Nowadays, most startups rely solely on social media platforms for promotion because this allows them to reach their target audience with more ease, boost brand awareness, and show their company’s personality. While there’s nothing wrong with this method—quite the opposite, actually—it does tend to make people forget about the importance of good PR.
Believe it or not, this isn’t uncommon in the world of startups. PR calls for established connections and relationships with journalists, and something else that new companies usually don’t have—a budget. Because of this, startups turn to social media for help and decide to skip the PR part entirely.
Did you know that a study by Nielsen from 2014 showed that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising? No matter how powerful ads may be, people seem to prefer learning about companies through well-written articles rather than advertisements. PR works and it can help new businesses build their user bases and attract interest from all the right people.
My point is this: you shouldn’t let your lack of budget or connections discourage you from doing PR. If you don’t want to hire a professional, you can do it on your own with the help of the six PR tips I’m going to talk about in the rest of this text.
1.Make Sure You’re Prepared
If your product/service is not finished, completely ready for the world to see, my advice is that you don’t rush into PR. If you want your PR campaign to be successful and powerful, then you need to be prepared. Wrap up your projects, make sure your website and social media profiles are up to date, and then create your pitch.
Before all of this, though, you might want to find out whether or not your startup is newsworthy. What does this mean? Basically, if you don’t have anything unique to offer (i.e. something different from your competitors), it means your business is not really newsworthy. In this case, you should consider improving your product before sharing it with your potential users.
2. Do Your Research
Don’t be afraid to look for help in the shape of guides, tools, and various tutorials. Research is your best friend and there’s a huge range of helpful content online!
For example, Prforstartups offers a comprehensive guide with various tips, valuable pieces of advice, and templates to help you get a clearer picture how PR functions when it comes to startups. If you want to find people who will write for you, don’t miss out on your chance to become a “source” at HARO. and start receiving email opportunities on a daily basis.
Neil Patel put together a great list of 10 Tools and Services to Get PR for Your Startup that should also help you out if you’re new to all of this.
3. Define and Shape Your Pitch
You’ve done your research, you’ve made sure that your startup is ready to see the light of day, and now it’s time to create your pitch.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when it comes to this: your pitch needs to be concise, it needs to have value, and everyone needs to be able to understand it. Avoid using the industry jargon too much and ask yourself “why should my audience care about this?”. It’s also important not to make your pitch sound like a press release—this type of content can be pretty boring and you want your pitch to sound interesting to journalists.
Once you’ve written down your pitch, focus on the message you’re going to send out. Journalists are busy people and chances are they won’t read your entire email, just a couple of sentences. That’s why those sentence need to catch their attention and be as to the point as possible.
When you’re done with all of this, it’s time to move on to finding journalists who would be interested in writing about your company, its launch, or another related topic.
4. Identify Your Target Journalists and Publications
Before you go sending out emails to every journalist you’ve heard of, think about who your audience is and then find publications that write for them. Once you do, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and actually get to those journalists that are willing to accept your pitch.
To begin with, you can head over to Google, select ‘News’, and then look for topics related to your niche and startup. Remember to limit the results and view only articles from the past month—it’s no use checking out a journalist who hasn’t written anything in over a year. By the time you’re done, you should have a list of about five to 10 authors you’d like to cooperate with.
Don’t send your emails just yet. Read a couple of articles written by the people on your list, see what their specialty is, and whether your startup would be of interest to them. After that, you can go ahead and think of a message to send to your targeted journalists/publications. Like I mentioned above, it’s important to make this message stand out and catch the eye of the person (or publication) you’re writing to.
Finally, customize your pitch (make it relevant to the author’s area of expertise and audience) and press send!
5.Include Statistics and Data in Your Pitch
If you can (whenever you can) include data and numbers in your pitch. Journalists appreciate hard proof and this will truly make your pitch stand out in the crowd of otherwise similar ideas. Saying that your app received two million downloads on the day of its launch or that it’s 90% more successful than other apps out there will give your pitch credibility.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on statistics alone—your pitch needs to be newsworthy (remember?) and gripping, but a bit of data definitely can’t hurt.
6. Use Twitter to Find Your Writers
Building relationships with your favorite reporters (and those who have already written something about you) is important and the best way to do this is via Twitter. Most of them have Twitter accounts and use them to share their work, look for sources, and interact with their followers. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get in touch with some of them and start making connections. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment, share something they might enjoy, and compliment them on their work.
Muck Rack is a fantastic website that has a list of journalists who are on Twitter, so if you’re unsure where to start, you can check it out. Anewstip works in a similar way, letting you search for media contacts relevant for your business.
I hope this article will encourage you to at least research your PR options and, eventually, start working on a campaign for your startup. If there’s something you think should be added to the article, leave a comment below!
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.