The fragmentation of attention and the growth of niche media is often talked about as a problem. For big companies and big media, this is generally true. However, for start-ups and early stage companies, this fragmentation can be a blessing. Let me share two of my start-up experiences in this regard.
When we started Hotwire in the Fall of 1999, our PR strategy was laser-focused on
getting Hotwire covered by the big, brand name media outlets, such as
the New York Times, USA Today and CNN. It was taken as a given that a
blessing by one or more of these media titans could make a new
venture. We were fortunate to get mentioned quite a bit in the early
days and it really did help. Today, audience fragmentation makes it more work for Hotwire to spend it’s now $50 million PR and marketing budget cost effectively because Hotwire’s message needs to be spread across many more media outlets.
For our little start-up TripIt, in addition to trying to get the attention of the big media outlets, there are today a host of influential places our story can appear. These outlets can be incredibly effective, particularly when they have a strong trust relationship with their audience. This was brought home yesterday for us by our new favorite person, Kim Komando.
When Kim’s organization sent us a note on Thursday that we were going to be featured as their “Cool Site of the Day“, we were looking forward to a modest increase in traffic. I can honestly say, we have been totally floored by the response.
Thanks to Kim’s radio show, email newsletter and website, yesterday was one of the biggest traffic days ever at TripIt. Kim’s endorsement drove more traffic for us than any media placement to date. In fact, it drove more traffic than our very nice mentions by the New York Times and the USA Today combined. I’m not suggesting that start-ups ignore the big guns because there are huge intangible benefits to mentions by these established players, but make sure not to ignore the lesser known voices of authority.
At TripIt, we welcome all of
Kim’s audience and appreciate that you are giving our service a try. We’re dedicating Friday November 30th as Kim Komando Day. Thanks Kim 🙂
While I sometimes wish we had Hotwire’s high-class problem of how to spend $50 million, TripIt and other start-ups can do just fine with a tiny fraction of this.