Kristin Parran Faulder Archive
At a time in America’s history when the threat of war was pervasive and the future unclear, President John F. Kennedy stood in front of the nation and delivered his now infamous inaugural speech where he requested of citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” That request came after the newly elected president painted a picture of the grave situation facing the country, and the need to band together with allies, and against enemies.
Fast forward 52 years to a more recent example of a request to band together – albeit not nearly as grave, but a request nonetheless. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! has recently asked that all “Yahoos” return to the office, banning the flexible work-from-home environment in place at the company today. The request came in a 246-word memo emailed to employees from the HR department.
When Oprah decided to leave daytime television and start her OWN network, she was taking a big risk. Oprah fans – and there were a lot of them – had become used to watching her at a certain time each day, on a certain station, and to see certain guests and topics (who doesn’t remember her infamous interview with Tom Cruise?). Oprah became a habit. And habits – like cultural norms – can be hard to change.
Let’s look at a few examples. The television was first invented in 1926; 22 years later in 1948, there were only about 35,000 television sets in the U.S., compared to 40 million radios. Today, there are roughly 285 million. The smartphone era began in 2002, but four and a half years later in 2006, only 715,000 smart phones were sold. Earlier this year, it was reported that smartphone ownership had reached 110 million users in the U.S. While these technologies eventually became mainstream, it didn’t happen overnight.
Congratulations! You have taken the leap and started a business. Now you are ready to tell the world about your new venture, and want to start with the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and TechCrunch. While seeing your business’s name in print is exciting—and often revenue-driving—it takes work to get there, even if you are a seasoned veteran at this start-up thing (Beth’s previous post, Why Your Product Launch is Not Your Watershed Moment, is a great place to start). Not only can attention too early stoke a fire that burns out too quickly, it can also create demand a business simply cannot support. For every business, the point at which to get started with PR is different. Say, for example, you are in stealth mode but want to create anticipation for your product. Or, you are about to close on a round of financing and see industry competitors getting attention. For each scenario the PR program you deploy will be vastly different (e.g., a larger emphasis on social media engagement versus traditional media outreach). No matter what your business stage, or the goals you would like to achieve, here are three things you should consider before launching a PR campaign.