Fred Wilson says: save money by hiring a blog evangelist
Last week Jason Calacanis wrote a list of about 20 ways that startups can save money. It’s a good list with a lot of sensible advice.
Fred Wilson also went through the post, and added his thoughts to several of Jason’s points. I couldn’t agree more with Fred on this one:
Really think about if you need that $15,000 a month PR firm. – There are some really good PR firms out there and if you can get one of them to work with your company, then it may be worth considering it. But a mediocre PR firm is not worth it for sure. I encourage our portfolio companies to hire a person inside the company to be an “evangelist”. That job includes blogging actively, reading and commenting and linking to other blogs, reaching out to the media and industry analysts and gurus, going to conferences and events, and generally getting the word out. That person can be young and not particularly expensive, certainly nowhere near $15,000 a month. And they have two things that a PR firm cannot offer. They work for you and they represent your company exclusively.
I am consistently surprised when startups choose to forgo blogging as a PR strategy. A startup environment lends itself so well to blogging, and no other approach packs as much bang for the buck.
Fred is absolutely right that having a dedicated, energetic blogging evangelist will go a lot farther than a monthly contract with most PR firms. It will help create personal relationships between your company and your customers, give you an authoritative, authentic outlet for new information, and can create opportunities for feedback and community involvement that surveys and focus groups will never provide.