We’ve all heard the phrase “any press is good press,” but is this really true? We think not. Case in point, the story of “Sarah Hanson,” or shall we say Steinar Skipsnes. We first stumbled upon this tale late last week and couldn’t wait to cover this topic. At the time, GeekWire reported that 19 year old college student, “Sarah Hanson,” was auctioning off 10 percent of her future income accumulated over 10 years on 32auctions.com to fund her startup, Senior Living Map, with the winning bid totaling $125,000.
Initially, we thought this was a novel and noteworthy alternative to crowdsourcing, but new developments have caused us to change courses.
Since the story was originally released, Seattle resident Steinar Skipsnes has revealed that “Sarah Hanson” was merely a figment of his imagination, a hoax that he created to build buzz for his startup. Skipsnes claims that he did in fact create a search engine called Senior Living Map and fabricated a new identity to get people talking about it. If that was truly his end goal, then he certainly succeeded, but if he wanted to raise funding for his business, he may have shot himself in the foot.
This brings us to an important lesson. When you are trying to get your business in the news via a press release or a notable action that will draw media attention, you must clearly define your goals that you want to achieve for your press coverage. As with any marketing tactic you adopt for your business, you must have a target to aim at in order to accurately measure success, or else you’re merely grabbing at straws.
Before you start drafting up a press release or launch a highly publicized media stunt, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I just trying to get people talking about my business or do I want to make sure that buzz turns into business?
- If this action is not well received, will it have an adverse effect on reaching my end goal?
- How will my key stakeholders react to this action?
If you are simply trying to get your name to pass the lips of the masses, then the saying, “any press is good press,” certainly holds true, but if you’re more specific in defining goals for media coverage you should aim for a targeted approach.