David Morse: Tips To Add Graphics and Video To A Blog

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy, Thought Leadership

David Morse left a detailed comment today on my Sep-26-2014 blog post “Lessons Learned Blogging 1400 Posts in 8 Years” that I thought I would promote to a guest post that offers some practical tips about how to add graphics and video to a blog. Here is his bio on B2BSalesVP:

David Morse helps startup founders and sales teams achieve revenue nirvana. He is President of consulting firm B2BSalesVP and CEO of SaaS company Kindoo which is like a private YouTube for sales teams and sales training and development.

Call to Action Examples

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Blogging, Lead Generation

Nobody disputes how important “Call to Actions” are but sometimes I run out of ideas for good ones.  Here is my list of favorite ones.

  • Find out the latest
  • Watch this short video for more information
  • Check this out!
  • See why we are excited!
  • Learn more
  • Read how we did it!
  • Start saving
  • Compare us to your current solution

Please suggest any that you have found effective in the comments and I will continue to update the list as they come to me.

7 Years & 1226 Blog Posts: Lessons Learned So Far

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write.  Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”
Louis L’Amour

This is my 1,226th post since my “Welcome Entrepreneurs” on Oct 1, 2006. I started SKMurphy in March 2003 when I took a leave of absence from Cisco, fully committing when I incorporated in August and decided not to return to Cisco. This is not my ten year anniversary lessons learned from consulting and entrepreneurship post–and at my current rate of progress on finishing that one it may be titled “Eleven Years of Customer Development Consulting” unless I can finish sooner and come up with something more clever.

This is a “professional blog” not a lifestream or journal., although it is more personal from time to time.

“Authenticity is the new bullshit.”
Hugh MacLeod

I try to write as I speak and think, only better because I can revise. I still have over 700 drafts of partially complete posts, a testament to my commitment or quality, perfectionism, or inability to finish something beyond the initial rush of enthusiasm and distraction of newer and more alluring projects.

For the most part I write a blog in response to:

  •  a question from a client, or a prospective client
  • a question in an on-line forum (and will often post my first draft as an answer there),
  • a new insight into a past experience,
  • a remark or conversation from a Bootstrapper Breakfast,
  • another article or blog post (and will often post a comment there that serves as a first draft)
  • a talk or event I attended.

I try and write from a perspective of a skeptical entrepreneur who has an engineering or scientific background and is looking to make sense of a situation that may recur, is trying to discern trends and forces at work they need to factor in to plans for the business, or is looking for a useful reference or practical how-to for skills that they need to hone (e.g. interviewing customers, selling, negotiating,…).

“This stuff is hard. That’s why it’s interesting.”
Hugh MacLeod

When I came home after my first year of college I told my father that I wanted to become a writer. I had written stories in high school, won a partial scholarship from Washington University for an essay “The Search for Reality and Identity in the Writings of Phillip K. Dick” (which I declined because I wanted to get out of St. Louis for college), worked as a reporter for my high school and college newspapers, and had a wall littered with rejections for short stories I had submitted to magazines ranging from Boys Life to Harpers.

He told me,”It’s time you stopped having these illusions about yourself: devote yourself full time to writing this summer and see what you learn.” Mixed encouragement but for six weeks I woke up every morning, went down to the basement (much cooler in the St. Louis summer down there) and wrote using an electric typewriter. I still have some of the drafts I produced from my efforts. I got a job as a cook’s helper and another as a furniture mover and kept busy moving heavy, hot, or sharp objects without getting hurt for the rest of the summer. In hindsight I think I am better at analyzing and making sense of real events and situations than writing fiction and I didn’t have enough of a stock of experiences I could draw on to sustain my effort.

But in a very real sense I continue to work as a writer. I make my living writing for our clients, often either by giving them the first “bad version” that unlocks their ability to revise (or scrap and restart) or helping them to craft e-mails or presentations. Writing about a topic allows me to be more fluent improvising remarks in negotiations or in response to questions. I think if you approach it  with that in mind then the revising allows you to clarify your thoughts in a way that can be harder in a conversation.

“A man of genius may sometimes suffer a miserable sterility; but at other times he will feel himself the magician of thought. Luminous ideas will dart from the intellectual firmament, just as if the stars were falling around him; sometimes he must think by mental moonlight, but sometimes his ideas reflect the solar splendour.”
John Foster  Journal

It has not gotten any easier, in the sense that some posts come quickly in a rush and most take a while to percolate. Deadlines help in this regard, as do collaborators. When I write a few hundred words in fifteen or twenty minutes I feel like a genius. Often the last hour before a deadline (or the first hour after a deadline–preliminary deadlines help in this regard) releases a flow of insight. Other times I need to write using  the “morning pages” technique just to unlock a post. Drafting it as a e-mail to a particular client can help.

I jot down phrases, sentences, and passages I find well written and insightful and use them as points of departure or closing quotes for posts.

One of the significant differences between my blog posts and a conversation is that I will often sketch one or more diagrams to model a situation or elaborate on a point or concept. I have not found an easy way to do this with my blog posts…yet.

It’s helpful sometimes to give a blog post as a talk first, and then transcribe and refine. The act of speaking forces a level of coherence and organization that is sometimes difficult to achieve facing a blank screen.

I am inspired by authors like George Higgins, William Feather, Raymond Chandler, Peter Drucker, Gary Klein, James Lileks, Gerald Weinberg, Glenn Reynolds, Clayton Christensen, and Seth Godin, to name a few. I enjoy the sensation of reading an author who is  trying to make sense of a situation by looking at data and historical precedent, informed by their experience and expertise, and who maintain their intellectual integrity by acknowledging facts that contradict their suggestions or conclusions.

“We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”
Somerset Maugham


If you have a topic or question related to entrepreneurship you would like to see me address, or better to collaborate on, please contact me directly.

Update Nov-25-2013 Steve Wasiura commented “One doesn’t realize how difficult it is to write a blog post, especially a good one, until you try it, and find yourself staring into the glaring pixels of a blank white form. It can be even more depressing when you look at your visitor statistics and realize no one is reading your painfully crafted blog posts, especially in the early days. I’ll refer back to this when I need motivation to continue.”

I think the trick is to make blogging a follow on from other activities: e-mails that you are writing, forum responses, notes from a conversation. This way a post flows from time and thinking already invested in problems you know that you are wrestling with or that energize you.

A Great Comment Can Brighten Your Whole Day

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

I have been really encouraged by comments I have received on some recent blog posts:

  • Fantastic textual content and additionally a great web site.
  • Your authored material is stylish.
  • You are wonderful! Thanks!
  • WOW just what I was looking for.
  • I truly like your way of blogging.
  • Thank you for another excellent post.

It’s a shame that they ended up in my spam folder. Apparently folks who sell pharmaceuticals, toner ink, and mortgage refinancing, not to mention site owners who host a wide variety of video clips all really really appreciate this blog.

As for you,  my fifteen readers, please let me know what I can do to improve your reading experience.


Update–later that same night–A real comment from Will Sargent that did make my day:

I read your blog and appreciate how to the point you are. You have a good healthy balance between practical discussion and idealistic views. Your blog is an example to others.

Refine and Curate Your Thoughts as FAQs, Articles, and Talks

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 4 Finding your Niche, 5 Scaling Up Stage, Blogging, Consulting Business, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

Prospects gain an appreciation for your expertise and ability to understand and to solve their problems through what you write, what you say, and what your customers’ say about you. You should have a plan for developing referrals and testimonials, but I want to focus writing and public speaking as opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and give prospects a reason to believe that you can assist them. These outbound messaging strategies will complement your referral program and are essential to attracting new customers and cultivating valuable long-term business relationships.

Here are some suggestions for practices that will help you routinely refine and curate your thoughts.

Written content:

  1. Collect Good Questions & Your Good Answers: When you get a good question from a prospect or a customer take the time to write up a succinct answer in a follow up e-mail (even if you have answered it in a phone call or face to face meeting).
  2. Refine & Generalize Your Good Answers: save your e-mail in a special folder for “good answers” and set aside time every week or month to reviewing and refining it so that it becomes a more general answer that’s applicable to more than just the person you initially answered it for.
  3. Start a FAQ on your website: If you don’t have one it’s worth considering starting a “Frequently Asked Questions” list. If a particular question indicates you have a defect in our standard presentation or marketing materials it’s more appropriate to fix the source of the question instead.
  4. Reformat Your Generalized Good Answers: Convert good answers into articles or blog posts.

Talks

  1. Make the Time to Rehearse: Always leave time to rehearse in front of at least one other person before you give the live talk.
  2. Record Your Talks: Record at least the audio for your talks and listen to both your presentation and any Q&A. Listen to it again a few days later and a month or two later.
  3. Consider Writing an Article: either as a leave behind instead of your slides or as another blog post.
  4. Never Give a Talk Only Once:  Considering the cost in time to develop and rehearse a good talk, you want to find at least three opportunities to give a talk or variations on it.
  5. Videotape A Good Talk In Front Of An Audience: Once you have given a talk two or three times live either do a video recording of it or arrange to have later versions videotaped. You will look and sound much better in front of a live audience with a talk you are comfortable giving and this will come through on the video. Consider editing it into a couple of 5-10 minute chunks if you can to use as teasers,  summaries, or good stand-alone content.

Book Club: Discussion on Seth Godin’s Texting while working

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Blogging, Books, Events

FREE recorded discussion on Seth’s blog article. The panelist share how they manage their tasks and make sure they are focused the important items that differentiates their offering.
Panelist:

View recorded session

Seth Godin Blog

Texting while working

by Seth Godin

A thought provoking blog article by one of our must read bloggers, Seth Godin. We will discuss topic Seth raises like being “in flow” and raising the stakes.

READ NOW

Related Resources:

  • http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6496.html
  • http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5170.html

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Leave a comment below

  • What do you think of the topic?
  • Do you have a question about this topic?
  • How did impact your business?

Additional Book Reviews


Moore's Darwin and the Demon HRB article
Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin You Need To Be A Little Crazy
The Lean Startup

A Recap of My 2010 Entrepreneurial Engineer Posts on EE Times

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, EDA

In my “Maiden Voyage” post on Jul-30-2010 for my Entrepreneurial Engineer blog on EE Times  I said that I would focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in the broader electronic systems design ecosystem. I hoped to provide insights in the following areas:

  1. Perspective on technology innovation.
  2. Analysis of business strategy for emerging markets.
  3. New models for global teams and multi-firm collaboration that are predicated on incessant collaboration among experts.
  4. Perspective on the impact of communication and pervasive connectivity in creating new business models.
  5. Insights from pioneering engineers on how new computing paradigms are enabling new models for how they invent.
  6. Interviews with entrepreneurs sharing lessons learned from their successes and their setbacks.

I am going to continue to focus on these areas for 2011 as well.

I have another ten posts in various stages of completion and plan to post one a week at least for the first quarter of 2011. If you would like to be interviewed or have some insights you would like to share about areas 3 and 4 in particular please contact me.

Most Powerful Insights are Simple

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging

“Little by little, one travels far”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Theresa Shafer, one of my partners in SKMurphy, advised me recently that “most powerful insights are simple.”  It was by way of encouragement to simplify and focus my blog posts.

She continued her critique:  “If you can’t get your point across in a hundred or two hundred words why do you think another thousand and a half dozen hyperlinks is going to make it any clearer?”

You have to take your inspiration where you can find it. I plan to keep my blog posts more succinct in 2011 than years past.

5 Reasons We Welcome Guest Authors Our Blogs

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Blogging

Writing a blog takes time and can be difficult as you get busy. We often invite guest writers to contribute content. Besides giving us a break from having to write everything ourselves, they also:

  1. Bring fresh content
  2. Bring fresh perspective
  3. Infuse their passion
  4. Build trust
  5. Bring new audiences

So thank you to our guest writers.  We love you.

Sometimes people approach us about being a guest blogger but we also actively look.  A couple of places we look for guest authors

  • Partners
  • Advisors
  • Thought leaders (anyone with something interesting to say)
  • Customers
  • Potential Partners

We welcome contributed content that’s appropriate for an audience of entrepreneurs either on the SKMurphy blog or the Bootstrapper Breakfast blog.

So…What’s Your Story?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

We’re all born late. We’re born into history that is well under way. We’re born into cultures, nations and languages that we didn’t choose.

Among all the things we don’t control, we do have some control over our stories. We do have a conscious say in selecting the narrative we will use to make sense of the world. Individual responsibility is contained in the act of selecting and constantly revising the master narrative we tell about ourselves.

David Brooks “The Rush to Therapy

I have blogged before that you need to be careful how you tell yourself  “the story so far.” I was reminded of it as I spent time today  editing some interviews for my “Entrepreneurial Engineer” column in EE Times. I think a good story has key components that can be presented in several different sequences:

  • The Past: where you have come from, what led you to start your company and what about your background prepared you to be effective at solving this particular problem for your customers.
  • The Present: what have you accomplished to date and more importantly, what have you learned from your journey so far.
  • The Near Future: what you are actively working on, what you plan to accomplish in the near term, how you will demonstrate traction if your audience asks you “how is it going” in three to six months.
  • Who You Are: why do you have an interest in the problem or field that you are focused on, what are the values and the passions that you bring to working on it.
  • The Future: what you ultimately hope to accomplish, a vision of a better world you are working to bring about.

Pay close attention the next time you tell someone you have just met the story of your entrepreneurial journey.

Fall Back 2

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

“The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer.”
Henry Clay

I took the extra hour I had today and  made a list of  a few key things I want to accomplish before the end of the year. Many of these I can use your help or feedback on, please feel free to contact me.

Warning Dates in Calendar Are Closer Than They Appear

There are slightly less than eight weeks left in 2010–given that Thanksgiving and Christmas take place in two of them it’s more like six work weeks–so it’s time for a kick finish if you need to catch up.

Read Mark Zimmerman’s Zhurnaly to Renew Your Gumption

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Quotes, skmurphy

Mark Zimmerman’s Zhurnaly (“Russian for Journal”) ) is food for the soul. The wiki format allows him to blend a journal, a runner’s diary, a commonplace book, and short essays. I enjoy his insights and his exploration Zen and ongoing self-improvement. It’s worth reading whenever you want to renew your gumption.

In “Welcome to 2009” I mentioned that I had read Zimmerman’s zhurnaly:

“I recommend it wholeheartedly for entrepreneurs even though it’s written by a physicist with a Zen frame of mind who has taken up marathon running in his 50’s. He is thoroughly committed to mindfulness and self-improvement, two goals any entrepreneur should strive for.”

Here he is on “How To Succeed

  • Help other people help you. Don’t struggle alone; we’re all in this together. Did somebody assign you an impossible mission? Maybe they meant to request something different. The situation may have changed since you began. You may have taken a wrong turn. Ask early and often for clarification, suggestions, feedback, …
  • Fail for a good reason. It’s OK to crash and burn if you took a well-calculated risk and it didn’t work out. It’s fine to let a higher priority (e.g., family, health, spiritual obligation, etc.) preempt a task. But there’s no honor in “I forgot” or “The time just slipped away from me” or …

And “On Failure

“Fail. Fail again. Fail better.”

This advice was reportedly posted on Samuel Beckett’s wall beside his desk. Any worthwhile pursuit — gardening, cooking, drawing, writing, thinking, teaching, learning, … — is never done to perfection. There is always room for improvement, a shortfall to correct, an error to identify and fix.

That’s precisely what makes something worthwhile: inevitable failure, plus the golden chance to try again, and to do better next time. Living is like that.

And finally two excerpts from “Arnold Bennett on Life” that has a number of thought provoking passages from the 1923 Arnold Bennett book “How to Make the Best of Life” (Gutenberg has many of his works but not this one.)

  • “I am far off old age, but old age is approaching daily. The terrors of old age are solitude, neglect, boredom, lack of suitable activity, utter dependence on others, and the consciousness of wasted opportunities, of having achieved less than one might have achieved. What am I doing now to destroy those terrors, or even to minimise them? Am I sufficiently providing for the final years? Am I keeping my old friendships in repair and constructing new ones? Am I, in the intervals of satisfying my greatest interest, creating minor interests which will serve me later? Am I digging my groove so deep that I shall never be able to climb out of it? Am I slacking?”
  • “No corner of the field is too small to occupy. No effort is too humble to produce an effect worth producing. No effort is wasted. And there will never be any millennium, you know! The millennium is a chimera. A millennium involves perfection. A hundred centuries hence the citizens of those days-to-come, regarding us of the twentieth century somewhat as we regard the inhabitants of the stone age, will still be yearning towards the millennium and still be shocked by the scandalous imperfections of their humanity and the inefficiency of their communities. There can be no finality except death. The dream of a millennium is a device of nature’s, and a very effective and agreeable device, for encouraging us to be persistent.”

See also these posts for other quotes from Mark Zimmerman’s Zhurnaly

For more on gumption (and sisu)  see

Entrepreneurs Still Welcome: 700 Blog Posts In Four Years

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Blogging, Rules of Thumb

This is my 700th blog post since my first post “Welcome Entrepreneurs!” on October 1, 2006 which opened with:

This blog is dedicated to entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey.  As individuals, in teams, and collectively, we all hope to create a better world for our customers, our employees, our stakeholders, and our children.

Our focus is helping startups find early customers for emerging technologies. This is very different from the traditional sales and marketing at established firms. Correctly identifying early customers who can be references to others is key to introducing emerging technologies.

Although emerging technologies change the rules and often enable far reaching growth most early adopters are focused on near term risks and benefits, and it is to those concerns entrepreneurial teams need to speak to get a foothold. The decision to act as a “beta” software site or early user of new software tools often resembles a hiring decision (does the prospective customer want to “hire the team”) more closely than a technology adoption decision.

Emerging technology marketing is a distinct domain from classical product marketing, most of the traditional market assessment techniques are not effective: focus groups, surveys, etc… Emerging markets require a strong commitment by the founding team to

  • appreciating the prospective customer and customer’s view,
  • rapidly evolving the product specification in response to feedback and customer experience,
  • ongoing refinement and delivery of customer focused solutions.

Not everything I have written since has held up as well as these paragraphs. I believe that they still offer a good high level overview of the new product introduction problem as it applies to new technologies.

DAC 2010 Blog Coverage Roundup

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, EDA

Here is my roundup of blog posts about the 2010 Design Automation Conference. You can also follow the #47DAC hashtag on twitter for breaking announcements during the conference. Last year’s roundup is available a DAC 2009 Blog Coverage Roundup.


Original intro: If you write a blog post that reviews an event, a day, or DAC 2010 as a whole with some substantive commentary before the end of July I will include a link to it. Please leave a comment to let me know if I have overlooked or incorrectly categorized anything.

Preparing For 2010 Design Automation Conference

Sunday Events

Note: I am worried that the default DAC website links will break in less than a year, they are tied to the top level DAC site not a DAC 2010 encoding. If anyone knows the permalinks for the DAC sessions please let me know. If you look at the DAC 2009 Blog Roundup the 2009 DAC sessions had a year encoded in the URL and they all still work.

Update: https://dac.com/content/47th-dac is now the home for the content

Monday Events

Tuesday Events

Wednesday Events

Thursday Events

Recaps

Current count: 81 posts.

How Can I Improve This Blog?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging

Please use my contact form to let me know  “What Should I Do To Improve the SKMurphy Blog?” and enter enter your name and E-mail if you are open to answering my questions about your suggestion.

Update June 28: Dave Concannon really made my day with this tweet

Sean Murphy’s blog is fantastic, check it out if you haven’t already.

But I am still interested in how I can improve this blog for you.

Do You Use a Wiki to Deliver Services or Develop Content?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

I would be interested in talking with other consulting or professional service firms that are using Central Desktop or other wiki systems to collaborate with clients or deliver services. For example, when we give workshops we also put the text of the relevant workbook into a custom workspace for each attendee. Also, as a part of our ongoing support for their customer development efforts we give each client their own workspace to keep our e-mail inboxes from becoming a default document repository.

I am also interested in talking to anyone who is using Central Desktop or other wiki system to develop / refine content for a book or larger document. I am working on converting a series of blog posts into a book and using a Central Desktop workspace as a refinery to review existing content and add new and linking material.

I would be happy to set up a conference call to compare notes on lessons learned and best practices. This is not a prelude to a solicitation for services or competitive intelligence gathering, it’s a an honest attempt to compare notes with other firms or authors wrestling with the same issues that we are. You can reach me at 408-252-9676 or skmurphy@skmurphy.com if a few folks are interested I will set up a teleconference, happy to compare notes just pairwise as well.

Use Wikis for Team Projects

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

  1. Wikis dissolve voice and authorship. Use them where there are rewards and incentives at a team level, where a team is being held accountable for a result.
  2. Blogs and forums preserve voice and authorship. Use them where knowing who said what is important.
  3. Start with frequently updated information that is also frequently accessed:
    • Meeting agendas and minutes (avoiding the bottleneck of the designated note taker and/or overlapping amendments in different e-mails that then have to be reconciled),
    • Early and still evolving specifications
    • Project status in a dynamic environment
  4. Projects end, products are shipped and end of life, problems get solved. At some point in the business world many wikis must be congealed into a document or document set and either archived, frozen as a static HTML tree, or transferred to a content management system where more formal revision and change control methods are more appropriate. Unlike Internet wikis, older project or product wikis are often better preserved as read only archives.
  5. Wikipedia anchors a lot of expectations in a use case that is rarely appropriate to a team that is not building an encyclopedia. Hope that useful content will be curated in a general purpose wiki is unlikely to be satisfied.
    • Use many small team level wikis, each for a distinct project or purpose, where the team membership is clear and there are shared incentives for cooperation and success.

Sean Murphy – I Don’t Read Him Regularly, But I Hear That I Should

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Customer Development, skmurphy

In a long and somewhat rambling blog post “Customer Development and the Lean Startup,” that contains a long laundry list of resources for entrepreneurs on Customer Development and Lean Startup resources, Yury Tsukerman lists “the key players” and drops this short comment

Sean Murphy – I don’t read him regularly, but I hear that I should.

Not since Techdirt used me in a promotional picture (see “Born with a Face Made for Podcasting“) have I felt such a sense of warm endorsement. So here is a tip for my 15 readers on how to deal with your 285 nano-centuries of fame: add a nice comment to the bottom of the blog. Which I did:

I think a post that describe how you have applied a subset of these principles and what you have learned would be very useful, it’s clear that you have your own insights on these topics.

There is a good conversation going on in the Lean Startup Circle, it would be great to see you take part.

I have a blog category devoted to Customer Development if you are interested.

If you are having trouble finding time to read my blog here are five posts that I believe represent the range of my writing. Clearly I need to take a page out of the Venture Hacks notebook and create an index for the 550 posts I have written over the last four years.

But it’s been a few weeks and I am not closer to my master index so I would appreciate your help. Let me know which of my blog posts you found especially useful (or an old one now desperately in need of a re-write/update) and any areas or topics you would like to see me address.


Notes

  1. “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people” Momus (Nick Currie) in “Pop Stars Neine Danke
  2. One handy conversion factor to remember is Tom Duff’s “Pi seconds is a nanocentury.
  3. “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutesAndy Warhol 
  4. Fewer footnotes probably not a bad idea either.

Tips For A Startup’s Early Press Releases

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

We use eReleases which distributes over PR newswire for about half the price ($400). See http://www.ereleases.com/submit.html for details, we have been working with them for more than two years and been very pleased.

Press releases are not appropriate for every startup’s marketing communication: you need to make sure that you have the right message before you broadcast it widely. One of the advantage of doing individual interviews in the customer discovery and validation phases is that you can tweak your message between each conversation.

You will need to experiment and understand what keywords in the title and the first paragraph make them more likely to get picked up by relevant publications. It’s also more compelling to include a quote from a third party (typically a customer) who can validate/substantiate one or more of the statements you are making. You can think of them as larger and more expensive Adword ads.

We have seen excellent results (increased SEO, direct sales inquires) from well written press releases. But, like an adword, the lack of a compelling title or poor first sentence can have them fall flat.

I would not send press releases to bloggers (who have not signed up for press release distribution through one of the services) but work with them on an individual basis. Identify blogs who address an audience you are trying to reach and leave substantial comments: not “look at this link” but one to three sentences of relevant content that responds meaningfully to the blog post you are commenting on. You can also approach bloggers to see if they are interested in a short interview or Q&A with one of your team.

If you are bootstrapping your startup you need to focus on where your efforts will do the most good: analyze what publications or websites are most likely to attract the audience that you want to reach and laser your efforts towards them. Relationships take time to build so plan your efforts for a set of activities you can sustain. If you are in the early customer discovery phase there are almost certainly bloggers who knowledgeable about the market you are targeting and who would be willing to give you ten to twenty minutes on the phone to give you feedback on your product idea.

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