OptIn was a startup changing the narrative for women who return to work after time off to raise children. The startup, featured in TechCrunch, connected educated, qualified women ready to reenter the workforce with companies ready to hire them.
OptIn offered rich resources to women coming back to the workforce: OptIn-based networking groups, technology support, and counseling. The platform had a unique matching algorithm that links qualified women seeking opportunities with potential employers.
The challenge for Red Cup was simple: OptIn was brand new, with a Facebook page with no followers, a Twitter feed with just a few posts, a handful of subscribers to its mailing list, and no press awareness. The OptIn team was poised to attend its first major conference, Web Summit, in Dublin.
We started with a series of mission questions to the founders designed to draw out the value of the company. Using the material created from the mission questions, we crafted a press release and assisted with the brand message as the website was polished before launch.
Working with the OptIn team, we researched the names of journalists and investors who were scheduled to attend the conference. First, we connected with all of them on social media. Then, we put them into our database and send them specialized pitches: The investors received notes introducing them to OptIn. The journalists reviewed a preliminary “heads-up” style pitch.
The strategy paid off. OptIn’s founder was able to meet with investors, and the startup was featured in TechCrunch’s “21 most interesting startups at Web Summit.” The TechCrunch post sparked interest from other journalists, which resulted in more interview requests for OptIn’s founder, Kerry Dolan.
What we used to run this campaign:
The OptIn campaign used Red Cup’s data-driven research and outreach methods. After crafting targeted pitch notes, we segmented our contact list to include only those writers who would be interested in doing a story about OptIn. We further segmented the list to include journalists who would be at the Web Summit conference and who wrote for UK and Irish outlets or who were European correspondents for US outlets. We also contacted a similarly-targeted list of investors from our investor database.
What we learned from this campaign:
Having a big list of journalists to send to is great. Ours is more than 800,000 strong. But segmenting that list into those who are interested in writing about your startup is even better. Contacting investors with a “meet and greet” style introductory email can help a startup's prospects for making connections at conferences. Our advice: Get specific. Go for the "home run" -- contacting the perfect person or group. Don't try to be everything to everyone.