Viral Overload: Make Sure You Can Handle The Press Buzz
Whether you send out a press release or an article about your company just suddenly goes viral, you’ve got to be prepared for the craziness that’s about to ensue. More than one startup has been blindsided by the onslaught of emails, Tweets, and traffic after the blogosphere takes off running. Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re prepared to deal with all the attention you’re going to get.
1. Make sure you have a strong narrative.
Your story is going to be spreading all over the internet as bloggers like me pick up on the fact that you’re the next hot thing on the market. Make sure you know exactly what you want them to say and stick to the program.
Super important: make sure your entire team is on message. If only the founders know exactly what’s going on, a comment that one of your interns casually sends out over Twitter could overwhelm the information that you’re trying to spread.
2. Make sure you have a strong tech team.
If the internet works the way it’s supposed to, you’re going to get a lot of hits really, really quickly. Your tech team needs to be tight, on top of it, and working as a solid unit. As your server gets blown up with record amounts of traffic, they’re going to need to be able to move at light speed to deal with all of the glitches that are going to inevitably pop up.
There’s nothing worse than a new customer encountering a website that’s running at a fraction of it’s normal speed because the server is overwhelmed. People have short attention spans and if they have to wait, they’re just going to leave to go check their Facebook. That’s one more customer you’ve just lost.
3. Forget sleeping.
Break out the coffee machines and bring your most comfy body pillow from home, because you’re not going to see your bed for awhile. You need to be available 24/7 for the next few days to field emails, calls, and monitor what’s going on with your website. Take catnaps under your desk if you need to; I’ve seen it done.
There will be problems. There will be questions. Make sure you and your team are there to deal with them in real time in order to maximize the attention you’re getting.
4. Be flexible.
I know you’ve designated roles for everyone in your company and that’s definitely a good thing, but you’ve got to be able to switch things up at a moment’s notice. You’re about to gain a lot of new customers and they’re going to be throwing issues at you from every direction. Focus on customer service, even if usually you never have to deal with anyone one on one.
A big press buzz doesn’t happen every day. Yeah, it’s bringing people to you organically but there are ways you can capitalize on your success beyond just going with the flow. Don’t think that just because you’re getting all of these customers means you can sit back and stop trying to get more.
Get ahold of all of your press contacts and make sure they’re on it. Write articles yourself, once things have quieted down a bit. Get some ads up on Facebook and Twitter and in other places people are already talking about you. Do anything you can to keep moving forward and stretch it out as long as possible.
When utilized properly, a massive press buzz can be a huge bump for your company, but if you’re not prepared it can mean a major setback or even the end of your progress. Make sure you have a plan in place because, if your product is as good as you think it is, it’s gonna happen to you.