When developing your startup’s business plan, it won’t take long to realize that some areas are not worth the cost, at least in the early goings. Many businesses often regard public relations as one of these areas. Unlike legal consultation or technical engineering work, a well-executed public relations campaign does not require a specific degree or accreditation to achieve. It certainly helps, but it’s not required, as long as businesses plan and execute their PR for startups campaign properly.
Although PR is far from an easy task that simply anyone can do, it is entirely possible for a startup to do PR for themselves, as long as they keep the tidbits below in mind:
Prioritize Preparation and Press Contacts
It’s very difficult to come back from a poorly executed PR campaign. If you already reached out on behalf of your business to lucrative press contacts with a shoddy pitch/campaign, it will be even harder to get their attention the next time. Press contacts sift through many emails for press consideration every day, so they are more likely to ignore you every time after if they ever receive a poor pitch that is non-personalized, difficult to read, and not containing enough relevant information.
As a result, you must be prepared when you start your self-run PR campaign. Some PR for startups prep tips include the following:
- Browse the web for publications and blogs relevant to your industry. Find their contact information and compile it in a spreadsheet, with their name, email, publication, and any other information (in a “Notes” column to the farthest right) that may be relevant having their own columns. If collaborating with co-workers on the campaign, share the spreadsheet with them via Google Drive.
- In the “Notes” column, make a note of why a specific contact was added to the spreadsheet, such as “This publication wrote a previous piece on our business’ industry, so they could be interested in our upcoming innovative product.” This will aid considerably when you write your individualized pitches.
- Craft a well-written, engaging pitch that addresses how your startup separates itself from the pack. Also, as previously mentioned, begin the email with a sentence or two that shows it’s personalized — such as “I loved your previous article on [topic]” — using information from the “Notes” column in the previous tip.
These three tips will aid considerably in crafting a spreadsheet of relevant contacts, who will be drawn to personalized emails that clearly show a passion for their industry of interest.
Share Content When You See It
Many of us stumble across interesting content on the web every day. If you ever come across an article or web site that would interest your business’ demographic, post it on all your business’ social media avenues. Quality content will generate conversation, no matter the niche. Most importantly, engagement on social media (likes, comments, shares, etc.) results in more exposure for your business.
Involve Customers with the Shared Content
Combining engaging links with call-to-action engagement can have fantastic PR effects as well. For example, a local restaurant could have capitalized on the World Cup by providing a link to this article, which attracts with a name like “32 Delicious Things To Eat While You Watch The World Cup.” Then, when posting the link the restaurant can ask followers which item on the list is their favorite. The item with the most votes/mentions in the comments could warrant the restaurant adding the item to their menu as a special, which will elevate interest and may even result in press due to the innovative incorporation of the World Cup.
Make the CEO/Business Leader Accessible
It’s not a good look for a business to have an elusive, behind-the-scenes leader with no connection whatsoever with press and customers. Businesses conducting their own PR campaign should provide easy publicity access to their CEO, ideally by offering press contacts the ability to interview the CEO. The CEO is the central representative of the business, after all, and customers and partners alike will remain more committed to the business if its CEO is personable, passionate, and willing to talk.
Utilize Online Tools
There are several tools that businesses can use to make their PR for startups experience a more hassle-free one. They include:
- Mail Merge for Gmail offers the ability on Gmail to send 100 personalized emails per day using your spreadsheet of compiled press contacts.
- Online press release engines are effective ways to get your business’ press release read without bugging press contacts (who you should be contacting individually, anyway). Some recommended press release engines include 24-7pressrelease.com, PR.com or NewswireToday.com.
- Increase your business’ profile by contributing guest posts to your blog with a mention of your business at the end. Similarly, sites like Help A Reporter Out can connect you with a reporter that may be interested in an angle involving your business.
A relevant list of press contacts, along with daily personalized emails and an engaging social media presence, are essential in providing your business with the best do-it-yourself PR servicing possible. The tips above will help any business save on PR costs by allowing them to do it themselves.
As the marketing manager of a startup, I can agree with everything here. Thanks for the tips.
If I were a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, now I’d say “Kowabunga, dude!”