Berlin Geekettes’ Jess Erickson on Marketing and PR
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Jess Erickson just finished her chat to a packed house at Immobilienscout24 about how to use PR as a really powerful tool. Couldn’t make it? Here are her main takeaways. If you have questions for Jess, you can reach out to her on Twitter @jessjerickson.
Why PR is important
- It builds an audience
- To attract talent – it is a powerful tool when recruiting people into your company
- Crucial to attracting investors
- Thought leadership
- Every company needs one person who is dedicated to building and maintaining buzz. While some companies go the route of hiring agencies, Jess recommends that in the beginning you have someone on staff that is 100% devoted.
- Don’t create buzz too early. If your product isn’t in alpha mode, it is a waste of time.
- The Press Page: On your website you should have a press page with the following information:
- The Founders with high res pictures and a downloadable link
- A simple fact sheet about your product
- The amount of money you’ve raised
- Number of employees
- Any explainer videos
- Any press release you’ve created
- A tab that shows the press you’ve been featured in, since journalists are more likely to write more about a company that already has buzz.
It All Comes Down to a Good Story
Be prepared and make sure you know what the journalists are looking for. What is news? If you have a new feature or are adding a new service, if you are raising a round of money, or if you have thousands of online customers, this might be news. Journalists like data, so provide it when possible.
Differentiate Yourself from Competitors
Everyone has competitors. Make sure you know who these companies are and how to differentiate yourself. You’ll have to be able to explain what you are doing that makes you so much better in your industry.
The Modern Day Press Release
- Subject line is everything
- Be casual
- Quick two or three lines
- Have downloaded links NO ATTACHMENTS
- Make sure they have all your contact info
- Offer giveaways
Jess shared two online resources for tech PR. The first was HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which allows you to click on a topic (the field your company is in), subscribe to lists, and see what journalists are going to write about in the near future. For instance, Jess discovered a journalist who posted that they were looking to do a story on the Berlin startup scene. She reached out to them and got her company covered.
Muck Rack is another helpful PR tool that tracks what journalists are saying about the top news of the moment, and it pings you when they write about your industry of about a competitor.
- What happens when they don’t reply? Be patient.
- Follow up, but only once. Don’t become an annoyance. Give it at least four to five days
- Follow your own embargo
- Diversify your outlets – people get tunnel vision. If your audience doesn’t read Tech Crunch, don’t pitch solely to Tech Crunch. Your audience reads a variety of different sources
- Don’t be annoying – respect the rules
Jess admitted that she wouldn’t have everything that she has today if she didn’t network. Her networking tips include: when going to a conference you should always have a list of the top five people that you want to meet. Leverage opportunities. Tweet at the people you want to meet. Walk into the VIP speaker’s room with confidence.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Be good to the journalist (help them out when you can)
- Imagine you’re the journalist
- Don’t say you have zero competitors
- Read a shit load
- Make friends, not enemies
- Don’t get down when someone says no, just work harder at it.
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