Always Keep Them Guessing

Snow Monkeys CC Masashi Mohida

Public relations masters like Steve Jobs had a lot of tools up their sleeve. Most were not high tech.

The element of surprise is one of the most powerful, underrated and time-tested methods of grabbing and holding the attention of your audience. Tease us with clues and we’ll stand in line for hours to see what’s behind the curtain. There’s no more powerful public relations technique than when people are clamoring to know what you’re up to.

I just read a great Inc. article that drove the point home nicely. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is working on a new startup called Jelly, which has divulged little more than it’s name, high-profile investors like Al Gore and Bono, and has been tantalizing reporters who would love to know more details. Use secrecy to your advantage, but make sure you have the goods as well.

“Either you’ve built something people want or you haven’t,” says Twitter co-founder and Jelly investor Evan Williams. Public relations is vital to the success of a good product, but it can’t paper over the flaws of a worthless offering.

Google[x] is one such example of a team effectively using secrecy to keep us on our toes.  As mysterious as it sounds, they bring the wood, too. The secret skunkworks program is responsible for Google Glass, The high altitude Internet blimps known as Project Loon, and the self-driving car.

While you want the world to know how awesome you are, inject a little mystery into your next announcement or launch, and see how it turns the tables from you chasing to being chased.

About Chikodi Chima

Chikodi Chima is the publisher of PR Tips For Startups, a blog and podcast series featuring innovative marketing strategies from today's small business leaders. Chima is a former staff reporter for VentureBeat and TheNextWeb, who's writing has appeared inFast Company, Mashable and GigaOm. When he's not blogging, he likes running up hills in San Francisco, practicing yoga, and reading. Everything. Chikodi helps startups tell stories that change the world at Moonshot, a boutique consultancy that specializes in growth hacking, content marketing, media relations and strategic communication for small business.


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