Editor’s Note: This is a guest post on public relations for your startup (1st of 3 posts) submitted by Colombian based Fursos (launching Feb 2012).
The truth hurts. That platform you’ve been working on, the company you’ve built, the hours of sweat you’ve put into it.
You ping hundreds of reporters and never get a response. You blast out a press release about your launch and get no coverage.
The media wants stories.
Stories about trends. Stories about problems. Stories that intrigue and make people read more.
Your company’s launch isn’t that story.
So what can you do?
Nobody Cares About My Company.
Nobody Cares About My Company.
Now, how do you make them care?
But you can position your company as part of a larger story, a larger trend. A story that people actually care about.
Feefighters is a company that lets people compare their credit card processing fees. Credit Card processing fees fall somewhere in between watching cement dry and eating stale Doritos. So how has a company that’s so boring managed to get in the New York Times, BusinessWeek and Inc. Magazine?
They position. In one story they got into a tussle with the BBB regarding their accreditation process.
Headlines that ‘sell’…
The BBB is a F#@$ing Scam… and…
Feefighters Loses BBB Accreditation Over Investigative Blog Post
They tied in what FeeFighters does to the fact that the BBB is a “pay to play mafia style operation”.
“The customer complained that there was a processor in our marketplace (lets call them Xpay) who had an F BBB rating. We vet our processors to make sure that they have stellar customer service, so we were shocked to learn this.”
The story resulted in features on several blogs and forums.
The company has also piggy backed on Square’s publicity. They created a Square Calculator and whenever there’s a story on that startup you’ll see a quick comment by Feefighters about their calculator. Giving them high quality link juice.
In the customization or “co-creation” space, companies in different verticals, which range from custom chocolate to custom shirts, partnered together to highlight their industry. They all allow consumers to custom make a product.
Below is Chocomize’s pitch
“My name is Eric Heinbockel. I am one of the founders of Chocomize.com, one of the first producers of customized chocolate bars in North America. I have read your book Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy as well as many of your articles for Fast Company.
It seems to me that most of the literature on mass customization that I have come across (including Joe Pine) covers large manufacturing like configurable cars, computer systems, etc. In the United States, customers have come to expect mass customization in cars and computers, but, there is a disconnect when they are not familiar with the ability to customize their own smaller, daily use or consumer products.
As a result, we have teamed up with a number of non-competing co-creation companies like shirtsmyway.com (custom dress shirts), slantshackjerky.com (custom jerky), meandgoji.com (custom organic cereal), gemvara.com (custom jewelry), etc., in order to try and create awareness for mass customization on an everyday basis. I thought perhaps this subject, the growth of mass customization in everyday products and the disconnect in consumer understanding and awareness might be an interesting topic for your Fast Company blog.”
Each individual company wouldn’t have been able to do get the press on their own. Instead, by way of highlighting their broader trend, they’ve been featured in the New York Times and other outlets.
Your company isn’t the story
It’s not important. If you remove that mental roadblock, you’ll see thousands of opportunities for publicity. Tie your company to a hotter startup, create controversy and call other people out, highlight trends and inform users and on the side include a short note about what you do and how you can help out. That’s the secret sauce.
Provide valuable stories and insights. Then include a little note about your startup.
Carlos Solorio is the founder of Fursos which helps connect Spanish Media with entrepreneurs, experts and firms. He blogs at latamventure.com.