Most startups face a major challenge when it comes to public relations. While they know the importance of PR and generating awareness, they don’t always have the connections or manpower to stir up good press.
The right PR can help early-stage startups build user bases as well as attract interest from venture capitalists, so don’t let a non-existent marketing budget or the lack of a dedicated marketing team discourage you.
Here are some tips to make public relations work for your start up:
Be specific with your niche: Putting together a well thought-out pitch takes time, which is something that startups don’t have enough of. Instead of pitching everyone and anyone, identify a dozen media outlets that are ultimately your top choices. It’s not about ‘the more the merrier’. Be very specific about which media you want to cover your start-up. For instance, if you’re in the tech space, focus on developing relationships with tech journalists and the media outlets that publish tech news.
Personalise your message: Reaching out to journalists can be a challenge as they are often inundated with emails, media releases and event invites. Cut through by being friendly and personal. Don’t spam them with media releases, but instead get to know the journalists and send them a personalised email, which speaks to their needs and topics. While this does take more time and patience, it works far better than sending impersonal mass emails – journalists and editors can spot a copy/paste job a mile away.
Create content you can publish: Create content and share it with online media and blogs where your investors and customers hang out. Share your story, experiences, insights and knowledge. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert and build trust with your audience.
Share your story: Journalists get hounded every day by startups, PR agencies, founders and more. Their job isn't to write about you. Their job is to write stories, get scoops, break news and thoughtfully evaluate companies and products that are useful to their readers or viewers. So make sure you are delivering value to them, respecting their work and understand they have their own agenda of how to break news. The fact that you have a new product or start-up isn’t a story. The pitch needs to be your point of difference and what you’re offering as a story.
Let your voice be heard: There are a plethora of start-up events and meet-ups in today’s business environment. Start by attending and networking, and then graduate to sharing your start-up journey via speaking engagements. Speaking is a great way to be seen as an influencer and you’ll also be able to introduce your start-up to a whole new audience and position yourself as an expert in your field at the same time.