[I’m Reading] The Community Manager’s Checklist for a Smooth Product Launch

This list of community manager responsibilities for a product launch overlaps considerably with what a strong product marketing manager would do in tandem with support from comms, customer relations, and analytics – which reflects that it was written by someone working at a startup in a resource-constrained environment.

None of which detracts from the utility of the list itself, summarized below:

  • Update your art and messaging on all social media platforms
  • Publish a comprehensive blog post with all the information that your users, journalists and
  • other interested parties need
  • Respond to any and all Tweets, comments or emails in *real time*
  • Embed yourself in all areas of your company so you are functionally able to answer any and all questions
    Report back to your team


Startups 101: Thinking about your communications strategy

This may or may not be the first in a series of posts distilling various lessons I’ve learnt while working on various projects, etc

I’ve spoken to several people recently who are in the process of setting up their own companies. Some of these small businesses have already attracted quite a lot of press and attention; others are deep in stealth mode.

But almost all of the founders and co-founders have either hired or are considering retaining the services of a PR firm or professional. Whether such a move is the best use of cash for a small company may be the subject of another post, but I’d argue that no one should even think about ‘PR’ until s/he can answer the following questions:

1 – How will you define and articulate your company’s ‘voice’ across different platforms?

2 – How will you effectively use those platforms to achieve particular goals and reach a desired audience? What are your benchmarks for success?

3 – How will you ensure you are consistent in terms of the substance of the messaging (“what do you want people to think of when they think of your company?”), if not necessarily the style?

4 – What’s your voice (or indeed, your brand)? Are you snarky, wry, post-hipster? Funny, witty, sarcastic?

5 – How will you engage with your audience? Who is your audience? Why? How big is that audience? What do they care about? Why should they care about you?

6 – Who will you follow? Will you follow everyone who follows you?

7 – Will you be blogging? If so, what about? How often?

7a – Will you allow comments on your blogs? Will these be moderated? Will you be replying to comments?

8 – Will you be on Tumblr? Why?

9 – Will you be on Facebook? Why?

10 – What’s your colour scheme? What’s your aesthetic – design-y? Tech-y? Arts-y? Etsy?

11 – Will you post videos, or mostly quotes? Are animated gifs a thing for you? Can you haz cheezburger?

12 – What are the issues you care about? How will you tackle these?

13 – Who will be running the comms on each of your chosen platforms? Will you have one “official” account or will you allow members of your team to “represent” you? If you have one official account, who will have posting rights? Will you be taking a real-time or moderated/edited approach?

14 – What do you want people to talk about when they talk about you? What do you want people to think about when they think about you? What are your key messages?

15 – Do you want to highlight invididuals, causes or just “the brand”?

16 – Who gets to go on TV? Who gets to do panels? Who has the final say in whether something is “on-message” or not?

17 – How will you deal with criticism and feedback? How will you deal with a crisis or a public backlash?

These aren’t questions anyone outside your company can or should answer for you; they have to come from the founders and the founding team. And they have to be discussed, debated and then applied, consistently.

So, what’s your communications strategy?

“The truth is that startups are always in a hurry and always make mistakes. A good CEO knows that she…”

“The truth is that startups are always in a hurry and always make mistakes. A good CEO knows that she must remain nimble and prepared to deal with the fallout of those rushed decisions. And the mob has taught those nimble CEOs that a nuanced discussion is not what the mob wants to hear. They want to see that belly.”

I’m So, So Sorry. Here’s My Belly. Now Please Move On. « Uncrunched

Tumblr’s David Karp does not <3 YouTube

Tumblr founder David Karp is, according to an interview he gave to the Guardian, a lover of Twitter and “lukewarm” on Google+. Nor is he impressed with Facebook “as a product”, whatever that means.

But it is for YouTube that he saves his vitriol (emphasis mine):

“The only real tools for expression these days are YouTube, which turns my stomach,” he says. “They take your creative works – your film that you poured hours and hours of energy into – and they put ads on top of it. They make it as gross an experience to watch your film as possible. I’m sure it will contribute to Google’s bottom line; I’m not sure it will inspire any creators.”

No doubt Google would disagree, arguing that a significant chunk of the 60 hours of video uploaded to the site each minute – an increase of 30% in the last three months – contains or inspires some form of originality.

But Karp is unconvinced. YouTube, he says, “was the opportunity to tell every aspiring filmmaker that if they worked really hard and really went for quality they could create great stuff. The stuff YouTube is incentivising is: build a huge subscriber base, put out a lot of videos, do the math and get as big a cheque as possible.”

Google recently did the math and found that YouTube pulls in about 4bn views a day – and has now boosted promotion of its “Partner” programme in a bid to increase the quality of videos. “YouTube offers the opportunity but they sacrifice the tools in such a major way now,” Karp continues. “YouTube is one of the most amazing creative tools in the world and I think it’s gotten a lot worse for creators.” No doubt the point is that Tumblr can close the gap.

The word-lover in me couldn’t help noticing this, either:

Karp describes technology journalism’s obsession with funding as “turpitudal”…

Excellent, under-rated word, turpitudal. Given that it means “depraved”, though, strikes me as somewhat harsh.

Speaking of words, here’s a snapshot of the literary vibe at Tumblr’s NYC HQ, where books abound:

Picture of the Elements of F*cking Style
‘Tumblr is hiring writers and editors to cover the world of Tumblr’ – Galavant Media