Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.
In this post from his blog, David Teten, Partner at ff Venture Capital and New York Founder Institute Mentor, lays out a variety of ways founders can hack the PR game and generate free buzz for their startup.
Below, "How to Create Free Buzz for Your Startup" has been republished.
"For startup companies trying to build buzz around their brand, but without the capital to launch a full-fledged PR campaign, there are a lot of ways to hack the PR game. Building on my earlier post about free publicity, I wanted to share some additional thoughts.
To begin with, the best PR you can build is through satisfied customers with high Net Promoter scores. In other words, you should focus first on a great product/service, and only after you’ve achieved that worry about PR. There’s a world of difference between PR success and actual business success.
Here are a few ideas:
- Sign up for Helpareporter.com (HARO), one of the secrets of the PR business. HARO connects you to reporters who are writing articles and seeking sources/people to profile. You can just reach out and submit yourself to be written about. It’s easy to task a junior person with monitoring this list for leads; that’s exactly what your PR firm does (with a markup).
- Nominate company representatives as speakers for tech or entrepreneurship conferences. These conferences are not only a great way to raise your startup’s profile, they also serve as valuable networking opportunities within the tech/VC community. See my previous blog post for a list of tech conferences and ways to get in. I particularly urge you to review SpeakerNetNews ; it contains a tremendous amount of curated wisdom from professional speakers: how to be a more powerful speaker, deal with distracting audiences, etc.
- Submit blog entry suggestions to prominent bloggers on a topic that can highlight your company. E.g., SeeffVC’s blog post about the JOBS act, which discusses portfolio company Indiegogo. Two free PR resources from Conrad Egusa and Brownstown & Egusa: A comprehensive tech reporter contact list, and a Beginner’s Guide To PR.
- Reach out to websites that profile entrepreneurs. For example, Mo.com interviews entrepreneurs from all industries to learn about small business experience and strategies. Under 30 CEO and Young Entrepreneur profile younger CEOs, while Mixergy allows entrepreneurs to share their experiences at part of an online business education.
- Sign up for an advocate-management service like Influitive, which motivates your champions (friends, family, customers, employees) to take actions to move your company forward.
- Distribute press releases on free sites like: PRWeb.com, Free Press Release, and PRLog.com. Not surprisingly, though, these free services won’t get you in the top tier publications.
- Support charitable causes. Identifying your company with charitable events or auctions helps you build positive brand sentiment. To support a notable cause, you could donate personal time with your CEO to an auction or engage your company in a public fundraising campaign (e.g. x% of sales made today will be donated to _____). You can also donate your time and advice through charity website Charitybuzz. I’ve donated lunch with me to some charities via this channel. However, the best way to do this is to lead a charitable initiative that ties in directly with your core initiative. For example, the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP), the initiative I co-founded focused on helping women and minorities increase access to venture capital, will be highly profitable, but I also know it’s good PR in the target market I care about, which is entrepreneurs.
- Host an event. If you have office space that isn’t used during the evenings, consider hosting an event to discuss your company or other themes pertinent to the startup / tech scene. ff Venture Capital recently hosted an event in its offices to feature two of its portfolio companies: MovableInk and Parse.ly."