If you’ve been struggling to get PR for your startup, you are not alone. In the last few years as thousands of new startups have popped up, it has become more and more difficult to cut through the clutter and get press and high profile mentions that can help drive traffic, authority, and respect within your industry.
In addition, the best PR professionals tend to focus on larger startups and bigger businesses that can support their ongoing work, and their ongoing (and monthly) fees. So there is both a dearth of quality PR professionals who are affordable, and a more cluttered and difficult landscape.
The good news is that there are some excellent online resources to help you master the skills you need to do the work required to get your startup noticed. We’ve pieced together some of the best resources that we’ve found online.
Before launching into learning startup PR though, there are a few things that you have to bring to the table:
Superb writing skills. A college degree is not required but you should be able to write at a very high level.
A great product. All the PR in the world will get you nowhere if your product does not solve a consumer problem and fill a gap in the related product/service landscape.
Passion and drive. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your product or service. Anything less will come across in writing or conversation.
1. Content Marketing
Blogging, or providing your target audience with with relevant and useful content, is not necessarily pure PR, but it is one of the cheapest and most proven methods to gain you some exposure and mentions, and typically has a high Return on Investment (ROI). The respected authority in this arena is Copyblogger, which recently launched an excellent online course called Authority. With weekly office hours with Copyblogger’s Brian Clark, premium and high quality content, videos and E-Books, Authority is a great resource to check out.
Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention, Onboardly’s Acquiring Customers Through Blogging course, which is more focused on acquiring customers than readers.
2. Link Building
Once you have your content engine going, it’s important to build relationships with more established sites in your industry or niche, which can be done via email outreach and guest posting, which requires a lot of pitching. There are a number of good online link-building courses that can help you refine your pitch process, with an emphasis on the new world of link-building, which is honest, value-focused, and nuanced
3. Search Engine Optimization
Link building and content marketing also fall within the spectrum of search engine optimization (SEO), which covers the technical aspects of ranking well in Google. Again, this is not traditional PR, but it is a critical aspect of another great way to raise awareness for your little company. Distilled U is the best SEO course out there. It comes from the best in the field, as Distilled is the sister consultancy to Moz, the famous SEO software company turned analytics suite.
4. Social Media
Then there is social social media, a powerful channel for spreading news and information about your company to the masses, and yet another way to get found. In this department, Hootsuite U and Social Media Marketing University are the resident experts.
5. Everything Else
The final item on this list is a catch all – Fizzle.co. It’s an online course platform that provides training on how to start and run an honest and profitable web businesses. After all, you need to need to start making some money so you can eventually hire your own startup PR firm! But seriously, Fizzle also has a strong focus on the importance of building relationships in business and an active community to share the highs and lows of entrepreneurship – something you might not find in your own life.
6. PR Is Not Quite What It Use To Be
You may have noticed that actual PR courses are conspicuously missing from this list. PR courses and certifications might be useful for a would-be PR professional, but even they would have to unlearn some the traditional PR tactics to truly help a startup. While knowing how to write a press release is useful, reporters are not waiting for your’s. You need to produce great content, find them, and make them aware of it, and the coursework above will help you do just that! Best of luck getting your startup publicity!
Got a favorite Startup PR course missing from the list? Tell us in the comments below! Feel like sharing your best Startup PR hack? Tweet us @Onboardly!
Brad Zomick works at SkilledUp.com, a leading curator of online educational content, including over 90,000 online courses from over 300 providers available in areas like Programming, Graphic Design, Content Creation, Marketing and more. Find the best online courses at SkilledUp.com to get skills and get ahead, and visit them on Facebook and Twitter.