After weeks of brainstorming, trials and errors, and late nights, this tweet made it all worth it:
Without the knowledge of Fred Wilson, the VoiceBunny team (with the help of many others) created an automatic podcast for his blog, AVC.com, using our API. We had no idea how he would react. It was weeks of effort, time, and money spent to build AVC.fm with the hope that Mr. Wilson would love us (or at least not send us a cease and desist!) And then, there was the tweet.
Fred Wilson tweeted our work and our name to his 207,000+ fans. That day, VoiceBunny.com got a huge amount of hits, with most coming out of Silicon Valley. We, of course, reached out to Mr. Wilson right away and a few emails later, you can now hear AVC.fm right on Mr. Wilson’s blog at AVC.com.
Before you get into the “how” of a PR stunt, you must first figure out the “why”. You don’t want attention just for the sake of attention. You have got to capture the attention of the right people. And for VoiceBunny, not only was Fred Wilson the right audience, but his audience was too.
The VoiceBunny team is a big fan of venture capitalist Fred Wilson's work and especially his blog, AVC.com, but we didn’t always have time to read it everyday. So, we thought it would be great if AVC.com had a podcast so we could listen on our commutes or while we were working. So we thought, let’s make one for him! What better way to show off our technology and get the attention of the VC community? Mr. Wilson is a big supporter of the “freedom to innovate” and that’s why we felt creating AVC.fm was the perfect project for VoiceBunny.So, since Mr. Wilson publishes under a Creative Commons license, we did not have to worry about getting his permission first. It took weeks of coordination from our entire team and from friends. The amazing creative team, La Cocoleria, designed and built AVC.fm in about 2 weeks. The entire VoiceBunny team contributed ideas and support (special thanks to Carlos Rodriguez, who was the main developer on the project from the VB team).
The VoiceBunny API automatically pulls the text from AVC.com after Mr. Wilson posts. It then uses this text to create a project on VoiceBunny.com. One of our professional voice talents accepts the project and uploads a finished read. It then goes to Mr. VoiceBunny’s Entourage (customer service team) for a quick quality assurance check. They make sure the read is high quality, accurate, and a good fit for the post. Once they approve, it is automatically uploaded to SoundCloud and AVC.fm.
We wanted to make it very obvious we did this as a tribute, not to capitalize on his name or work. Yes, we did it to show off our technology, but, we created something of value to him and to the community. We also made it very easy for him to add to his blog if he chose to do so. We included a link asking, “Are You Fred?” that included instructions on how to embed the widget onto his blog.
In any case, I like they way they used a stunt to get my attention. So much more effective than sending me an email saying “I’d like to come talk to you about a new project we are working on”. So I’m going to start auto-embedding the avc.fm voice overs at the end of the posts on AVC (via the SoundCloud embed of course).
What are some of your favorite successful PR stunts?