningful connections at conferences? Because we often forget the perspective of the very people we are trying to connect with.Conferences are excellent opportunities to further your business goals, be it funding, partnerships, sales, an article, or an invitation to speak. So have these clearly in mind when approaching each person. Know what you need to get from that conversation, and realize that you’re likely not going to get funding, close the sale, etc., right there. But you can get yourself further down the line with an invitation to connect later about that very topic.