How to nail PR during the start-up phase

Startup | Tips | Advice

By Jocelyn Simpson

If you’re reading this, you probably already think your business needs the boost that PR can give, but here’s the big question: How do you go about getting the media to write about you?

Well, you have two options. The first is to hire a PR agency, which will set you back at least $4,000 a month, and the second is to do it yourself. Here are six tips for start-ups striving to get the most out of PR:

1. Work out the ‘why’ – Before setting out on your PR journey, you need to ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve from getting media coverage. Obviously, you want impartial journalists to give glowing, five star reviews of your product and in turn boost sales, that’s a given. But in addition to this is your aim to attract investors or establish credibility for your business? The reason itself is not important, but knowing what you want to achieve is.

2. Read, watch, listen – Make sure that you get to know the publications, TV programs and radio stations you want to get coverage in. You need to research the kind of stories these publications run and work out how your brand might fit in if you want a good shot at getting editorial.

3. Tailor your pitch – Journalists hate nothing more than a generalised pitch, and they will know if you’re sending a mass email. In order to cut through the hundreds of emails they receive each day, make sure you adapt each pitch to the specific publication. In addition to this, personally address each email to the relevant journalist. It’s worth the extra time to give you a head start over all the other companies they’ll hear from that day.

4. Backstory – No doubt you have a great backstory to tell. Think: How or why was your company started? What problem does your company solve? What do you do that others don’t? What spurred you to give up your day job and face the fear? Everyone loves an inspiring story of rags to riches – so make your backstory work for you.

5. Data and trends –Do you have any insights and data that signal a trend or change in your category? If so, share them! Journalists love a statistic. Not only does it demonstrate facts clearly, it shows the research and knowledge you hold in your industry.

6. Make ready – Before communicating with media, make sure you have everything ready, including an up-to-date and working website! Most journalists and customers will check out your website before doing anything else, so it goes without saying that a working website is key.

About the author

Jocelyne Simpson has 20 years of PR experience advising and running PR accounts for some of the world’s most loved brands like Coca-Cola, American Express, LEGO as well as countless startups and small businesses. She is co-founder of I Do My Own PR, an online tool that enables small businesses to do their own PR. She is also co-founder of PR agency, Good Citizens.

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