Ayelet Noff, Founder and CEO of SlicedBrand, tells us how great public relations starts and ends with having the right connections.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Ayelet Noff: We’re doing great! The weather is warm now, and we’re spending our weekends hiking and in nature. I’ve had some time off from traveling lately, and it’s been lovely to recharge at home.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SlicedBrand.
Ayelet Noff: I was born in Israel and moved to the United States at age nine without speaking a word of English. It taught me how to adapt quickly, something I took with me into my adult life. My career first started to gain momentum when I discovered social media in 2006. I immediately recognized its enormous marketing potential, particularly for startups and smaller businesses with tight budgets. I started educating companies on why they needed to embrace it. At the time, I was living abroad and working as a journalist for TechCrunch, Forbes, The Next Web, Mashable, VentureBeat, and other tech publications. While I still believed in social media’s potential to boost small but promising startups within the tech industry, I quickly realized that wasn’t the full picture. There were so many amazing tech startups around the world that didn’t have access to and weren’t being covered in Silicon Valley-centric publications.
At that point, it just became about merging everything I knew how to do and believed in, and that pointed toward public relations. I already had a deep understanding of tech startup culture, and I already knew what journalists were looking for. I used my experience with the American tech scene and tech publications to teach global startups how to market themselves effectively. I leveraged my existing relationships with top tech influencers and journalists to get these startups’ messages out in the wider world. You could say I was a diplomat for tech startups in those early days.
I founded SlicedBrand in 2020 with the vision for a new kind of PR agency that catered not only to client needs but also to journalists. My goal is to take on global tech clients with products and visions that I believed in and felt were doing something truly innovative and necessary. Since then, we’ve grown quickly, won awards, and developed a solid reputation in the tech space as a truly forward-thinking boutique tech PR firm.
How does SlicedBrand market its product/services online?
Ayelet Noff: Honestly, I’m happy to say that we don’t do any advertisements. Instead, take a multi-pronged approach. We’re active on social media, continually posting the incredible coverage and thought leadership we make possible for our clients alongside company updates. We’re always updating our website and publishing new articles on our blog that are relevant to the kind of tech companies we want to work with. We send out a monthly newsletter. We’re also very lucky to have clients that have written positive reviews of our work across the internet. Everything aspect of our work in this area is about actively demonstrating how we make a difference for our clients and deliver great results.
I regularly publish thought leadership pieces on tech PR business and strategy in reputable publications. I’ve always had a passion for sharing my expertise and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. These thought leadership pieces put my name and SlicedBrand’s reputation out in the world in an organic and meaningful way, and you never know who will read them. Founders of innovative companies can be anywhere, so we want to reach them everywhere.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Ayelet Noff: Unlike many other companies, we didn’t need to make the major transition from in-person to remote work due to the pandemic. Long before the pandemic, I had become accustomed to operating on a remote level, thanks to having multiple offices across time zones, a roster of global clients, and relationships with reporters and publications based in multiple countries. I founded SlicedBrand at the beginning of the pandemic and immediately established it as a remote-only business, but I’d honed our remote practices long before. This has real fiscal benefits in terms of not paying for office space. It also allows us to attract talent from all over the world, and we have employees in multiple countries across three continents. This gives us the ability to work with a truly global roster of clients and meet their needs in real-time. We’re always making tweaks to our digital communication tools for employees and clients, so everyone has exactly what they need to communicate effectively.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Ayelet Noff: As far as online marketing goes, we use a number of tools. We use Mailchimp for our email newsletters. We carefully time our blog posts and make sure each one is written for maximum impact. We track our social posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to maximize engagement and see what resonates. It’s important to be strategic and responsive to what is receiving engagement and how people are engaging. Consistency and flexibility are equally important. Our online marketing strategy is an extension of our overarching mission to find and work with innovative companies already making an impact but who need help reaching their full potential through top-tier media coverage and placements. Everything we do comes back to that.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ayelet Noff: I don’t necessarily think in terms of competition or outlasting other agencies. Other agencies aren’t our focus – our clients are. Our work speaks for itself. It keeps our existing clients happy and attracts new clients through the stellar reputation we’ve created. Every news article and thought leadership piece we place about our clients is an opportunity to demonstrate SlicedBrand’s connections and expertise. We’ll stay in the game by staying the course and consistently delivering excellent work for our clients. It’s a feedback loop: the better you serve your clients, and the more you put great quality work out in the world, the more you attract quality companies and clients to your agency. There is no better advertisement or case we could make for ourselves, and everything else is secondary.
Your final thoughts?
Ayelet Noff: In my decades of experience working in tech PR, I’ve learned that the only constant thing is change. Usually, that change isn’t as massive as a pandemic, to be fair. Nevertheless, good leaders in and out of the PR space understand that adaptability is key, and even a massive change can bring with it unexpected benefits and opportunities that are yours for the taking – if you have the courage and foresight to take advantage of them. SlicedBrand is a company that has grown immensely despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19. That’s because I lead with intention but without getting too stuck in my ways.