Our new startup is looking for advice on how to get publicity and get people to vote for us. We need to place in the top 15 in the world by Friday, Dec. 6, to be considered by the judging panel. We don't want to cheat (no buying votes or robots), so how do we spread the word and actually get people to vote. See what we're doing already at griflens.co/vote. All suggestions appreciated!
My suggestion would be to only spend time and energy on PR activity that serves a greater purpose than winning the contest. While this is a great excuse/reminder that PR is important, think beyond the startup battle. Look at this as an opportunity to tell your story.
Here are some thoughts that will help in positioning yourself as a thought-leader:
- If you're the only entry from Canada, use this as an opportunity to build relationships with come Canadian tech journalists. Reach out and ask permission to tell them more about your mission. Use the Startup Battle as a hook because it's current and newsworthy. But remember - you really don't want to see "Help griflens win Startup Battlefield" as the headline. You'd rather see them tell the story of your value proposition.
- Are there interesting / relevant startup-focused local media outlets - i.e.: BetaKit, Canada.com, TechVibes, etc that would cover your win and appeal to their readers for help? (Those three are TO-based.)
- Brainstorm 5-10 interesting blog topics you could write on and subsequently submit as guest posts to relevant lifestyle blogs with solid readerships. Pitch the blog owners the topic first and ask if they'd be open to you submitting a guest post discussing the topic. Be sure you're proposing how you can add value to that community. Again, don't lead with 'we're a finalist in the Global Startup Battle' - instead, add voting for you as a classy call to action, once you've given the readers something of value. (Rule of thumb: Give first, Ask second.)
- Network with as many influencers as possible on multiple social media channels like Twitter and via email. Introduce yourself, share your news - without asking for their help, they may just be intrigued to learn more about you and subsequently vote.
Just a few ideas off of the top of my head.
PS: Oh, and good luck! :o)
Congrats on your win in Toronto. The sad reality is that if you don't cheat, you won't win. But here's the silver lining. Winning the Global Startup Battle really doesn't matter. If you and your team believe that what has emerged from the Startup Weekend is something worth pursuing, you've already won. I don't mean this to be trite.
If you want to solicit votes, I'd suggest you to outreach to influential "mommy bloggers" and other people who have online influence who review children's educational toys.
But I really wouldn't "waste" the PR on getting votes. I'd suggest you look at moving this forward with a Kickstarter campaign. The idea is appealing and I would suggest that you have as good or better chances at successfully raising a Kickstarter campaign as you do placing high in the Global Startup Battle.
This looks like something I'd love to buy for my daughter when she's older so I'll be keen to see what comes of this.
Congratulations on your win! I from Team MooBook, winners of the Startup Weekend New Brunswick.
Our team looked at this same challenge.
Unfortunately the Global Startup Battle has not matched the Weekend experience for quality and organization. As you know there have been a number of issues including a horrible voting interface (which changed mid week so oit is now only 'quite bad') and an unannounced rule change. In spite of all the material and rules stating every voter can vote once per 24 hour period they have altered the rules and the interface so that each person may now only vote once.
All of this combined for a bad user experience which we felt reflected on us. We have actually stopped asking our supporters to go vote. We didn't like being associated with the negative experience.
We are now concentrating all of our marketing, PR and VC efforts on the long term future of the product.