There is a nasty rumor out there. One that suggests publicists are all about getting attention and merely write media releases all day long. Well, while we do enjoy our share of attention (who doesn’t?) and occasionally will write a press release or two, there’s an even bigger secret we’d like to share.
The new wave of PR (or #StartupPR which we’re known for) is no longer working to get you attention – it’s about creating opportunities to show the world what you can do.
Let’s take it back to high school biology. If you remember learning about organism relationships, you more than likely remember hearing about parasitic relationships versus altruistic ones. The parasitic organisms essentially locate hosts and proceed to suck the life out of them where as the altruistic organism unselfishly does whatever it can to help its host, sometimes even reducing their own fitness in the process.
Sound familiar? If you know any Startup founders, we’d argue their lack of sleep, diet of Ramen noodles, and suffering bank accounts to create, develop, and deliver a product to help the world become a better (faster, stronger?) place, is a great example of human altruism.
If you look at our world today, vanity of some degree is everywhere. It’s become socially acceptable. Facebook and Twitter are real-time updates of what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with. We feel the need to let our every day social circles (and in some cases, hundreds of following strangers) know what we ate for dinner, what we wore, what our desk looks like, and what our pets are doing. (I’m admittedly guilty as charged, as seen here, here, here, and here.) Most social networks are now an information highway of everyone’s personal business.
Well, as much as everyone loves bringing attention to their lives, we’ve realized the key to successfully promoting your company, product or launch, shouldn’t be simply, “look at me.”
No. The secret is diverting the attention away from yourself and your gain, and focusing energy into saying – “hey – look what we’ve done for you.”
PR isn’t about helping sell your product to the world. It’s about showing others how you’ve changed the world. How your product has solved a universal problem. And essentially, why you’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into doing so with probably no real concern for your health or mental state in the process. In our quest for ’as much traction as quickly as possible,’ we often tend to forget the old ‘sales’ adage: people buy (try/download/sign-up) from people they like.
So how do you incorporate this into your StartupPR? By providing content that has value, meaning, and most importantly, lacks vanity. Always bring it back to how you are helping others.
“Our product will make your life easier by – insert why your product is awesome here-” versus “We’re the leaders in our field. We’ve won countless awards. We have a celebrity investor. That’s why you should buy our product.”
In a reality where it is common to turn to Google for answers (hypochondriacs know a thing or two about the dangers of WebMD), your market, and subsequently your potential customers, are actively searching for your answer to their problems. So why do so many companies make it so hard to find? Don’t let your great product get lost in the shuffle.
Always ensure that your answer is clear and not shadowed by your own successes. Facebook and Twitter have extremely valuable insight embedded amongst the details of people’s lives but it can be sometimes challenging to find. Put your customers and followers first. Give them what they are looking for and if your solution isn’t the right answer to their needs, don’t be afraid to offer another solution; even if it’s not your own.
Embrace social media and engage with your customers for their benefit – not your own. Actively search for those who need your product (your market) and guide them to it (offer the solution.) Unlike a single organism that can only help one other – technology has allowed us to be anywhere and everywhere. Use this to your advantage to help as many as you can.
Inject your solution into your website or blog content. Identify problems in your market that are causing unrest and create posts dedicated to solving those problems. A shameless plug of how your product can help is fine but always focus on the bigger picture. How can you help others in various ways? It may stop at you simply offering a blog post of suggestions but in the end, you’ve helped. Be inspired by the conversations you have via social media. What are people asking for? What are issues that are yet to be resolved? Avoid generating content that has already been mass-produced.
Lastly, remember that your product is the solution but you’ve created it. You deserve credit. But instead of basking in the glory of your awesomeness (which we highly recommend doing occasionally on your own or with team members) channel your knowledge into being a mentor to others. Whether it be as simple as responding to social media inquiries, monitoring Quora for questions you know the answers to or writing guest posts on third party sites; continuously help others in any way you can. Give your best stuff away. Good things will always come back to you.
Consider drawing inspiration from the mongooge. The mongoose is one bad-ass cobra killing machine; but rooted somewhere in its developmental makeup is a certain kind of altruism. They’ve been known to nurture and dote on elderly, sick, or injured animals; domestic mongooses have even been known to defend their human owners from venomous snakes.
You’ve worked hard to deliver a great product, but a product is only as good as its customers; particularly those early ones. Be the mongoose.
… And for your daily cose of cute, we give you: the baby mongoose.