In the dynamic landscape of startups and independent creators, a paradigm shift is underway—one that champions authenticity, transparency, and community engagement. At the forefront of this transformation lies the ingenious PR strategy known as 'build-in-public'. In our pursuit of unraveling its potential, we turned to our PR and growth experts, seeking insights that would resonate with the entrepreneurial spirits who crave a genuine connection with their audience.
In this expert panel, we delve into how 'build-in-public' initiatives are not only redefining the way startups present themselves but also amplifying their reach and impact. As we explore the intricate interplay between this strategy and the evolving media landscape, we uncover how the art of sharing journeys, victories, and setbacks can captivate not only the community but also the watchful eyes of journalists.
Through compelling examples, our experts illuminate the path towards mastering 'build-in-public', proving that the power of openness can be a formidable asset in any entrepreneur's PR arsenal.
"The build-in-public strategy is essentially where an entrepreneur decides to log all of his progress, financially, operationally, or even personally, openly to the community. This is usually on social media sites, namely Twitter/X. Doing so establishes trust with your users and provides a direct channel of feedback to keep improving your product.
Due to the strong community aspect of build-in-public, you'll have a great place to openly share your project which naturally reflects your authenticity and transparency as a builder. One of the greatest examples of someone who built in public was Jackson Greathouse Fall, who famously asked ChatGPT to create a business with $100 and documented his journey on Twitter. This stint of complete transparency built him a massive community and even onboarded investors.
By maintaining a consistent build-in-public strategy, you'll attract the attention of many like-minded builders and potential users/customers along your journey. In doing so, the community you build can be pivotal in your PR efforts. Often, many of the successful Product Hunt launches come from heavily community-backed build-in-public projects.
It's funny because more often than not, just building in public is enough to attract the attention of PR coverage. I used to write a weekly newsletter, and one of the consistently most popular sections was the "build-in-public feature of the week", where I would handpick a project to be featured. Other journalists are also always on the hunt for new and upcoming startups and SaaS products, and build-in-public is a great community to find one."
"The modern business maxim that promotes openness and participation from the community is building in public. This tactic entails business owners being transparent about their journey, including setbacks and victories, in order to build an authentic relationship with their audience.
Consider Pieter Levels, the creator of Nomad List and Remote OK, who publicly shared every step of his entrepreneurial journey on social media and blogs, including the decisions he made. This not only assisted him in creating a strong community around his platforms but also garnered media attention. His open communication highlighted his sincerity, commitment, and creative thinking, resulting in a gripping story that journalists found compelling.
In the end, building-in-public is about showcasing the genuine, unfiltered entrepreneurial journey, inviting audiences to participate in the activity, and possibly attracting media attention. It's a tactic that is revolutionizing the way in which entrepreneurship is done, emphasizing authenticity over perfection."
"Using the 'Build-in-Public' Strategy, you can successfully turn transparency into positive public relations. This is a novel way to get people's attention. Businesses like Buffer have mastered this tactic by being transparent about their journey, including milestones and lessons learned, building anticipation and developing a devoted customer base invested in their story.
Journalists are drawn to this transparency because it gives them a compelling story to write about, enhancing the company's reputation and reach. Adopting the "Build-in-Public" strategy could be the game-changer in an era where authenticity is king, turning every milestone into a PR opportunity. Keep in mind that transparency is the new face of trust."
"Gone are the days of toxic positivity and fakeness in media. Thanks to the raw, authentic content that was popularized on platforms like TikTok, today’s entrepreneurs are keeping it real in their interviews and owned media content.
Build-in-public is the concept of transparently sharing what it took to bring a product, service, or business to market in the hopes that the information can help other likeminded individuals. Not only does this work to produce community goodwill by not “gatekeeping” information, but it can create thought leadership opportunities for people who partake.
Journalists might pay attention to this type of content because it is refreshingly different from the approach most entrepreneurs have historically taken in their media relations. A good example is TikTok’s Mikayla Nogueira, who has been very open about her entrepreneurship journey."
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"The 'build-in-public' strategy is like giving folks a behind-the-scenes tour of your business rollercoaster – the ups, the downs, and everything in between. In a world where we're all tired of sales pitches, this genuine peek into the journey feels like a breath of fresh air. It's all about keeping it real and building trust.
When you share the real stories, warts and all, people connect on a deeper level. They become not just customers, but cheerleaders. They share, they talk, and voila - your brand buzz grows without the hard sell.
And journalists? They love a good, genuine story. Think about a local diner sharing the real challenges of getting through a tough winter, and then the community rallying behind them. It's not just another business story; it's a human story. And that’s what makes headlines."
"Building in public aligns remarkably well with the new face of entrepreneurship that values authenticity and transparency. By openly sharing the journey, challenges, and progress of a venture, entrepreneurs showcase a genuine commitment to their vision and foster trust among their audience. This approach resonates with modern consumers who seek more meaningful connections with brands. "Building in public" activities, such as sharing behind-the-scenes insights, engaging in transparent discussions, and openly addressing failures, create a strong sense of community and outreach.
This authenticity not only cultivates a loyal customer base but also attracts media attention. Journalists are drawn to compelling narratives, and entrepreneurs who document their process openly are more likely to capture their interest. The genuine storytelling and relatable struggles conveyed through building in public make for captivating stories that journalists are eager to share, further enhancing the venture's public relations efforts and contributing to a positive brand image."
"Imagine two restaurants. In one, you never see the chef. You eat and leave. In another one, the chef is standing right in front of you. He chats with you. He invites you to put the finishing touches to his dishes. He even cheers with you! Now, which chef do you rave about to your friends?
This is what "build in public" is all about. It is the modern way of building businesses and products that directly reaches and involves the community. You don't only share the finished products, but you also share the work-in-progress, challenges, and questions.
Ness Labs' Anne-Laure Le Cunff has been building her membership and newsletter in public from the start and was able to reach 6-figure sales in months. With the world being more and more fabricated, this is the level of authenticity and transparency today's consumers crave."
"IMO, #buildinpublic humanizes early-stage startups and allows customers to become part of the creation process. The shared experience fosters a sense of community, amplifying word-of-mouth and bolstering PR efforts.
A striking example is @levelsio.
He has built some great products for the nomad community, and he keeps tweeting about the features/use-cases that he's planning to build. It has allowed him to build businesses that are cash-flow positive, and deliver value to customers, while benefitting from free PR, and iternative user feedback loops.
Here's a tweet, where he shared how he built all the startups in public, and that helped him grow over the years:"
"Building in Public is a BIG part of what I do to demonstrate authenticity and transparency at my company, and it really aligns with my style of leadership. Building in public is all about sharing the wins, the struggles, the learnings and the behind-the-scenes, in-depth look into running/owning a business—and particularly your business.
Today's business currency is fueled by content and a dash of transparency. Every stakeholder in your orbit can and will benefit from what you're doing, what you're learning, and where you're struggling. Your clients will benefit from your honesty as they may be dealing with similar struggles. And the big upside is that it endears you to them by showing a real and oftentimes more vulnerable side.
Your employees will benefit, too, because they'll know if what you're sharing internally is true by what you share externally. Employees want to work for companies and leaders that are open, show empathy and aren't afraid to share their experience in order to help others. They want to know the "real" you as much as possible. Building in public has tremendous upside as well when it comes to hiring and recruiting. Potential candidates will either want to work for you or they won't. And that's powerful when it comes to sifting through applications and hiring potential employees that are going to be a great fit.
One strategy I've been doing is sharing quarterly updates on LinkedIn on all the things we've accomplished as an agency in the past quarter. These have been incredibly helpful to providing a window into our company, and it also allows me to highlight and celebrate the wins of my team and the contributions from individuals in my company."
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