Ever since I got my first job in a startup PR firm, I have loved working with startups. I knew that exactly what I was dealing with in my own office – growth, ROI, hiring, firing, working on a tight budget, dealing with the crazy requests of our first clients, lots of coffee and long, long hours – was what my own startup clients were dealing with, too. How could I not relate?
Startup PR may seem daunting, but if you’re passionate about your product or service and you have a great support team, the stories will come. Whether you are working with a company on a shoestring budget, maximizing the value of venture capital funds or working as the only employee of your own startup, you can be successful.
Here are some tips for maximizing your PR efforts that are sure to help you get some attention.
Quit Being Boring, Start Getting Juicy
This one is definitely tough for some people, especially in highly technical startups. Being personable and being able to tell a story (even a “boring” one) in an exciting and passionate way tends to make people get excited with you. Reporters love quirky, fun, sometimes even weird stories that other people can relate to, enjoy and share. If you can make people relate to you and your product or service, you will have a much easier time getting on the reporter’s radar.
Pick Your Media Contacts Wisely
So now you have your fun, relatable story down pat – the question is, how do you get a reporter to listen to you?
If you want reporters to care about you, you have to care about them first. Pick a handful of reporters and outlets that you want to see your product featured in, and learn about them. Read the stories these reporters are writing and make sure they are relevant to you and your story. Obviously, you don’t want to be reaching out to a reporter who covers foreign policy when your product is a cool new stuffed animal that talks to kids (that was obvious, right? But it’s one of the things that really annoy reporters). Find the reporters who care about what you are doing and build a relationship with them.
But how do you build a relationship you ask? First of all, read their coverage. Second of all, promote their coverage. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to comment on what they are writing about. Share it with friends or just leave a comment directly on the story itself. While you aren’t necessarily pitching your product, you are getting your name on their radar, making it easier next time around when you reach out.
Raise Awareness Through Events And Crowdfunding Sites
Another great way to get in front of press is utilizing events, conferences or crowdfunding sites. A lot of media outlets such as TechCrunch host events throughout the year that are focused on startups. These are great opportunities to be introduced to the press and launch your product or service. TechCrunch Disrupt has Startup Alley devoted to new companies showcasing what they can do. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and Mobile World Congress feature ShowStoppers events that are specifically geared towards press. There are many other startup events throughout the nation each year.
Additionally, if you are looking to fund your project, you can turn to a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money from friends, family and even strangers. If you are considering one of these campaigns, remember that your progress may be interesting to local reporters as well as reporters specific to your industry, and you should be prepared for them to follow your campaign’s success and your company’s growth, as well as be prepared to answer any questions they have.
Remember The Importance Of Integrated Marketing
While PR is a huge component of launching any successful product or service, it’s not the only tactic you should be focusing on. By incorporating an all-encompassing digital marketing approach that includes PR, social media and blogging along with a stellar website and other marketing collateral, you will be sure to gain traction with the right audience and get on the radar of the audience you want to reach!
PR pros – what other tips would you add to our list?