Yesterday BIMA, the British Interactive Media Association, hosted an event dedicated at the tech startup community, which I was kindly offered a chance to speak at. Hosted at Google Campus just opposite Battenhall on Bonhill Street in Tech City, the event was a panel discussion and networking for digital industry entrepreneurs and those interested in the startup scene. There were as many ‘big company’ people as startups, which was great to see.
The panel of speakers included John Webb from Rackspace, Benjamin Southworth, deputy CEO of Tech City, Joe Stepniewski founder of Skimlinks, Damian Routley the CEO of Glow, Jean-Michel Deligny of Go4Venture, Alex Wood, the editor or Tech City News, myself, and the chair Justin Pearse of Bite.
A lot of the session focused on how to get funding, where to base your business, product strategy and building a team, as I had expected. A larger proportion of the Q&A than I imagined however focused on how to launch, PR and market a startup and its products. It was certainly a hot topic of debate.
Both the journalist on the stage Alex and Ben the deputy CEO of Tech City warned the audience to be wary of bad PR firms. Some spam and end up on journalist black lists, said Alex. Others are bloated and unable to deliver real value to startups, said Ben Southworth. My recommendation was that you need to network to find a good PR person, whether you choose an agency, freelancer or employee. Choose based on recommendation and on specialism, don’t treat PR as an outsourced commodity or it will fail. And of course, I alluded to my feelings on how broken the traditional PR agency model is.
We were all asked round up with our tips for startups wanting to get ahead; mine was about getting more out of your relationship with the media and social media:
— Hannah Blake (@hannahblake123) May 14, 2013
Photo courtesy of @thepoliticianuk.