Public relations (i.e. strategic communications) is crucial to the success of any 21st century business. While many startups think that a TechCrunch nod is all it takes to gain much sought-after exposure, there’s a lot more that goes into a winning PR strategy. If you don’t take the right approach to PR early on, it won’t be long before you realize that the competition is passing you by. While working with a professional PR agency like ours is always the best bet, these tips will get your startup’s strategy off on the right foot.
1. Identify What Makes Your Story Newsworthy
All news is not newsworthy. Many startups tend to forget (or are simply not aware) that the modern news cycle is a competitive arena where a hoard of publicists and corporate communicators are jostling to pitch information (to relatively few journalists) that could become news. To successfully get your unique story covered in print, radio, television or online, you must first understand how to analyze potential stories and pick the right one to pitch to the media. Pitch the story, not the product. Writers are looking for pitches that offer a story they can put their own spin on. Take the time to craft a headline-worthy press release and story first – you’ll save yourself loads of time in the pitching process.
2. Develop a Core Messaging Guideline Document
The foundation of any PR program is clearly communicating your core messages. A successful PR program’s core messages are the most important things you want your target audience to know about your product or service. How does a business define this?
- Core messages emphasize your company’s core strengths and uniqueness, and are backed by substantial supporting information or data.
- Your messaging remains consistent when telling your brand story.
- These messages are woven throughout ALL of your content and communications with all stakeholders including employees, investors, board members and customers as well as industry analysts, reporters, etc.
3. Know Your Media Targets
Aiming to be featured in a particular publication? Knowing all about your target journalist or media contact will help. Start by becoming familiar with the work of the journalist you are trying to make a connection with. Read their articles to become familiar with the types of topics that they write, and check out their LinkedIn and social media profiles. Make a connection with the reporter on social media as their inbox is likely flooded with names that they don’t recognize. By understanding your target, you’ll be able to better position your company in a way that will catch their attention when making the pitch.
4. Pitch With Your Target Audience in Mind
Startups tend to want to send their information to the media outlets that have large followings or readership. Not so fast. It’s important not to forget who your target market is. Just because a target publication is large doesn’t mean that the readership is necessarily the appropriate target audience for your product or service.
Additionally, don’t forget to build relationships with bloggers and freelancers. These individuals can sometimes offer the same level of exposure as editors and reporters at more traditional outlets.
5. Always Personalize Your Pitch & Be Professional
Pitching can be time consuming and inexperienced PR people often take shortcuts. Customize the pitches you send media representatives and make sure you spell the contact’s name correctly. Sending one blanket pitch to hundreds of different media outlets is the shortest route to failure, so make sure to be as precise as possible. Additionally always be professional, responsive and make sure that you have access to your spokesperson at all times. Press coverage can hinge on responsiveness.
Contact us to learn more about how our professional PR services can fast-track your startup’s success.