I had the chance to attend the February monthly meeting of TexChange recently, enjoy a lovely meal and soak in information on the relevant topic for us: Bootstrapped PR.
The 87 attendees represented the most optimistic group of people I have ever spent three hours with. Most of the members of this group were the CEO’s of technology start-ups in the DFW area. There were a few VC’s, bankers and lawyers who were sniffing around for opportunities, but most of these folks had their own dream/business and they have experienced the entire gamut of success, failure and (worst of all) ambivalence.
I worked the room and met some of the people behind the dreams. For example, there was a former Braniff pilot who has developed a sure-fire patent for a new mass transit train. I sat by a software entrepreneur who has incorporated gamification theory in an effort to get users of his software to participate in greater numbers. I shook and howdied with the new president of the Social Media Club of Dallas, the president of a company that sells custom coupons, a couple of healthcare IT types and spent a few minutes with the bartender – Felix – who has a can’t-miss concept for storing carbonated beverages (still on the drawing boards).
Somewhere among this group of savants and/or crazy people, there are likely several next big things that, if they hired us to help them, would change the world. The trick is to talk to enough of them and filter the crazy from the brilliant. So many ideas and so little time!
The presentation was all about using guerilla PR tactics – aka Bootstapped PR – to earn media coverage without spending money. Presenting were:
Most of the topics that were discussed were not those that would demand that you slap your forehead and scream Eureka! However, there were good insights offered on how startups can use the power of their content to build interest among media. I could tell that I was not alone when I wrote in my little notebook to “steal this idea” several times.
There were good tips like:
(1) Don’t waste your time re-tweeting tech news to your followers verbatim from its source. Come up with something interesting, funny or unique or don’t tweet it. It’s likely, everyone who’s getting your tweets has seen the same article that you are re-tweeting.
(2) Fresh content (in the form of blogs, social network posts) gets media attention and leads to better SEO than the same old crap on a site. Ergo, hence and therefore, companies need to have a constant stream of new content on their website and social networks. Video is coming to Pocketstop site soon and several on the panel noted that video has big impact on SEO.
(3) Free analytics services such as Google Analytics can tell a company what type of content on a site is being loved by the readers of the site. Whereas, most people look at the analytics and say something like, “Oh cool. Somebody from Australia looked at our site.” A better approach is to determine what page, what blog post (i.e. the type of subject matter covered by the post) or what feature on the site draws the most traffic and figure out why. Then, put more content like that. Again, no forehead slapper, but valid.
(4) Most of a small company’s staff and freelancers have more followers than the CEO and executives of the company. Therefore, it is very important to (try) to get everyone who gets a paycheck from the company to get on board with the spreading of the word about the company. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be a company PR automaton, blindly posting every silly post on every social network from colleagues. It does, however, mean that when there is a new and interesting blog post on the company website an employee’s vast number of followers and fans might be very interested in what they’re doing from 8 to 5.
It was a great night for big ideas. May they all turn into giant companies with astounding ROI! And hopefully Felix’s concept for carbonated beverages will take off like a rocket. I MIGHT have invested a few dollars with him for stock options to be determined later.
- Art Young, Client Development
Photo credit: Flickr user Mykl Roventine