Public Relations is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
We recently held a YV Community workshop with Ginger Agency, focusing on how to get your startup noticed in the press. This is what we learnt.
Start with your Audience
Not everybody is your audience and it’s important to be super clear about who you’re actually trying to reach with your story. Persona creations will help you develop a deeper understanding of your audience. This exercise will in turn inform your decisions as to which publications you want your press release to feature in, helping to focus your attention and efforts.
Generating ideas for your content
Get creative when it comes to thinking about content for your press releases and social channels. For a startup, any awards that you’ve won or milestones that you’ve hit (e.g. birthdays) can create some great engagement. Thought leadership pieces offering your unique perspective and/or results of surveys or research that you’ve carried out will also get people talking.
Top Tip: Research upcoming magazine features to proactively offer content to editors.
Craft your press release carefully
Start by leading with a positive message, and don’t be afraid to get creative. People lose focus and attention quickly, so be sure to convey the key message that you’re trying to get across in the opening paragraph before later diving into the details. To help with google and SEO, ensure that your company name is right at the top of the press release as this will work wonders for your keywords. You may need to tweak your press releases slightly depending on whether a publication is B2C or B2B, and you may also need to get the press release professionally translated for different countries and audiences.
The format and overall structure of your press release is important. The press release should be dated and you should include a “notes to editors” paragraph at the top of the document to include general information about your startup (i.e. your elevator pitch). Make sure the press release isn’t too long and be sure to include contact details for editors wanting to reach out for further information on the story. Make the editors job easy by including some imagery (not too large, and in jpg format) along with the copy.
Develop a media contacts list
Start developing a master list of your media targets and contacts from day one, and nurture those relationships with journalists from publications who’s readership heavily aligns with your target audience. Establish what success looks like for you in terms of PR coverage and be realistic in terms of which journalists or publications are likely to pick up the story. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to build rapport with a journalist, and think about hosting a ‘press event’ if the occasion is big enough (e.g. a launch party).
Top Tip: Most publications will have stands at major boat shows, so take advantage of the opportunity to meet journalists in person.
Finally, as a startup, it’s worth thinking about launch PR - you can often build drama and tease the launch of your new product or service, which should help to generate the biggest impact possible. Embargo press releases will also ensure that an announcement regarding a specific launch is shared with journalists prior to a specific publishing date. Finally, if there is a certain publication that you consider to be most important for your startup, consider giving exclusivity on the story or an exclusive interview to a particular journalist.
For more details or for a press release template, please contact Hayley Harris: