Many think of Startup PR as one thing – media coverage by journalists for startups. Which is true but regrettably leaves out a vast area of great PR that is still considered free and coverage but not by journalists or press associations. It is a new genre of free publicity that some startups have been on to for awhile and others are just discovering. It includes bloggers writing about your product, submitting guest posts on your company’s behalf and one we believe to deliver some of the highest conversation rates – offering your own expert advice.
Once upon a time, ‘you can google it’ was the quick solution to finding the answer to any question. But how does a founder wondering the best way to monitor inbound traffic based on social media leads and blog content sift through the mass results provided by Google? How does a young entrepreneur who wants to found his own startup get the advice he needs to really convince investors to back his dreams?
How do you condense the million questions surrounding your problem into one concise search?
Whether your startup caters to tech lovers such as yourself or those going about their life with no knowledge of the importance of SEO or analytics – there are people out there in the world looking for answers and a solution to their problems. For many – you have the solution and it lies in your product and/or services.
While receiving media coverage on TechCrunch or Mashable is sometimes brag worthy and can lead to sales and user acquisition, it should not be your only method of generating attention and leads. With sites such as Quora who deliver answers straight from those who share common interests and ultimately know the answer to your questions or Clarity who offer great advice from those who’ve walked in your shoes – there are opportunities for you to share valuable advice that will not only promote your startup indirectly but will commonly drive traffic to your website and secure users.
Let’s look at real life situations. Let’s take it back a few years before social media monitoring became huge. Your startup has just developed the first platform to do so and investors are going wild. Here are three scenarios where your startup is covered, and the potential outcomes.
1. The New York Times
The Good: Bob is a community manager at a local startup and he’s looking to identify a new way for his team to properly monitor their social media accounts. Bob sees your article in the paper on his subway commute and is extremely interested. Bob may go back to the office and immediately check out your website. Or he may do so from his iPhone right before he texts his boss and sets up a meeting to talk about your new platform and how it can increase social media optimization.
The Bad: Bob may get into the office and get distracted by a pressing matter brought to him by his boss. Bob may also not have cell service in the tunnels to check your site on his iPhone. Bob could be forgetful. And in most real world situations, Bob could be retired or not technologically savvy enough to even care about social media.
The Good: Julie is a Co-Founder at Social Butterfly, a new startup that helps connect singles via social media. Being the tech guru that she is, she likes to check her favorite tech sites in the morning when she has her coffee and noticed your article on Mashable. She’s intrigued because of her company’s background and your problem-solution fit appeals to her. She immediately makes a note to talk to her co-founder about looking into your product further.
The Bad: Julie is a technology student who loves Mashable and thought your platform was interesting but she is far more interested in learning to code than monitoring social feeds. Julie could also be a movie buff who stumbled upon Mashable for her first time when she saw a headline tweeted in her timeline about how Twitter reacted following the death of a celebrity icon. She then clicked onto your article out of curiosity to pass the time.
The Good: Doug needed a solution for monitoring his social feeds for his startup and wanted to turn to those who know best. He submitted a question on Quora, knowing his startup buddies would surely answer in a timely manner. You were monitoring Quora for inquiries about social media monitoring and happened to see Doug’s question. You answered immediately, offered your assistance and exchanged information. Now Doug uses your platform for all his social needs.
The Bad: Doug wasn’t interested enough in your solution to his problem to try the platform out but your answer to his question was seen by others who did. Why? Because in their time of need, they wanted an expert on social media monitoring and you were it.
There are many others out there, much like Doug, who are in search of a solution to their problem. And while this solution may be found in the pages of a newspaper or magazine or on an online website or blog – the timing when these solutions are found may not always coincide with when it is needed.
To proactively be helping others, one must be ready to answer when they are called upon. In the cases of Quora or Clarity, you have the power to offer answers and advice when you can, holding the power to get your product name out there in your hands. It may not be PR in the traditional sense but offering the answer when it’s needed most is not only an extremely effective way to generate a lead but it is also extremely measurable and dare we say reliable – if your solution is appropriate!
So next time you’re exhausted from pitching the media or have just written yet another guest post submission, take a breather and look for the seekers out there. The seekers who have a problem that needs your solution.
Be the expert.