I posted over on Diversity about corporate embargoes on press releases and my view that companies should build relationships with bloggers with a view to having a mutually trusting and beneficial relationship. A reader commented with the request that;
It would actually be really cool for us to see a post targeted at startups on how to engage with you guys as bloggers, what motivates, what drives your business model and what you need from the relationship.
So here goes: my personal thoughts on fostering relationships with startups.
We all have something we need
Bloggers do it for a reason, whether it's brand equity, money, creative outlet reasons or whatever – you need to find what makes them tick and tailoring the relationship accordingly. This doesn't mean that bloggers are high-class hookers, rather that we're always going to appreciate a start-up that understands us and out motivations.
You don't need to spend money on PR
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate pretty girls as much as anyone, but spending tens of thousands of dollars on PR chicks for a cash strapped startup just doesn't make sense. Web 2.0 is all about breaking silos and enabling. As such any startup anywhere should feel completely free to contact me (I'm not at all hard to find) – obviously I don't promise you a good review, but that's not the point. The point is that I'm easy to find and hiring a PR person to try and facilitate that process is a waste of money and time.
But invest some time
Rather than blowing money on PR chicks, blow a few minutes on intelligence. There's nothing worse as a blogger than getting an approach by a startup only to find out that their product is totally outside the scope of interest – it's a waste of their time and yours. So make sure you're talking about the right product to the right people – it's more effective and more efficient.
So what about me
As a blogger I have two main areas of interest;
- From a New Zealand focus; startups, broadband issues, and SME issues (covered at Diversity)
- With a global focus: SaaS, Cloud computing, go to market strategies for startups (covered onCloudAve)
I don't make money from my blogging – rather I do it because I'm truly interested in the stuff I talk about. Having said that I do consult and advise businesses so I'd be lying if I denied the fact that there is potentially a downstream gain for me with the increased brand equity that blogging gives me. That's not to say that I'll sell my journalistic soul to the highest bidder – I'd like to think my consulting work and my blogging don't infringe on each other.
Summary – big fish in small ponds
Let's face it – tech is a smallish pond, bloggers a reasonably limited few. We'd be foolish to think ourselves more important than we really are. Any blogger who is unreachable without PT intervention is, in my opinion, not worth the time and effort – my phone number and email address are readily findable – I'm happy to chew the fat with others and I'm always keen to hear from people – so there ya go!