I wouldn't call myself a PR or marketing guru, but since starting my new life as EIR at Rose Tech Ventures, it's the skill-set our portfolio companies and friends have called me in for more than anything else.
"Nate, you're the marketing guru..." they say (am I? I ask)... "how should we handle our next product/feature/point launch?" or "Nate, you seem to know how to get press, how do we get the attention of the press?"
Until recently, I never had a standard answer for those question. However, after working through this question several times, I've already discovered a "Midas Question," which elicits the most useful set of responses:
"How," I ask, "does your new product/feature/update/company change the world?"
Change the world? Yup.
When asked such a weighty question, it's incredible how quickly all the other marketing crap people think up melts away.
The effect seems to be two-fold:
- People stop thinking/talking about incremental improvements ("This is [slightly] better than other things.")
- People are forced to identify the paradigm-shifting aspect of their business ("If we succeed ordinary people will be able to publish in a way that competes with the NY Times.")
So, next time you're stuck thinking about how you're going to get some buzz around your product, step back and ask yourself how you're going to change the world.