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Fire your PR firm

I have nothing against PR firms.  I have worked with some fantastic firms in the past.  At Expedia, I had a great experience with Edelman.  When you have the budget and the time, PR firms can be a solid tactic.  However, in startup mode, I have felt that the best salesperson is always the CEO.  A lot of CEO friends of mine believe that hiring a top-notch PR firm is an essential part of their marketing mix in the early stage of their business.  I do not.  Startups change their operating direction frequently and move extremely fast.  It is too difficult for a PR firm to keep up with you. 

Startups will get better results when a CEO takes the time to target a writer directly.  There is so much noise that an authentic conversation from an executive does punch thru the sea of press releases being stuffed into inboxes by agencies.  It reminds me when I decided to contact New York Times writer, Bob Tedeschi, directly versus spending several hours explaining how we were going to approach him.  Bob emailed me back within 5 minutes and we got a stellar story out of itMpire hosted a little event recently where the Seattle Times’ technology reporter, Brier Dudley, echoed this sentiment of CEO’s being the best PR people.


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