Oscar Wilde wrote in The Picture of Dorian Grey : “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”.
Although difficult to master, the art of Public Relations is crucial for any growing startup, we therefore invited a panel of experts to go in depth about this topic that is so relevant as our companies are just entering the American market.
Standing out in New York City is a tough job, the competition is fierce there’s no doubt about it, that’s why we invited over Nicole Bestard and Jay Kolbe from SparkPR to handle our PR workshop on the various public relations strategies startups should utilize.
We kicked things off with a 30-minute group session on PR & Brand awareness, proceeding by organizing 1 on 1 meetings to discuss and challenge our CEO’s PR strategies, and help them define their communication roadmap for the next 6-12-18 months.
What drives coverage?
You have to catch the reporter’s attention to drive coverage: “to bring your product at the center of the conversation, talk about something they want to hear.” Throughout your conversations with media outlets, it’s important to give insights about the market and its latest trends to paint a comprehensive picture of your company. Here are a few tips to set yourself apart
-Be “somebody”: it should be easy to identify your startup: what makes you/ your company different? What makes your business similar to successful ones? Try to find your own personality and do not compare yourself with unicorns like Uber or Facebook.
-Be an advocate for disruption: talk about your audience and what you do at every social events you attend. You can also “connect with your customers via the blogs they read, how-to’s they watch and reviews they trust”.
-Be a partner for the media: share some valuable information to help out reporters like data, insights, trends, commentaries etc. “Make yourself available, be smart, talk to the press even if it is not directly related to your business or your company”.
The best practices to prepare for launch
In terms of launching a new product or feature, timing is everything: “you need at least four months to adequately prepare a successful PR launch, six months is ideal, and longer is even better” said one of our guest speaker. PR is an investment and you need to be absolutely sure you have the time, resources and assets to support your story in order to make the most of it.
Here is a PR launch checklist you can use:
-You have something to talk about (opening an office in New York is not enough)
-You have customers who will talk to the press on how great your product is
-You have data or insights the media will care about
-You have an executive fluent in English that is available to hop on the phone with media outlets at any moment
-Your website is ready to sustain multiple hits at once
-Your social media channels are set up with an existing presence
-Your sales team is ready to amplify media coverage to their prospect lists
— JayKolbe (@JayKolbe) May 5, 2016
An effective PR campaign goes hand in hand with a good demand generation strategy, that’s why we organized a tailored workshop at the beginning of the week to help our startups drive a large amount of potential prospects and work on brand awareness.
Nicolas Le Roux, member of the ubi i/o team, invited Holly Chen, Demand Generation Lead at Google, and Nicolas Draca, VP of Global Demand Marketing at Twilio, to discuss how to design the best demand generation strategy.
Demand generation can have two different goals:
–User acquisition: how to drive awareness and interest in your product
–Revenue growth: how to attract potential future customers
Define and understand your target audience
Every marketing campaign has to be targeted towards a specific audience. Defining your audience is the first thing to do before building a demand generation strategy. Our speakers advised to create “personas” corresponding to the different types of users you want to reach.
Then you should go out to various networking events and talk to multiple people so you’re better able to define each persona and craft effective campaigns tailored to them. For example, Akeneo created “Julie” a persona representing their typical targeted customer.
For Nicolas Draca, “nothing is more valuable than feedback from your targeted audience”. At Twilio, he sent several surveys to better understand current customers and ask them how they could improve their product, then it’s all about iteration & product development.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 3, 2016
How to stand out when people are overwhelmed by content?
Nowadays, everyone is creating content, from a single blogger to large corporations, content marketing is the new king. Although content creation is an important component of a demand generation strategy, it’s getting harder to stand out and catch people’s attention.
Creating an efficient demand generation strategy is of course still possible, it just takes a lot of hard work. You should always “experiment new things, try to create value for your audience” said Holly Chen. If it’s not an article, it can be a webinar or a white paper, what matters is to know what your audience wants and then deliver.
Always measure your results
Every good marketer should track the results of his campaigns and focus on his KPIs. A question you may have is: which KPIs should you focus on in terms of demand generation? Well it all depends on your business & your industry, but here are a few KPIs you can’t go wrong with: user acquisition (unique visitors for example), and user retention (returning visitors after x amount of days). You should also understand and keep track of the various channels your visitors are coming from, so you can focus on the most efficient ones.
Finally, we ended the workshop talking about talent. How to hire a good demand generation marketer? Our two guest speakers came to a consensus: he/ she should be passionate about demand generation and be a data-driven marketer.
To end the week, our entrepreneurs had the opportunity to meet with successful founders such as Guillaume Decugis, CEO at Scoop.it, and Benoit Bergeret, serial entrepreneur. Another opportunity for ubi i/o startups to gather some feedback upon their development strategies in the U.S.
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