Before I took leave of my senses and decided to chase the start up dream I worked as a graduate for one of the worlds biggest PR companies and learnt some lessons that I now use every day with Mallzee.com. PR is an area that many first time entrepreneurs over look, or outsource if they’ve got the money, but if you master it at an early stage it’s one area that can provide that much needed traction to make a real success of your endeavors.
So, wither you’re the most unsexy enterprise startup or the hot new fad in mobile location the following are just a few tips to really kick start your startup PR strategy in 2013.
Make a Hook
Trying to get coverage is just like fishing, you need a hook and a big juicy worm. Just launching a business might be huge news for you but, in reality to get PR you need a little more. What’s the hook in the story that you want to get coverage for? Is it the difficulties you’ve overcome in life, is it truly ground breaking technology (be honest?), have you got a funny angle or anything else that little bit ‘special’. Without a hook the chances of getting coverage are much slimmer so spend some time thinking about it before you start firing off emails or hitting the phones.
Lets be honest, no matter how much you love your startup its unlikely that you’ll be appearing in Techcrunch the day you launch. So how do you get those first vital users? Well, you need to prioritise your PR efforts and who to try and get coverage from. Start with a group of bloggers, then reach out to local publications, then national and if its gaining traction – international. If you go for the big guys straight away then you’re likely to be facing a lot of disappointment and just be wasting yours, and their, time.
If you do have a great story and you’ve managed to hook a big publication they’ll likely want an exclusive and sometimes it’s not a bad thing to give it to them. Don’t ask me though, check out the guys at Pebble who did one exclusive the day they went on Kickstarter and then saw overnight international coverage and a $10 million dollar campaign. Not bad, huh?
Make it Personal
There’s lots of online services that can mass deliver press releases these days but I promise the success rate won’t be nearly as high as the personal approach. Yeah, you’re busy with a million other things but doing this right is worth the time. Make a list of journalists that you think will like your story and will be able to reach your target market, no point in approaching financial publications when you’re targeting teenagers, right? Make every approach personal and make sure you’ve done your reading on a journalist before hand. Maybe RT their stories a few times or engage with them on twitter about an interesting topic before you get in touch. All these little personal touches might just mean your email gets read instead of being sent straight to the trash can.
It’s a competitive market so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with your story. As they say ‘All press is good press!’ – it’s not but its still worth a try!
And, remember if you’re writing a press release it’s one side of A4 max and make sure you say who, why, when, where and what?
Plus, for your own sake put your contact details on it.