Getting noticed is a HUGE part in running a startup, you won’t get anywhere without being noticed! Press Relations (PR) is one powerful way to help you get noticed! PR, Do it right.
First, make sure you have something (new) to say! But remember that something can be a good PR strategy – one that shares your “story” and lays it out over time. Of course it can be a new product, new innovation, customer traction, tradeshow, demo, award etc. Some folks will say that if you don’t get major stories, a PR campaign has failed, but the reality is, putting press releases “out there” and having them picked up on websites, LinkedIn etc starts to get people hearing and seeing about you, so that when you are ready to connect with journalists about very specific story lines, you aren’t a “dark horse”. To me that’s worth an investment of some time and money.
Here’s some thoughts about writing a good release to get some attention (in this day and age I am avoiding the word “buzz” on purpose!).
Foolproof formula for a good Press Release:
1) Exciting Headline
2) Exciting Sub-Headline
3) First Paragraphs says “what” and answers the “So-What”
4) Second paragraph has a quote from a 3rd party (analyst, customer, partner etc)
5) Third paragraph no one reads but you have to have on anyway – make it sound good
6) Decent boilerplate about your company (read what the big guys say and imitate them!)
Below are some of my tips for making PR pay off for you:
- Be sure you know what you want to accomplish with a PR strategy (but don’t be afraid to ask the PR team what they think that can help you accomplish)
- At the end of the day, you need to be a customer-funded business – but what are the steps that can be taken in the media to help you get there?
- Do you need to be a “thought leader”? Viewed as a “market leader” (assuming you are)? Get attention for a groundbreaking new product or just increase visibility?
- Remember that the media doesn’t care about YOU, they care about THEIR problems. So, if you can provide a solution to them, they’ll help you by providing coverage. What do they need? Stories – interesting stuff that people want to read about, that is new and different, in a word “NEWS”
- Pay for PR!
- Pay for Performance
- Unless you’re already a PRO, you really don’t have the expertise, connections and time to make this a DIY project!
- Be cautious about Retainers (I think of them in “people equivalents”) – but with a good firm, a retainer won’t break your bank and you’ll get a constant supply of the work that you need to become a thought leader in your marketplace, plus strategic help (which you need, I promise)
- Make sure senior people are doing the WORK not just pitching the client in your account – but there will be a team of all levels of experience. The good news about a smaller firm is that there is less overhead to pay for.
- Make sure they can help you develop a PR strategy, not just an “announcement” strategy. Look for a cool and creative team that fits your needs.
- Press – know your targets and feed them story ideas.
- Make sure your agency is on the list of reporters looking for leads.
- Work with your local business press to get coverage.
- Sometimes Biz Magazines and often trade publications are more interested than news outlets.
- Have an interesting story to tell!
- Get some good practice telling your story in a press-ready way- be ready for radio/podcast, print/online, and TV/video
- If you’ve never had media training – get some! Your PR firm should be able to help and you should be willing to listen to their coaching. People who are “good guests” get invited back and get talked about!