How to Ensure Your Marketing Campaign Is a Train Wreck

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Want journalists to thoroughly ignore your marketing campaign? Just ignore their needs. By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

You've got a great product. Now all you need is for people to actually know it exists. Sounds like a job for the press. But how can you get journalists and commentators to take notice?

VC Mark Suster recently offered some guidance.

If you want your efforts to fail miserable, go narcissistic, he wrote in a blog post reprinted on TechCrunch. Think entirely about what you want to get out of your marketing campaign and fail utterly to see the situation from the perspective of the news and audience-hungry blogger or reporter.

If instead you want to avoid a campaign that falls flat, Suster urges startups, you need to realize that journalists ask these questions about a possible story:

  • Is this story “newsworthy” or am I being asked to publish a press release?
  • Do I have an “angle” from which to write the story (first company to do X, company does biggest X, consumer behavior is doing X)?
  • If I’m covering a company can I get evidence of what the competition is doing so the story is balanced?
  • Do I have data or facts to present so the story has legs?
  • Can I get sources to talk on-the-record or off-the-record to lend credibility to the topic?
  • Will I have information that other journalists don’t have (otherwise known as a “scoop”)?

'Hey, we exist!' stories don't tick these boxes. What does? "Information with data and a point-of-view," writes Suster, so "that becomes the story rather than you."

How do you do this well? The long post gives several examples of buzzed about marketing campaigns that decidedly do not suck, including a couple for Luma Partners and Flurry. Check it out for details and inspiration.

Women 2.0 readers:  What startup marketing campaigns have most impressed you?

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.