50 Shades of Startup PR

50 Shades of Startup PR

Christian Grey is a man of many things. A man of power, a man of wealth, a man with “singular tastes” and a red room of pain. Among his many traits, there is one thing a hundred million people worldwide who have read the book know to be true: Christian Grey isn’t into doing things the vanilla way.

Startup PR pros and Christian Grey have that in common.

With the number of PR pros in the United States outweighing the number of journalists, it is more important than ever for PR professionals to spice things up.

So in honor of this weekend’s theatrical release of Fifty Shades of Grey, we wanted to share our best 50 Startup PR tips that will help make 2015 your hottest year yet!

[Whips and chains = optional. So is clicking to Tweet any of the below. We'll leave it up to you.]

1. The number one rule of PR? Make friends before you need them. [Click to Tweet]

2. Your Rolodex is what you make it - organize and store your contacts in a way that helps you work most efficiently. [Click to Tweet]

3. Quid pro quo is alive and well. Give to get! [Click to Tweet]

4. Get to the point - fast. You’re dealing with busy people who don’t have time to sift through a novella to find your ask. [Click to Tweet]

5. Open with a question, leave a little mystery. Ask a direct question in your email subject for a higher open rate! [Click to Tweet]

6. Keep it casual. Effective PR is about making friends, not contacts. [Click to Tweet]

7. Be specific. Make the next step obvious. Don’t ask to talk “sometime next week.” Lead them in the right direction. [Click to Tweet]

8. Get on Twitter ASAP. Journalists and influencers love Twitter for the most part, and it’s the least aggressive/invasive way to make an initial connection. [Click to Tweet]

9. Eliminate the fluff. Journalists know when they’re being sold (it happens every day). Be upfront and honest. Avoid too many adjectives and hyperboles. [Click to Tweet]

10. What’s in it for them? Whenever possible, make it a mutually beneficial pitch. [Click to Tweet]

11. Data trumps all. Gather success stats and use them to build a compelling pitch. [Click to Tweet]

12. Sell your story, not your product. Keep focused on why the product exists and why you’re the team to deliver it. [Click to Tweet]

13. Always. Be. Pitching. 12 months a year. Use a calendar to pre-plan themes for each month. [Click to Tweet]

14. Review your pitches with the eye of a devil’s advocate. When in doubt, it’s probably not news. [Click to Tweet]

15. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Contributed content is a great way to share your opinion and get your company in the spotlight more frequently. [Click to Tweet]

16. Ask a journalist’s permission to be pitched before throwing your pitches blindly into the wind. [Click to Tweet]

17. Be on the lookout for timely and seasonal tie-ins. [Click to Tweet]

18. Poll your community or user base to extract tidbits of information that will be valuable for pitches. [Click to Tweet]

19. Create content-based resources like ebooks, white papers and guides to help your community learn. If they’re great, the media can use them as sources. [Click to Tweet]

20. Public Relations is Human Relations. Ultimately it’s the relationships that you build and nurture with journalists that will lead to the most impact in the long run. [Click to Tweet]

21. Never underestimate the value of niche media. If you’re highly targeted and the message is one that the niche audience will relate to - it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. [Click to Tweet]

22. PR is a team effort. Everyone on your team needs to think like a publicist and have their eyes open for media-worthy nuggets. [Click to Tweet]

23. Passion is contagious - a compelling story told by founders can be worth its weight in gold. [Click to Tweet]

24. Rule of three: Don’t try to get more than three supporting points across in a pitch or media release. Focus on one big idea then use three strong points to validate that idea. [Click to Tweet]

25. Always measure the impact of your outreach so that you can learn what type of media converts better than others. [Click to Tweet]

26. Reading is the inhale, pitching is the exhale. Read all you can to see what headlines and stories get picked up by journalists. This will help you hone your craft and better understand the language journalists respond to. [Click to Tweet]

27. Read your press releases and pitches out loud to ensure they pass your own bullshit filter. You want to sound human, not corporate. [Click to Tweet]

28. Read subject lines and headlines backwards to check for typos, grammatical errors and overall effect. [Click to Tweet]

29. Always be on the lookout for ways to help journalists with a story on Twitter or HARO. [Click to Tweet]

30. Don’t be afraid of the competition. Collaborate with them to build a collective pitch that will ultimately generate more awareness for your industry. [Click to Tweet]

31. Invest in great photos of your team and product in action to tell a better story. [Click to Tweet]

32. Great publicists don’t spin the news - they find a truthful angle that appeals to the audience and they tell an amazing story. [Click to Tweet]

33. PR is not just publicity: it’s planning, strategy and execution. [Click to Tweet]

34. Measure your PR efforts. Analyzing and interpreting your data set is the cornerstone of a successful campaign. [Click to Tweet]

35. Press releases are dying. Tell a really great story instead. [Click to Tweet]

36. For every PR move, there is an equal and opposite reaction as well as a social media overreaction. [Click to Tweet]

37. PR is not free. But the time and energy you invest into it will be costly but worth it. [Click to Tweet]

38. When you really want your story told, offer an exclusive to the outlet that deserves it most. [Click to Tweet]

39. Pitch outside the office when you can. Switch up your pitching locations to really, truly get in the zone and have fresh ideas. [Click to Tweet]

40. Learn from rejection: every no is a future yes if you take a moment to learn from it. [Click to Tweet]

41. Can’t find a journalist’s email? Sign up for a premium account on LinkedIn and send them an InMail. [Click to Tweet]

42. Be ready and willing to give interviews. If you offer the press your news, it’s your job to speak to it. [Click to Tweet]

43. Launches can ALWAYS be pushed. Never launch a rushed product or website design. [Click to Tweet]

44. Your CEO or Founder should always be your spokesperson: they tell your story best. [Click to Tweet]

45. When it comes to pitches, quality over quantity. Every time. Several strong, researched and targeted pitches are better than fifty sent out blindly. [Click to Tweet]

46. As a rule of thumb, wait three business days to follow up with a journalist. If it’s time sensitive, wait AT LEAST 24 hours before sending a follow-up. [Click to Tweet]

47. Journalists love numbers. Know yours: users, revenue, growth, traffic. [Click to Tweet]

48. Do your best work during the pitching hours. Be mindful of timezones and never start pitching before 9:00am EST. No journalist wants to wake up to an inbox of pitches to tend to. [Click to Tweet]

49. Pitch when journalists are active on Twitter. During daytime hours, it often means they’re online and working. [Click to Tweet]

50. Last -- but not least -- just like Christian Grey, always be open to trying new techniques and moves. The PR industry is constantly changing and rapidly so. Stay ahead of the game by keeping it fresh and exciting. [Click to Tweet]

What is your hottest PR tip for 2015? We’d love to hear it in the comments below or tweet us @onboardly!

[Photo credit: MoviePilot.com]

What do you think?


Thanks for sharing…

Thanks for checking it out Robert 🙂

This is great! But how do you distinguish the line between being friendly and just being downright annoying?

Two things: respect their time and don’t be greedy. In the fast-paced world of PR, sometimes we need coverage and we need coverage fast, but in no way should we ever rush or pressure a journalist. Respect proper follow-up times and never harass them via multiple mediums (phone, Twitter, email) if you haven’t heard back. Second – don’t be greedy. When you get great coverage from a journalist, don’t run back to them a week or month later and ask for another favor. Always be making new connections so that you have a large network to pitch that is always expanding. By adding new journalists to the mix, you’re not relying on bugging your go-to journalists. Hope this helps 🙂