PR for the PR Newbie

Getting exposure for your startup

Public Relations is tough. A game of chicken-and-egg, reporters want to be the first to break huge news–but no one wants to write about something that may not trend. Even at an early stage, there are a few things you can do to try and land a few placements. Remember: PR is a marathon, not a sprint. Follow these five tips and watch your news and media exposure increase.

Find your influencers

Influencer marketing and PR are so huge right now. If you have a consumer startup, do some research on local or national influencers who may be interested in something you're making. For instance, if your company makes phone charging purses, find a few fashionable bloggers or celebrities who have complained about their phone dying on Twitter and offer them your product. Here are some tips on how to find influencers for your startup.

If you're building an app, you can do a little research to find influencers who would be interested in that as well. Offer them the product to try out for free. You may have to pay some influencers, but not all. Depending on your budget, getting your product in front of an engaged and relevant audience with an authentic endorsement usually pays off in the end.

Be persistent. Just because the first person you email isn't interested in your pitch, it doesn't mean no one else will be.

Do your research

Copying 100 writers on one pitch is not effective. Each pitch needs to be customized to each reporter, along with information on why you think the pitch is relevant to them specifically. This takes time. A lot of it. But this research pays off–you'll be a lot more likely to get a response from a reporter if they can tell you're actually familiar with their work.

Get in on the trends without chasing news

Commenting on the most recent news can be tempting. Just this week, thousands of companies rushed to comment on Tim Cook's resistance to opening Apple security for the FBI. But it doesn't make sense for everyone to comment. If the news is relevant to your industry, by all means, comment on it. But if you're just looking to get a few views out of a popular topic, it might be best to sit it out–your commentary isn't likely to be very memorable anyway.

Get to know a few local reporters

Speaking of commenting on relevant matters, getting to know reporters in your area or niche is a great way to ensure you're the first one they turn to for expert commentary the next time they need a source. Asking a reporter to meet (without pretense) for lunch or coffee just to find out what they like to write about is a great way to get on their radar. Remember: journalists value relationships above (almost) all else, so building a respectful rapport will pay off in the long run.

Be realistic

Not everything is newsworthy. If your company of five people moved offices, don't follow the old-school PR tactic of putting out a release. Know that your company has its niche and go after bloggers and journalists in that area. You'll have a much better response and reach the right people.

We'd love to help do a quick influencer analysis for your startup. Reach out and let us know you need help!