May 14th, 2013   /   Posted by Natalie Nathanson   /   Category: All, Startup Spotlight Interviews

Magnetude Startup Spotlight: Centralizing Online Media - An Interview with Launch.it


Magnetude Consulting gives you a closer look into the startup community.  We interview tech startups and other entrepreneurial leaders to bring you their stories, as well as insights into marketing techniques that have helped them along the way.

Today’s interview is with the co-founder of Launch.it, Trace Cohen.  Launch.it is a community-sourced site with news content exclusively from public relations professionals and entrepreneurs with the goal of engaging these launchers with their consumers in a direct, meaningful, and dynamic dialogue.

How did the idea for Launch.it come about?

I started Launch.it with my father, Brian Cohen, who has been doing PR for the over 30 years. He inspired me to start my first company in college called Brand Yourself, which was in the digital reputation space. After graduating from college, we combined our backgrounds and started Launch.it, which we launched just over a year ago.

How do you describe the value that Launch.it brings to the market?

The big idea behind Launch.it is that in PR there is so much noise out there, so we wanted to make sure everything new could be found, discovered and shared.  There are so many media outlets and now social media 2.0, but there isn’t a central location to find all of this news. Launch.it is a free self-publishing platform to help any company to publish their news to help startups and entrepreneurs have their news discovered and shared.

Is there a specific audience you target? Do you segment them in any way?

We have a pretty diverse user base as anybody can launch and read news. Our focus was initially on startups, but we’ve also engaged with PR agencies and even the Angel Capital Association to post on our site.  We started with a large volume of tech news, but we’ve expanded to 25 different news categories, from tech to finance, to real estate, and even food.

What was most important for Launch.it’s launch?

A few months before we had the product ready, we started pitching to potential clients, entrepreneurs, PR agencies, and other influencers in our space.  By the time we launched we had a lot of momentum behind us. The actual launch day was one of my most memorable moments.  We launched at the 2012 NY Tech Meetup (NYTM), which is one of the biggest gatherings of tech professionals in NYC.  I had been there many times in the audience so it was a great feeling to finally have our moment on stage.

Do you have any favorite successes to share since you launched?

One of our first successes was gaining CES as a client, as they’re one of the largest conferences in the world. We worked with 150 startups and SMBs, helping them increase traffic to their website and gain media attention.  Because of this, many of these startups increased their sales and some of them even got funding.

How do you define marketing as it applies to Launch.it?

We had a strong emphasis in PR before the launch, during, and even after the launch. We’ve had great coverage by the NY Times, Business Insider, and Wall Street Journal. A lot of them drove traffic for us, which was great for visibility.  In terms of other forms of marketing, we attend a lot of conferences. We’ve also made great strides with personal connections and referrals.  Every new customer who launches with us is marketing for Launch.it because they provide content we can use, and their posts help increase our SEO.

What advice would you give to a startup looking to make its first launch into the market?

It varies depending on the product or industry, but I think the overall idea is to try and meet with as many people as you can. Your company launch is great, but that’s just a moment in time. Your focus should be getting people to believe in you and your product in the long-term.  From there, you can build up your business through marketing, sales and partnerships.

Being a second-time founder, what advice would you give to a first timer?

Your business idea obviously matters, but what really makes a difference is the execution. If you’re a founder still working at a full-time job, there’s no need to quit right away and dive in to your startup full-time.  Take the time to talk to as many people as you can and build out the structure for your startup’s next steps before making that decision.

If you’re interested in being interviewed for the Magnetude Startup Spotlight, or you would like to learn more about our complimentary consultation, contact us today!

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