PR for Startups
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PR for Startups



We’ve all heard about the “Power of PR” – but how do you go about harnessing it and making it work for your start-up? Contrary to popular belief, start-ups can actually generate effective PR ...

We’ve all heard about the “Power of PR” – but how do you go about harnessing it and making it work for your start-up? Contrary to popular belief, start-ups can actually generate effective PR without having to hire a big agency. This presentation offers the inside scoop from a PR industry veteran on the foundational elements, strategies and valuable shortcuts you need to create buzz, attract investors and drive sales/traffic.



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PR for Startups PR for Startups Presentation Transcript

  • @EmilyJS3INTRODUCTIONEmily Scherberth – Founder & CEO of Symphony PR &Marketing, Inc.17+ years experience in PR and integrated marketingSpecializes in early-stage companies, primarily in technology& digital mediaPast experience: YouTube, Justin.tvYahoo!, thismoment,, Citysearch,, Nike, General Motors, NestléAdjunct Professor, PR & Social Media at Loyola MarymountUniversityM.A. Communication Studies at California StateUniversity, Northridge#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3OVERVIEWPositioning & MessagingMedia RelationsPR StaffingQ&A#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3POSITIONING & MESSAGING#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3POSITIONING & MESSAGINGYou only get one chance to tell your storyIf you don‟t define your story, someone else will doit for you!Single most important foundation to build prior tolaunch#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3SIX-STEP PROCESS1. Start with your brand identity2. Articulate your most important offerings for eachaudience3. Create narratives that provide context4. Provide proof points for how you deliver5. Develop strategic anecdotes and examples#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3SIX-STEP PROCESS6. Create your “elevator pitch” or one-sentencepositioning statement• Needs to be strategic, differentiated and sometimes, aspirational• Serves as the basis of your “boiler plate” in all pressmaterials, collateral, etc.• Circulate among employees so all external messages areconsistent#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3LEADING COMPANY POSITIONINGCompany PositioningGoogle is a global technology leader focused on improving theways people connect with information.YouTube is the world’s most popular online video communityallowing millions of people to discover, watch and shareoriginally-created, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company…[that] offersEarths Biggest Selection…[and] seeks to be Earths mostcustomer-centric company.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3EVOLVES WITH THE BUSINESSThen:Googles innovative search technologies connect millions ofpeople around the world with information every day.Now:Google is a global technology leader focused on improving theways people connect with information. Google’s innovations inweb search and advertising have made its website a top internetproperty and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3Then:“Twitter is a text messaging service that lets people sendnotes to groups.”(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, August 2006)Now:Twitter is a real-time information network that connectsyou to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news aboutwhat you find interesting.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3Then:“Pinterest is a self-expression engine” – SahilLavingia, PinterestNow:Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing “virtual pinboard” interface.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3BANNED WORDSRevolutionize Unique#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3STARTUP CASE STUDYChallenge• New entrant into cluttered deal space dominated by Groupon & LivingSocial• Crucial to create a compelling position for Bevvy in the market that highlightedits differentiatorsStrategy• Symphony recommended that Bevvy avoid the label “deal site” and insteadbecome a “nightlife reservation site” that offers insider access andongoing, preferred pricing at exclusive nightlife venues.Results• Messaging was successfully carried through in Bevvys launch coverage• PR generated a 20 percent conversion rate for new members• Helped the company stand out of the crowd of deal sites and create a niche ofits own.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3MEDIA RELATIONS#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENTReporters/bloggers/influencers get inundated with badpitches every day (and they‟re not afraid to tweet about it)#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT1. Show respect, be humble2. Read their coverage & follow them on Twitter3. Make sure you‟re relevant & have real news4. Speak like a human5. Take Kenny‟s advice & know when to “fold „em”#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3RELATIONSHIPSThey take time, but they‟re worth itBUT: they don‟t replace need to have somethingnewsworthyBe a resource, even if you have nothing to gainHelp keep your company top-of-mind withreporters#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3KEY STORY DRIVERSKey Company MilestonesFunding/RevenuesTraffic/UsagePersonnel AnnouncementsProduct DevelopmentNew Products/FeaturesInnovative TechnologyIndustry Trend StoriesMomentum/critical massTrends among usersBusiness Development/SalesNew Partnerships/DealsCase Studies/Testimonials#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3ANNOUNCEMENTSTRATEGY OPTIONSThe Exclusive: give the story to one key reporterThe Pre-Brief: give the story to 4-6 reporters under embargoPre-Pitch: send press release to key reporters day before itgoes over the wire for wide distributionSEO Announcement: put release over wire for SEOpurposes; little coverage expected#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3THE PRESS RELEASEYou don‟t need one to get coverage!Sometimes a compelling email pitch is moreeffectiveSave press releases for big company news#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3PRESS ROOMSMandatory press page on your company website shouldinclude:• Company backgrounder/executive bios• Product fact sheet• Logos (hi-res JPEG, EPS)• Videos (company/product overview)• Recent press releases• Meaningful media coverage#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3FREE MEDIA RELATIONS RESOURCESFree service that connects journalistsand sourcesListing of reporters on Twitter by beatsSocial & search-optimized press release& pitch distribution (freemium)#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3PR STAFFING#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3WHEN DO I NEED PR?3-4 weeks prior to hard launch formessaging, press materials and media strategyConsider soft launch, influencer outreach first (e.g.Scoble)Get multiple opinions on timing from PRconsultants, product team, partners, investors, etc.#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3PR STAFFINGMain Staffing Question: PR Firm, Consultant or In-House?Key considerations:• Scope of work• Budget• Timing• GeographyCEO always needs to be involved in the PR processMake sure to maintain an ongoing dialogue with your PRteam – they can‟t function in a silo!#pr4startups
  • @EmilyJS3THANK YOU!!#pr4startups