Wednesday 26 May 2010

Dangers of PR vanity

Startups  need to understand why and when a they needs publicity. It's good to figure out what they want to achieve with PR campaign. Being TechCrunched might be good but not always optimal, nor inexpensive.

There are two reasons why a startup wants a lot of publicity.
- seed the distribution 
- make people involved happy 

In any kind of business you need clients, however there is always a questions of how you get the first ones. If you're lucky and you really nailed your service, the initial users will propagate your service further. If not, you need to find another way to distribute your product. In any case initial publicity makes a lot of sense. On the other hand perpetual investment in publicity to boost your ongoing distribution can be costly and not worth doing it on a long term.

The expensive reason for going into publicity spinroll is just to make people involved feel good. If it doesn't cost you it can make sense, but that's rarely the case.  People that you try to make happy are investors, yourself, partners, users, coworkers. Basically catering to the vanity of the humans involved. I've had a chance to see a situation where investors feed on their own glory and pushed the startup to hire a costly PR agency just to get on TechCrunch and some other blogs. Needless to say the startup could do it without excessive cost and achieve exactly the same result, only the investors would not feel as good about themselves. Distribution didn't follow, just invoices from the PR guys.

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