PR (public relations) is a vital aspect of building a successful business in the 21st century.
PR can be defined as a communication of an intended message that aims to result in a shift of the audience’s attitude towards your company.
While large brands and corporations have no problem paying costly PR companies to handle their public relations matters, most startups operate on a tight budget and cannot afford this privilege.
Luckily, there are a number of strategies that bootstrapped startups can use to help them build positive PR.
6 Strategies that Startups Can Use to Secure Positive PR
1. Set Specific Goals
In order to develop a successful PR strategy, you need to set one or multiple specific goals for engaging in PR.
Ask yourself: What do you want to achieve with your PR initiatives?
- Do you want to attract attention to your new product launch?
- Or maybe you want to attract attention to launching in a new location?
- Is your goal to signal that you are hiring new employees?
- Or do you want to increase your company’s visibility?
The answers to these questions are important because they will determine the type of story you are going to push and who you’re trying to reach specifically.
2. Strategic Targeting
For some new startups, a story in TechCrunch could be a PR dream come true. However, if your startup operates outside the tech industry, a write-up on this platform would probably have zero value.
So, instead of simply targeting the top 50 tech blogs, do some research to identify the platforms your target users prefer to read.
We also recommend that you ditch traditional media and focus only on digital PR. Why? Because today, everything happens online. Traditional PR was focused on TV, radio, and print-based publications. These days, print media isn’t what it used to be and digital media is quickly overtaking traditional print publications and TV.
Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used to increase a business’s online presence. This means you should focus on getting your business featured in online publications (local blogs, local newspaper sites, etc).
3. Make a List of Contacts
In addition, avoid wasting your time by pitching to the wrong people and instead, find editors and journalists who cover the specific markets and niches in which you operate.
Once you begin narrowing down the number of publications that are most suited to your PR objectives, it’s time to start making a list of journalists’ names and their contact details (emails, websites, and/or Twitter accounts) for future use. Store these names and contact info in a simple spreadsheet or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
How to Pitch to Media
When it comes to submitting pitches, there are certain rules you need to follow. Let’s start with what you should avoid:
- Don’t send out generic pitches that contain phrases like “to whom it may concern.” Such pitches clearly show that you haven’t put any time or energy into thinking about the journalist/editor. In fact, it’s clear you didn’t even bother to find out what his/her name is.
- Don’t send very long emails that contain too many unnecessary details or use over-the-top language
- Avoid implying that the publication would be “lucky” to write about your brand.
- Don’t send the same pitch to a big number of publications/journalists at the same time because members of the media usually know each other.
- Don’t bother editors or journalists by sending too many follow-up messages (more than two follow-ups is too many) begging for reconsideration.
Ok, now that you know what you shouldn’t do, let’s focus on what you should do:
- Always use the journalist’s first name to personalize your emails. In addition, make sure to mention at least one of his/her recent articles to show that you have actually put some thought into the reasons why he/she is the best person to discuss your company with.
- Ensure that your pitch is at most seven sentences long.
- Explain why the editor or journalist, the publication, and their audience should be interested in writing about your brand.
- Contact only one editor at a time in order to show that you respect their work enough to not send the same pitch to their competitors.
- Have in mind that not every one of your pitches will result in a write-up so be patient and follow up politely to ask for feedback.
4. Guest Posting
Besides asking journalists to write stories about your company, you can also contact major publications like Entrepreneur and Forbes and offer to write your own guest post. Keep in mind that most of these major outlets will require payment for publishing any articles.
Targeted pitching won’t be easy when you are just starting but as you gain more experience, you’ll have more real-world stories that can then can serve as a basis for interesting articles.
5. Think Outside the Box
Successful PR is not a one-time thing that you do only when you have a new product to launch. Rather, it’s a continuous process. There are other aspects of company operations that can also serve as occasions to pitch media, such as:
- Revealing new company services or product features
- Announcing a new investment
- Publishing new data on your customers & their problems, as well as your solutions
- Exposing and confronting crucial changes in your industry or market.
6. Hire Growth Consultants
If all this seems too complicated or time-consuming, consider using professional business coaching services. Business coaches help entrepreneurs & business owners grow in a variety of ways. In fact, they’re experienced entrepreneurs and business owners themselves who have decided to use their talents to help other business owners reach their goals.
Business coaches can help build a new business from the ground up, advising you as you go through the process of setting up your business, defining your goals, and putting in place both long-term and short-term strategies for your business.
Implementing an efficient PR strategy requires lots of time, dedication, and hard work. This is especially true for new companies that need to build a reputation from scratch. The above-listed tips should help you start off on the right foot. But bear in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. If you try and realize you can’t do the PR yourself, you can always hire a pro.
For help with creating an effective PR strategy check out our packages to get everything you need for a successful PR campaign.