Back in around 2006-2007, TechCrunch was probably at its strongest and if your company by covered by this famous website you could expect a monster rush of up to 70,000 new registrations in a short period afterwards. Additionally, you were probably inundated with requests from people attempting to sell you services not to mention the increase in the number of page views your website enjoyed.
Unfortunately, after the ‘TechCrunch bounce’ came the inevitable fall and the visitor and sales figures of companies would fall by virtually the same level as they rose during the boom. In other words, the ‘bounce’ had no real long-term positive impact. While some companies enjoyed continued success; it was generally a decline for a majority of businesses featured on TechCrunch and soon, start-up companies began to assume that TechCrunch was almost irrelevant and it was essential to focus on getting coverage wherever your users were.
Alas, this advice is also wrong; instead, you should look at the following in order to establish a successful PR plan for your start-up.
You Have More Than One Target Audience
Your advisors will likely tell you to concentrate on the favourite destination of users, your age demographics or your vertical as this is the best way to drum up interest in your user base. However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that PR is not just about your users. PR can also serve as a means of business development, fund raising and recruiting and it is even an excellent way of boosting the morale of the organisation.
For example, if you are selling a fashion product you want to be featured in blogs and trade magazines in that particular sector. A Business-to-Business (B2B) website may focus on industrial publications whereas an app targeting Middle America may be looking towards magazines such as USA Today. Yet this strategy could be all for nought since only a small percentage of your investors and even your staff will actually be reading these magazines.
Even writers in the tech niche should be looking at the other side of their customer base which involves the journals read by venture capitalists who fund people in the niche (the money men in other words). In this instance, many tech writers would concentrate solely on getting seen by their customer base which would be entrepreneurs in this case. However, that’s a mistake and even if tech press coverage is dwarfed by industry press coverage, you can’t ignore it. This will become apparent when venture capitalists know who your rivals are but have no idea who you are.
Concentrate on Tech Savvy Journalists
Another great reason to concentrate on getting coverage in tech blogs is that you’ll probably be pitching to a publication like The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, AdWeek or AdAge. It is likely a high percentage of the journalists you meet will be in their early thirties or younger with a major interest in technology which means they also frequent the most popular tech blogs.
Like any good journalist, these individuals will perform research on you prior to any interview/meeting. If they find little or no information on you it’s likely they will either have a less favourable impression of you or even decide to cancel the interview on the grounds you haven’t achieved enough to warrant the attention. While tech blogs give publicity to new companies, journalists won’t as they want big scoops and a newbie organisation doesn’t give them that.
Therefore, expect all journalists to Google you and your business if they are made aware of your existence.
Increase Your Online Presence
Crunchbase is one of the favoured sites for most journalists when they hear about any company and is sometimes known as the ‘Wikipedia of start-ups’. It is a great place to find out if an organisation has built up a large amount of capital and if they have, it is easy for journalists to find out who the venture capitalists are. A relatively small amount of research is necessary in order for a journalist to decide if a company has raised too much money already or if it is in their target market. Additionally, the journalist may know one of the investors and seek him out in order to get granted an interview/introduction.
Tech funding is big news and will certainly be reported so if you don’t take advantage of the story, there are plenty of others who will. It is also a wasted opportunity when it comes to building a search history and the legitimacy that comes with it.
While advisors are understandably telling you not to bother with tech blogs, this is not the best advice. Certainly, you shouldn’t be obsessed by them since you can become a well-known tech company without being featured in TechCrunch; but completing ignoring these blogs is foolhardy and won’t help your business thrive.
About the author
Vincent Cassar is the founder of Keeping™.
Keeping™ is a Gmail extension that adds helpdesk functionalities to any Gmail email accounts. It allows you and your team to manage customers support more efficiently directly from your current mailbox without having to use an external helpdesk. Learn more.
Vincent also publishes a blog about entrepreneurship and startup hacks that you can follow at http://blog.keeping.com/