What tech startups can learn from LaunchPR.com
Joan Schneider of Schneider Associates (www.launchpr.com) wrote a book titled New Product Launch: 10 Proven Strategies. Although LaunchPR focuses on consumer packaged goods, there is a lot to learn from Joan’s book. In particular the powerful role that PR plays in a winning product launch. I recall a chance encounter with Mark Chason, the founder of eMusic.com a number of years ago. I was on a press tour in the Bay Area with my PR rep and we were having breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. We were discussing the day’s agenda when Mark politely interrupted our conversation. He was delighted to hear that we were placing so much emphasis on PR as part of our product launch, which he pointed out was the single most influential tactic behind the success of eMusic.com, to which he sited numerous examples of how awareness of eMusic.com was created seemingly out of thin air. For startups, public relations is arguably the most effective tactic in getting the word out about your product, service and company. But many startups are reluctant to use PR because they don’t feel like they have a story to tell. There are always stories, multiple stories, to tell. What about your founders? What have they done? Are they involved in interesting (or quirky) projects outside the company? You are experts in your field, right? So talk about it, create some controversy, shake things up! How is your industry changing and what is your role in facilitating (or causing) that change? But where do I start? Startups may be uncomfortable with PR because they don’t know how much to spend, what is a good value or who is the right agency/consultant for the job. Guy Kawasaki has written a nice piece on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) PR, where he advocates not hiring an agency at all. Although I am strong advocate for PR I also understand that it can be extremely challenging for PR firms to understand fully what a technology company is all about. If they can’t tell your story then they can’t be effective.
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