Interview with Conrad Egusa, CEO at Publicize

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Getting PR  for your startup can turn out be one of the best ways to mark your arrival and showcase your product/service to the world. This would also mean more customers for you as while making a purchase, one thing that customers look out for is trust, and which they are unable to find in a company which does not have much information available about it. So the customers naturally put more trust in companies that garner media attention. But getting PR is a costly affair as professional PR agencies end up charging hefty fees with no guarantee of the expected result. A person thought that there needs to be a cost-effective solution for this and created a firm called Publicize.

Publicize is a PR firm which delivers cost-effective PR solutions to startups. The company was founded by former VentureBeat tech journalist, Conrad Egusa in the year 2013. The working model of the company is pretty simple, they create the content for the client, get it reviewed and once approved pursue the publications for a coverage. The Connecticut based company has served to a number of satisfied clients including more than a dozen plus Y combinator-incubated startups as well as some bigger names.

Here is a small interview with Conrad Egusa, the CEO of the company.

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What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

The idea for Publicize came when I was a writer for the tech publication VentureBeat, and I saw that most startups had to pay PR firms $10,000+ per month with 6 month retainers. I believed that there was a cost-effective solution that should exist for these early-stage companies.

Can you tell us a bit about your partners who are part of your core team?

The Publicize team includes mentors at The Founder Institute and 500 Startups and former journalists from VentureBeat and Entrepreneur Magazine. About 90% of our team has a background in journalism.

What is the current Team Size?

Publicize currently has 20+ team members.

How did you hire your initial team?

I hired the initial team through recommendations and from people I’ve  worked with earlier.

Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

For the Publicize team referrals have worked the best so far.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

We look for people who are entrepreneurial, hard working, and those who have a character.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

There are a number of companies in the PR space. In general though, we are laser focused on providing value to our clients without focusing too much on the competition.

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What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote ? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

Our marketing strategies primarily revolve around PR, content marketing, social media and email marketing. We really haven’t found any channels to be flops. The only channel we have avoided in many ways is paid advertising.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

In general we have avoided paid advertising. The primary reason behind that is because we look to pass our savings onto our clients, we aim for our costs of acquiring new clients to be very low.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?

The challenge has been that there are a lot of verticals and areas that we can market in, and it’s important for us that we focus as much as possible on a selected few.

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What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

Publicize today works with a dozen+ Y Combinator startups, as well as larger brands such as Hallmark Cards.

Based on your experience would you have any advice to the new Entrepreneurs / Startups?

My recommendation would be to focus on being the best in the world in one specific area (with Publicize, we aim to be the best in the world for startup PR). I believe many entrepreneurs try to be the best in too many areas, and they end up spreading their attention too thin.

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