What is PR?
PR is your reputation
•It is what people say about you whether in a newspaper, on a
blog, on Twitter or to a colleague at an event like this one
•It is about good word-of-mouth that supports sales and
•Your reputation is everything and in today’s connected world,
where a good name can be damaged in a few keystrokes,
looking after your reputation is crucial
»Yes, PR is your reputation and your reputation is
crucial to your business. Every company needs PR
whatever its size.
»However, most startups not need a PR agency –
when you are small, you can manage your
Does my startup need PR?
» Ensure you have a clear message about what you do. Keep it
simple. Make clear what value you add.
» Leverage your network. Use your connections to spread your
news among peers, friends, potential customers and
» Use social tools and channels to spread your message.
» Listen to what customers and peers are saying about you. Be
responsive and transparent.
» Avoid hyperbole. Only say you’re unique if you really are.
Some PR basics
Things to remember
»PR does not replace sales. It supports them. People
buy from brands they trust
»PR – that is, building up a reputation -- takes time.
Expect it to take six to nine months, depending on
whether or not you already have traction in your
»News can be
» New product (with customers)
» Expansion, growth (or failure)
» A change in direction
» New customer wins
» A significant new hire
» We’re still here
» Product still selling
» Our existing product is better than our competitor’s new product that
you just wrote about - why don’t you write about us?
So what makes news?
Timeliness: news agendas – the ones that happen
yearly, and the ones that just happen: naturals
disasters, attacks by Anonymous. Is what you are
doing a part of the news agenda of the day?
The news agenda
Important questions to ask
» Why now? Why should a reporter write your story today?
» What is new and different? Is your technology disruptive or a
refinement? Or has it been done before?
» What impact are you having? How does your news affect your industry,
your competition – will it change things in any way?
» Relevant? Is your news relevant to the publication/journalist you are
targeting? Is it of interest to their readers?
» Controversial? Will it divide opinion, will it get people talking?
»Announcing news via a press release
»Comment: jumping on the news agenda
»Letters to the editor
»Technical articles/white papers
Ways to get coverage
» Limited to three to five messages
» Support with proof points
» Concise, clear, understandable
» Company boilerplate: a concise paragraph about you, your mission, your team
» Biographiess of key management
» Testimonials: what do others have to say about your product?
» Company fact sheet: a one page document describing your product, features,
and target market
» A Q&A for internal use – how do you answer the tough questions?
Documents to prepare
Typically, a press release will follow this format:
»Topic sentence: what you are announcing
»Subheader: how this affects the industry
»Tell the news in the headline - keep is short and factual
»Paragraph one: what you are announcing, and what are the immediate
and long term benefits
»Paragraph two: give more detail about the news. Use examples
»Paragraph three: use a quote from a key partner, customer, or
influencer to discuss how they use your service
»Paragraph four: use a quote from your founder, or CEO to talk about
the larger vision of your company. how does your announcement help
you achieve that vision? What is next?
»Paragraph five (if necessary): technical details and requirements
»Paragraph six: your company boilerplate
Writing a press release
Pitching a press release
» Pull out the key points from the press release to tell target media via
email/social media or on the phone
» To get a journalist’s attention, the pitch needs to be short and relevant
to their readers
» Give media the news a day or two before you want them to write, to
give them time to research and write up
» Remember: journalists get hundreds of pitches a day, so you only have a
few seconds to capture their attention
Don’t worry about entering to win!
These are great to meet investors. But don’t become a
perpetual competitor -- 3 is about the limit.
Want to talk about which ones to enter? Let’s discuss how to
decide – Seedcamp, Pioneers, LW, TNW, TC Disrupt, etc.
Ballou PR Networking Tips & Etiquette
»It’s very important not to be the creepy lurking person. Very.
»Be thoughtful of speakers, VCs and journalists, they get LEAPT upon at
conferences: don’t approach someone when they are in the middle of
something, for example, when they are mobbed, trying to get off a stage, or
trying to leave the venue
»Watch the other person for cues, such as body language, on when to wrap things
up. Accept when they have to end the conversation.
»Remember that the point is NOT to hog the other person’s time for an hour. The
point is to be compelling and memorable. Say your piece, then let them be.
»Always re-introduce yourself to people. Never say “Do you remember me?” It
puts the other person in a terrible position.
»When someone re-introduces themselves to you, don’t make them feel stupid or
rude for possibly not remembering you. They are trying to help you. Don’t repay
kindness by making them feel like an idiot
Ballou PR Networking Tips & Etiquette/continued
»Bring a wingman, or better yet, a wingwoman. They can make sure you
get into and out of conversations smoothly, help you with names, etc.
»Building on the wingman concept: an introduction is gold. Get a mutual
friend or colleague to introduce you – it’s more powerful
»Have a clear “ask” if you are trying to speak to someone, and get to the
point. Don’t just say, “We should have coffee.”
»If appropriate, consider approaching with a “give” instead of an “ask”– “I
saw on Twitter that you are keen to invest in the Baltics, may I help you
get to know Estonia?”
»Get the business card. Give yours.