Public relations is an important aspect of every business. When you are running a startup, you don’t necessarily have the budget to hire someone full time to work on your PR. Of course, learning how to manage your own PR can be challenging. While there is a lot to learn, the following guidelines should help you be more effective at running your PR.
Consider whether to hire or DIY
The first decision you need to make is whether to do your own PR or hire an outside firm or consultant to help. With all the common business startup costs, many founders choose to take on PR by themselves. This can be less than simple, however. Of course, you don’t have to make this decision once and for all. You can change your mind as your business starts to grow.
Get your pitch right
Spend time working on the business pitch you will send to journalists. You should likely have a couple of versions of this. Consider writing a single sentence that explains the core idea of your business. Then, create a one-pagerof more detailed information. Don’t expect anyone to read much more than a page without asking for it.
This explanation is going to be all you have to hook potential coverage. Furthermore, journalists may use some of your content in their writing. So, you should make sure you master this. Getting some feedback from a journalist or writer can be very helpful. If not, you can always ask others for honest feedback on your pitch.
Create a contact list
Keep a living document of all your potential journalism contacts. Try to identify publications and writers that may be interested in what you have to say. While some big publications may be nice-to-have, realistically, you are only going to grab the attention of more specialized publications at first. This can be a good thing, however. Their audiences will likely be more relevant to your business.
Try to gather as much contact information as you can. Email is the main way that people communicate for PR today. However, some other tools such as SMS and WhatsApp are also used. Gathering enough contact information will help you to reach out more effectively to potential journalists.
Nail the email
It’s okay to spend some time getting your email right. Ideally, it should be specific to each journalist you reach out to. Of course, you are going to want to reuse some of the content from the general pitch you already created.
If you don’t get this part right, journalists are not likely to want to cover you. Since you are new to this, you may want to think about doing some A/B testing of your email pitch. If you keep track of what earns responses, you can gradually hone your pitch and make more PR progress.
Journalists are busy people and they don’t always have time to respond right away, even to leads they are interested in. It’s okay to follow up periodically, but you also need to be patient. Obviously, harassing someone is not going to get them to cover your product or business. If a given hook doesn’t get many bites, consider sending out another blast when you have different news to share.
Typically, journalists will only cover products and businesses when something significant happens. While some will do profiles and lists from time to time, don’t expect someone to cover your company just because it exists. Try to give them something they can actually write about. You will find that people respond much more quickly when you have an interesting hook to write about.
This guidance will help you get started on your PR for your startup. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Plenty of people and tools can help you master the art of startup PR.