It’s an exciting time at FeeFighters as we’re getting ready to launch Samurai, our new payment gateway. We wanted to be on Mixergy to have Sean mention Samurai as well as keep FeeFighters top of mind to future potential customers.
Andrew was not keen on having Sean back on the show. In fact, it’s fair to say he was flat out not interested. However, in the interview, he praises my strategy for communicating with him and getting Sean on the show. Here’s how I took a “no” from Andrew to a “maybe,” to a “yes.”
1) Do Your Research- I Love Mixergy. As a long time subscriber, I knew Andrew’s personality and the audience he was catering to. I admired his determination to provide value to his audience, but more importantly, I could cater a pitch exactly to his liking because I did my research.
2) Figure Out Your Story- Regardless of whether you are a founder/CEO or you’re an employee trying to get your CEO an interview, it’s important to figure out exactly what story you are going to tell. Which story will provide the most value? Which will shine your company’s achievements in the best light?
3) Package Your Story Effectively- Once you have a gist of what you can offer, it’s important to communicate it in a way that resonates. With Mixergy, I knew that Andrew loved catchy titles that showed the outcome/effect/success of companies’ strategies to serve as a springboard for discussion in the interview. Therefore, I came up with a few possibilities for our story and presented them in a way where Andrew could consider their value on his site. Here are a couple of headlines I sent over:
1) How FeeFighters saved businesses $75 million in credit card processing fees2) How FeeFighters Built an Industry Disrupting Product in 3 Months
4) Don’t Give Up- Initially, Andrew was not interested in my proposed content. Here’s the response he gave:
I love the headlines, but I don’t think they’re a good fit.
Instead of just dropping in the towel, I took a step back and thought through some other content I thought Andrew’s audience might find interesting:
At this point, Andrew still didn’t think there was a good fit in content we could offer. He said it was because his audience was much more early stage and wouldn’t really identify with the topics.
5) Be Creative- After being rejected twice, one might think it was time to give up. However, I noticed that Andrew wasn’t saying “no,” he was saying “not yet.” I knew that if I was creative and listened to what he was saying, we might find something yet. I also remembered in his previous interview with Sean, Andrew kept saying how bad a name our company had. Here were some more ideas I sent, one you might recognize as the winner:
6) It’s a Conversation, Not a Battle- As Andrew mentions in his interview, he was impressed by the fact that I didn’t battle back and try to fight him on existing ideas. Rather, I listened to his objections, and found ways to show him there was plenty of useful information we could provide, even if Sean had already been on the show. Whenever there is a discussion involved, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and think about how they are approaching the conversation. Andrew is looking for interesting content for his audience…if he thinks what I am presenting is not worthwhile, it’s not worth it to try and change his mind. It’s a better idea to try to find something he thinks will work.
Bingo. Boy does that feel good.Read More
At FeeFighters, we have mixed feelings about PR firms. Though they drive opportunities for press to your site, make no mistake: they are a lot of work to manage. In fact, doing PR in house may be a better (and more cost saving) endeavor for most startups. If you do plan to engage a PR firm, keep in mind:
1) Have a Point Person for PR- One person on the team should be the go-to contact for the PR firm when an opportunity arises. This should be someone on the team who knows exactly what’s going on with the company at a given time, and has immediate access to the CEO in order to schedule last minute interviews. Often, a reporter will contact a PR firm looking for a quote from a reliable source IMMEDIATELY. So, being able to respond quickly and provide valuable information will ensure more coverage. As the point person for FeeFighters PR, I’d be in contact with our firm on a daily basis, often close to 5-10 times a day. This is typical. Choose someone who has their finger on the company’s pulse, but has bandwidth to engage with reporters in an instant.
2) Meet Frequently, Go Over Strategy-One mistake we made was to talk strategy, then not revisit overall strategy for a long time (6 months!). We assumed the PR firm were professionals who knew what they were doing. In reality, PR is a crapshoot, and the company (not the PR firm) needs to have a handle on what strategy should be. The PR firm can aid in the process and provide advice based on experience, but the company should understand what competition is doing, how they differentiate themselves, and what’s in their news pipeline that will garner attention. We made the mistake of relying too heavily on our PR firm, which was juggling many different clients and had assigned a junior account executive to our account. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
3) Don’t Stop Looking for Opportunities- Just because you’ve hired a PR firm doesn’t mean that the team should stop looking for opportunities. A PR firm will never be able to fully understand the breadth and depth of interests/vantage points your team can provide. For example, besides just talking about payments, we’ve talked about topics as disparate as how tech is the new sexy, working out at work, orhow customer service on twitter backfired . Those links are worth a great deal, so don’t expect the PR firm to be as creative as your team can be.
4) Push Them Hard- Don’t expect the status quo. If the firm promises you a certain number of links in the beginning, keep a spreadsheet showing progress and hold them accountable at the end of the month. Although they can never be sure of how much coverage they can get your company, the more attention they provide to your account, the more opportunities you will get. If you let them slack off, they will devote more attention to other, seemingly more important accounts.
Startups don’t have a lot of money to spend on PR, yet many hire PR firms with the hopes of widespread attention. Keep your expectations in line with reality, get your money’s worth, and if things don’t work out…move on.Read More
No matter how meaty, full of content, and wonderful your blog posts are, if they are a block of solid text…unless you’re a superstar, they most likely won’t get read. An easy way of promoting your site is to make a top ten list. It could be anything: resources, people to follow on twitter, mistakes, etc. For some unknown reason, people love top ten lists. Try it and see…you’re bound more Twitter love than a regular post.Read More