Every other day, I get LinkedIn messages, Facebook requests, emails, and Twitter mentions from sincere entrepreneurs or PR professionals about featuring their startup on Techmeme. I cannot possibly continue to respond to each one individually, hence this post for reference.
Before you start reaching out to premier tech sites about coverage for your startup, clarify your immediate goals for the PR exercise:
- Are you at the stage where your internal team is finished with its dogfooding and now are looking for more users to alpha-test your service?
- Are you done with alpha-testing and looking to expand your userbase for a wider beta-test to test capacity planning and gather more real-world feedback?
- Do you have a 100k+ userbase and are looking for VC funding?
Different requirements need different PR strategies.
A website, a blog, a Facebook Page and a Twitter account can be your first PR step to expand from internal dogfooding to limited alpha-testing. Some startups expand even more to a wider beta test using just social media.
Spread word of mouth through social media, and you will find there are many tech enthusiasts, early adopters, and influencers out there willing to try out anything new. Early adopters and influencers often give you early feedback that is critical to aligning your product to actual user needs, and this is best done before you think of PR.
At the same time, your social media presence should adequately and appropriately respond to all user feedback. Whether it is the Twitter mentions, Facebook comments or comments on your blog posts, each and every one is a potential influencer and you should be there to listen and respond.
Technology Blogs Focused On India
For reaching a wider userbase for expanded beta-testing, you can reach out to quite a few tech blogs that cover Indian startups. It is better to do this on your own, without any need for a PR agency. Here are some blogs that are interested in covering Indian startups:
- NextBigWhat – focused on Indian startups, ecosystem, etc.
- YourStory.in – dedicated to Indian startups
- MediaNama – features many Indian tech startups
- Tech In Asia – covers Asian startups, with a dedicated section to India
- The Next Web – also has a dedicated India section
- StartupCentral – focused on Indian startups
Once you get such coverage, you will probably need a dedicated person to handle your social media presence, which remains a priority.
Premier Tech Blogs
When you are ready to expand full-steam and are looking for the best online coverage out there, you need to be featured on TechCrunch, Mashable, etc. For some tips on this, read this Quora thread.
- Develop relationships with bloggers & journalists who cover your space. Read Chris Dixon’s tips for interacting with press. You should be following journalists, bloggers, investors, VCs, editors on Twitter and participate in the conversation.
- Plan PR for major events in your lifecycle – Beta Testing, Series A, and so on.
- Do you need / should you hire an external PR firm? Here are some good benchmarks from Mahesh Murthy to consider when making that vital decision.
- Mark Suster’s PR Tips for Startups is a great resource.
- How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup: A Complete Guide is an excellent guide.
- NASSCOM for Startups is a well-rounded support system for all startups; has its own guide to PR & Marketing
- The RodinHoods is a India-based community of startup entrepreneurs, check this deck on PR 101 from Alok.
- You should be reading Techmeme every day.
- You should be reading Hacker News. Duh.
- Startup Saturday can be a good forum for exchanging PR strategies/ideas/feedback
- Apply for TechSparks – a large startup-discovery platform across India
- Demo your startup at UnPlugged
- MoneyControl SME Mentor – decent overall resource for entrepreneurs
I hope this post helps Indian entrepreneurs in their marketing efforts. There is no short-cut to PR, it is a time-intensive effort that takes a lot of planning and effort.
If you are in a profession where you facilitate PR for startups and would like to be mentioned/listed here, please leave a comment and I will do the needful after review.
Oh and by the way, Techmeme is not a content-producer, but an aggregator. Techmeme doesn’t cover all the startups that are covered by the premier tech blogs, either.