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This article was published on April 5, 2011

8 PR Tips for Launching your Startup

8 PR Tips for Launching your Startup
Marc Köhlbrugge
Story by

Marc Köhlbrugge

Marc Köhlbrugge is the co-founder and designer of the Dutch internet company PressDoc. This service lets you create engaging press release o Marc Köhlbrugge is the co-founder and designer of the Dutch internet company PressDoc. This service lets you create engaging press release optimized for the social web.

This is a guest post by Marc Köhlbrugge from PressDoc, one of our Incubator companies.

After months, or sometimes even years of hard work you’re finally ready to show off your product to the public. You hope to attract media exposure and get people talking about your service or product. It’s an important day for your business, and like everything else that’s important, it’s best to be prepared.

In this article, we’ll share 8 PR lessons you should keep in mind when making your announcement.

1. Build up a following
When you launch your product, you already want to have people that you can rely on to spread the word. You can do this by having a closed Beta version of your product, writing a blog about your industry, or creating a beta list for people to sign up before you launch. This way, when you do launch your product, you already have a big pool of potential customers and people that will spread the word.

2. Build up a relationship with journalists
Just as you need to build a relationship with your customers before you launch your product, the same thing holds true for journalists (bloggers included). When you’re reading blogs about your specific industry, take part in the discussion in the comments section, and do the same on Twitter. After a while, people will start recognizing your name and avatar, and they may be more open when you contact them about your announcement.

3. Write a press release
This might be a no-brainer, but in the heat of launching your startup, this might become an afterthought, which it shouldn’t be. The press release is your best vehicle to entice journalists and bloggers to write a story about your startup. So, when you write your press release, keep in mind that a blogger will only cover it if it provides value to their audiences. So think of the audience you want to reach and keep that in mind when writing your press release. Your press release is partly targeted to journalists, but also partly to their audiences.

Also, please don’t use the all-too-familiar marketing mumbo jumbo. Your press release is not a sales pitch — be real. Talk the way you would talk in a real conversation. This gives your brand personality.

You should add as much relevant information as possible, and the key here is relevant, so the bloggers have an easy time writing a good story about it. Services such as PressDoc (disclosure: my company) provide all the tools to include images, videos, quotes, etc. Don’t forget to use them.

4. Share your press release
This might sound like a no-brainer, too, but I’ve seen people writing press releases without actually spreading them across their network. Obviously, the press release isn’t going to spread itself, so use every tool at your disposal. You probably already have a vast network of contacts you can use (think Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook), and these are just the most obvious ones. For your specific, niche there are probably even better tools out there as well.

Also, find bloggers and other influencers and ask if they are interested in covering your press release. Look at their previous articles and convince them why they should write about your startup.

Note: On the internet, news that has been published by someone else 12 hours or more earlier is considered old and in a lot of cases, not interesting anymore to write about. You have to distribute your press release as soon as possible.

5. Share (positive) feedback
When your press release is picking up steam and people start blogging and tweeting about it, share it with the world! Set up a Google Alert and a Twitter search with the name of your startup and re-tweet the stuff people are saying about you.

6. Start a dialog
Whenever someone writes something about your startup, thank them and start a conversation! People love it and when a company shows they care, and they will probably talk about you even more.

7. Build a great homepage
If you’re launching an internet product or service, your homepage is the one of the most important pages of your website. It’s where most people will get their first impression, so it better count!

Don’t tell them about the product or service, tell them about the benefits the product provides. If you’re solving a problem, tell them about the problem and how you’ve solved it.

8. Learn
When the rush is over, look back and see what worked and didn’t work, so you know what to do when you launch version 2.0 of your startup. Using an analytics package such as Google Analytics can be very helpful. Of course, with regards to your PressDoc, you can view all the statistics when you sign in.