Saturday, December 21, 2013

Publicity too soon is often Fatal

Interesting working with some European startup teams who believe that the first thing their new company needs is an article in Techcrunch, TNW, The Verge, or another on-line tech-blog. And they get annoyed when you explain that's a haphazard approach fraught with danger. "But you're the media guy. Get us some coverage. We need it to get the investors in".

They often get angry when I say it is too soon. And that investors are not reading PR spin in order to make an investment decision. They have their own networks to spot talent. Techblogs depend on traffic for their survival. Writers have to churn out articles for very little reward.

So bear in mind, before you think of issuing a press release, you usually only get one chance to share your story. And to be memorable you need to show that your brilliant solution/service has already got traction. Too many companies look for applause far too soon - hoping that a spin doctor will turn it into an article that gets a million views.

As others have found out the hard way, once your article has been written up, journalists are unlikely to come back for a follow-up unless there has been a major development. And once you've been in Techcrunch, rival magazines regard you as old news. Your launch party - indeed your very existence on the planet, however strong your team, is not a story!

Lessons Learned

The first thing any startup needs is a strong market-tested prototype, followed by an engaging company narrative. All that comes well after the beta-launch and customer development. In other words, sharing your story is a strategic choice. Don't take my word for it. Steve Blank has been saying this since 2008!

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