In a world where scrappy attitudes win, startups often have to fight for press just as hard as large companies, but without a mega-PR budget, it can be tough. Depending on what product the startup offers, different press might be important, but in the end; all press is good press.
While their funding stages may vary, and as a startup by definition this can change rapidly, here are five startups that have rocked PR this year.
1. Daily Muse
The Daily Muse is a YC alum and female founded startup and are on fire this year with mentions and publications in nearly every large communications channel out there. Whether it’s Good Morning America or featured by LinkedIn – Kathryn Minshew has been paving the path for great PR, pushing content through startup circles, professional circles, and becoming a thought leader in the female executive crowd. No matter the angel, DailyMuse makes sure their name comes up often and at the top.
Somehow every startup has heard of RapGenius, even if only a few know what they do. RapGenius, who also stole the show at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this year with their lively and annotated stage interview, has been growing and raising money like it’s going out of style, but what is most unique about what they are doing is how they keep their brand memorable and funny. In Mahbod Moghadam’s own words, they went from “homie sourced” to “baller sourced” when speaking about crowdsourced information.
While more mature than most “startups” and backed with almost $75M, Bonobos has become a sweetheart of a success story with Andy Dunn recently sharing more stories of the trials from earlier days at the startup. Andy has blogged about “dumb VCs,” depression, and one of the most trending pieces: “The Risk Not Taken, IMHO” that’s been gaining more and more attention. Bonobos is winning over the hearts of many startups and business owners alike and while they focus on stylish clothes, they are no doubt building an army of supporters.
Videos are key and Vooza has knocked a few out of the park, especially with one video in particular where all the bad habits of founders are put together in a satirical video by their CEO. Vooza itself is not a real company but is more of an internet icon and the fact that an unreal company can have a better PR campaign than most real ones should say something.
Lover.ly which focuses on helping soon to be brides and grooms plan a wedding, helps with inspiration and search. Kellee Khalil, founder and CEO, has done a great job in spreading the gospel and branding, able to gain exposure on TechCrunch and USA Today on the same day.
Building a brand at any stage usually has more to do with storytelling than PR budgets, and picking the right partners to help spread the word is always crucial. The same goes for negative stories. They can be spread quickly as we saw with Celery founder Peter Shih when he posted the reasons why he hates San Francisco. Not only did he become a trending meme (#petershihfacts on Twitter) and receive multiple rebutting stories in the media in return, he also upset founders, who bound together creating Tumblr and Facebook trending tools to watch the saga.
The short answer to great startup PR is to always make friends, make people feel good, and if you are going to trend on Twitter – make sure it’s a hashtag you like.
See a startup missing from the list? Let us know in the comments below!