Earlier this week, we shared the story behind the New York Times’ Silicon Prairie story. In research for that post, I spoke with Jordan Lampe (left), director of communications at Dwolla, the Des Moines-based startup prominently featured in the story.
In addition to learning about Lampe’s role in The Times story, I took the opportunity to ask the early Dwolla hire how he’s gone about securing consistent and notable press for the payments network. Dwolla is one of the most buzzed about startups in the Silicon Prairie region and, at some points, the nation. Below are three snippets from the interview.
On telling Dwolla’s story in the context of the local and regional startup community:
“It’s part of the early mission. When I first sat down with Ben (Milne), we went over things that we really wanted the brand to be and one of them was to continue to solidify our roots as a Midwestern company, an Iowa (company). Any opportunity that we have, not just from a press standpoint but from I think an ambassador standpoint, making an introduction standpoint, we’re going to go and do it because we feel pretty strongly about the region and the brand that it has. And, you know, it does help our brand; the more awareness the region gets, the more viable our company becomes.”
One piece of advice for startups aiming to secure press:
“You’ve got to look at your startup or any business that you’re a part of as a story. And it really is up to you to figure out how to tell it best. If you can’t tell it, no one else is going to tell it for you.
“My one piece of advice, adding on that, is take some time to not only think critically about the product, the strategic roadmap, you know, partners, ambassadors, all that sort of thing, but take a moment sometimes throughout the day and chronicle it. Write it down. Think critically about where you are, (what) you’ve become. And that’s going to allow you to tell those stories in a much more meaningful way when the opportunity does come knocking on the door.
“My last point, the best PR and marketing you’re ever going to have is having a great, amazing product with an awesome solution, seriously.”
On unexpected outcomes of The Times’ article:
“We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now … we’ve seen a lot and nothing really out of the usual in the sense of, you know, I didn’t have Rock Center’s Brian Williams come knocking on my door after the article came out, obviously, but I do know for a fact that there was a lot of validation individually. People take pride in seeing their name in any publication, regardless of what it is. So any time somebody from our community support gets an email from a family member or friend saying, ‘Hey I saw Dwolla in the New York Times. Hey, keep up the good work.’ There’s a lot more to these stories and PR in general than just getting press. It has this weird way of validating a lot of things that you’re doing.”
Credits: Lampe photo from plus.google.com