Without the knowledge of Fred, we created an automatic podcast for his blog, AVC.com, using our API. We had no idea how he would react. It was weeks of effort, time, and money spent to build AVC.fm with the hope that Mr. Wilson would love us (or at least not send us a cease and desist!) And then, there was the tweet that made the weeks of brainstorming, trials and errors, and late nights, all worth it:
"AVC.fm, the unofficial blogcast of @avc created by @VoiceBunny avc.fm via @VoiceBunny."
by — Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) February 21, 2012
Fred tweeted our work and our name to his 207,000+ fans. That day, VoiceBunny.com got a huge amount of visits, with most coming out of Silicon Valley. We, of course, reached out to Fred right away and a few emails later, you can now hear AVC.fm right on Fred's blog at AVC.com.
Before you get into the “how” of a PR stunt, you must first figure out the “why”. You don’t want attention just for the sake of attention. You have got to capture the attention of the right people. And for VoiceBunny both Fred and his audience were the right audience.
The VoiceBunny team is a big fan of Fred Wilson’s work and especially his blog, AVC.com, but we didn’t always have time to read it everyday. So, we thought it would be great if AVC.com had a podcast so we could listen on our commutes or while we were working. So we thought, let’s make one for him! What better way to show off our technology and get the attention of the VC community? Mr. Wilson is a big supporter of the “freedom to innovate” and that’s why we felt creating AVC.fm was the perfect project for VoiceBunny.
So, since Mr. Wilson publishes under a Creative Commons license, we did not have to worry about getting his permission first. The VoiceBunny API automatically pulls the text from AVC.com after Fred posts and posts a project. One of our voice talents accepts the project and uploads a finished read. It is then screened for quality and automatically uploaded to SoundCloud and AVC.fm.
We wanted to make it very obvious we did this as a tribute, not to capitalize on his name or work. Yes, we did it to show off our technology, but, we created something of value to him and to the community. We also made it very easy for him to add to his blog if he chose to do so. We included a link asking, “Are You Fred?” that included instructions on how to embed the widget onto his blog.
On his blog, Fred said:
"In any case, I like they way they used a stunt to get my attention. So much more effective than sending me an email saying “I’d like to come talk to you about a new project we are working on”. So I’m going to start auto-embedding the avc.fm voice overs at the end of the posts on AVC (via the SoundCloud embed of course)."
You can read his entire post at http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/02/feature-friday-listen-to-thi...
Actually being sent a cease and desist by Fred would have given you an angle to get publicity if things didn't end up the way they did. But I'm actually a little surprised that since you say "The VoiceBunny team is a big fan of Fred Wilson’s work and especially his blog" you should have known that it was highly unlikely he would have done something like that.
Outcome 1: What happened, you got what you wanted
Outcome 2: Cease and desist - if that had happened, may hay with it. Mentioning if anyone else has this outcome.
Outcome 3: Ignore your "hack". The worse outcome. But in that case you have to be more proactive and approach him, several times (once again if you understand the way he rolls you realize he declares email bankruptcy and actually appreciates follow up emails.