For Onboardly, startupPR is a way of life. But we know that our advice and insight for getting great media coverage for your startup is just a drop in the ocean. With journalists’ inboxes being flooded regularly with pitches it can be a fight to the death to get your startup the media attention it deserves. So we gathered some of the best advice from the industry pros.
Before you send another pitch – take some advice from some of the startup world’s best and brightest:
1. “Don’t expect to tell the whole story, just enough to get them curious and wanting to know more.” ~ Don Dodge, Developer Advocate at Google.
2. “PR and marketing are the same thing. And they all come down to a single principle in today’s attention economy: doing interesting things. Businesses need to be create content and messages that facilitate their customers talking about them and their product.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Director of Marketing at American Apparel, Best-Selling Author
3. “If you consider PR to be purely news releases then you need to get back to the media relations that were actually supposed to be happening, where you build a relationship with journalists and reporters, call them and then pitch an idea after that.” ~ Gini Dietrich, CEO Arment Dietrich, author of @spinsuckspro
4. “Reporters aren’t really looking for someone to give them a beautiful, branded piece of content; they’re looking for something that’s interesting.” ~ Ed Zitron, Author of This Is How You Pitch: How to Kick Ass In Your First Years Of PR
5. “It’s all about having what they need in the moment – they’re looking for who’s got something interesting.” ~ Laura Garnett, Talent Strategist + Leadership Activator
6. “Don’t launch your company at SXSW – you’re there shouting in the midst of everybody shouting.” ~ Mark Suster, Entrepreneur and VC
7. “When you contact a reporter and they decline to write about your story, it’s not the end of the world. Get out of the “Goonies never say die” mentality and get on with the work of promoting your startup. There are other reporters who (if you have a good story) will be interested, so start looking for them.” ~ Jennifer L. Jacobson, Founder of Jacobson Communication.
8. “Your pitch to your favorite reporter should mimic the style of headline they’re likely to write, and, if possible, the subject of your pitch should mirror the headline of the story you’d like the reporter to publish about you.“ ~ Erica Swallow. Tech Journalist and long-time Mashable contributor.
9. “Don’t put your PR ahead of your product. Too often, there’s the idea that you can just message your way into a solution. But your product and user experience needs to be in a good place before you start thinking of how to talk about it.” ~ Katherine Barna, Head of PR at Tumblr
10. “Take it from me—there’s nothing more irritating to a journalist than seeing the same pushy name pop up in their inbox over and over again. Don’t mistake annoyance for persistence.” ~ Seth Porges, Contributor at Forbes
11. “Write succinct emails that lead with what you’re offering—whether it’s an exclusive interview with the company’s CEO, or exclusive content, or whatever. Don’t trust that a reporter will read the entire email.” ~ Courtney Dolan, Head of PR at W Magazine
12. “The best articles let readers learn from your experience, your mistakes, and your knowledge. Always focus on benefiting readers: When you do, your company gets to bask in the reflected PR glow.” ~ Dharmesh Shah, Founder of Hubspot
13. “My philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real.” ~ Jason Calacanis, Entrepreneur and Blogger
Oh, and what’s my tip? It’s simple:
Bonus Tip (#14): Ask lots of questions. Dig. First dig for a story. Ask yourself, your team or your clients lots of questions to dig out the interesting bits. Then, don’t assume your pitch to the media is going to be successful just because you wrote it. Ask journalists for permission to pitch them on a story. Ask them whether they’re interested in the subject matter. Ask them if they even have time to look at pitches.
You can get a long way in life by just being considerate.
What’s your favorite tip? Have one that should be added to the list? Leave a comment below to let us know.