Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #175
Are you ready to get some work done?
I’d been so busy with non-social-media work the past few weeks that my TikTok game had been suffering.
(Yes, I’m a 40-year-old man publicly lamenting my TikTok game. Don’t @ me.)
As someone who works with lots of social media content creators, and as someone who tries to practice what I preach, this week I made a concerted effort to put TikTok back on my priority list, and I committed to posting once per day. So far, the results have been great. Two viral videos (here and here), 3 million+ views, and a thousand new followers later… I’d say the efforts were worth it.
I’m bringing this up not to brag. Instead, I want to remind everyone that outcomes require effort. You can’t expect magic to happen, and getting the exciting results you dream of on the backend means doing the hard work on the frontend.
In other words, whatever work you’re currently stalled on, and whatever to-do items are never getting done because they’re at the bottom of your daily to-do list, it’s time to buckle down and start making time for them. I have no idea what those things are for each of you, but I do know this: They’re not going to get themselves done.
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Office Hours Q&A
Hey AD - Here’s my question. When you’re launching a new startup, what’s the easiest way to get press for it?
I suppose the easiest way to get press for a startup is to do something newsworthy. Just know that newsworthy things are rarely positive. In other words, as the old saying goes: “If it bleeds, it leads.”
With that in mind, I’m going to revise your question. Rather than wondering about “easiness,” the better question is probably something more along the lines of: “What’s the best way to get press for a new startup?”
Let’s start by acknowledging that the traditional reason for “getting press” – i.e. reaching lots of people – has become somewhat antiquated. Simply put, in 2023 there are better ways to reach large(r) amounts of people. For example, when the Today Show did its story on my class a few weeks back, the simple truth was that the Today Show has ~3 million viewers, while the students in my class have ~5 million followers. Last I checked, 5 million > 3 millions, meaning my small class of Duke students reaches more people than the Today Show.
I bring this up because, based on your question, it seems like you’re trying to get the attention of the press in order to promote your startup. Why? There are better, easier ways to promote a startup than chase after journalists who, by the way, probably want to be writing about other things.
The main reason to get press in 2023 isn’t so much because newspaper articles are great publicity. Instead, press is a wonderful tool for validation. Specifically, traditional media still has enormous amounts of authority. To put that back in the context of my class in relation to the Today Show, my class might be able to reach more viewers, but being on the Today Show is significantly more validating of the work I’m doing. It’s a stamp of approval.
Now… let’s get back to your question. If you want traditional “press” (e.g. a New York Times article about your startup), then you need to do newsworthy things. Presumably you want those newsworthy things to be positive (i.e. “we’re saving the lives of millions of kids” and not “we’re belching 10 billions tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every 37 minutes”), which means the “newsworthy” things you do have to be extra incredible since traditional media is much more likely to tell negative stories than positive stories.
However, if you want “publicity” – which is what I think you mean – then social media is almost surely your best bet.
If you’re building the type of company that should have its own, compelling social media accounts, then create corporate accounts and start posting. Alternatively, if you’ve got a product people should be talking about/using, you might want to consider an influencer marketing strategy. In either case, you’re going to reach lots more people via social media than traditional media, so it’s probably a better thing to focus on for an entrepreneur trying to grow a startup.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!