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The Beginners Guide to Startup PR #startuppr

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The Beginners Guide to
PR for

Startups
presents
Table of Contents
Foundation Research Perfecting the Pitch
● Defining PR in 2014
● Public Relations vs. Human Relations
● Making Friends, Not Contacts
!
!
● Defining Success
● Choosing the right journalists
● Understanding the media
● Niche vs. Broad outlets
● Putting together a press kit
● Positioning statements
● Making things personal
● What’s in it for them?
● Keeping it concise
● Newsjacking 101
Media Outreach Measuring Success Best Practices
● Sending your pitch
● Timing is everything
● The follow-up process
● Accepting ‘no’ and moving on
● When to guest blog instead
● Setting up analytics tools
● Media doesn’t guarantee success
● Knowing when to say ‘no’
● Brainstorming creative new ideas
● Media Monitoring
● Tools of the Trade
● Use all your resources
Slides 4-8 Slides 9-14 Slides 15-20
Slides 21-26 Slides 27-31 Slides 32-35
Many startups still believe public relations begins and ends with receiving a
nod from TechCrunch. 



Startup success stories are no longer written with thanks to the media. In
today’s ecosystem overflowing with startup ideas, to ‘launch’ is simply not
enough justification for media coverage.
Overnight success stories are a thing of the past, and we say it’s time for a
refreshing new take on PR. 



What worked last year isn’t going to work today.
The secret is in adopting a human approach to PR.
Introduction
Foundation
Step away from the keyboard. Don’t send another haphazard
pitch to a journalist without understanding the basics.
The golden rule? Always make friends before you need them.
Defining PR in 2014
The name of the game is changing. No longer just about press releases
and embargoes - the definition of PR isn’t as cut and dry as it once was.
The homepage of Forbes? Yes, that’s PR, but so is your contributed
piece to Entrepreneur or HubSpot. In 2014, thought-leaders are just as
much media rockstars, as Mick Jagger himself.
Whether you’re a publicist, a growth hacker, or rockstar - you’re in the
business of PR and it’s time to take advantage of it.
Public Relations vs. Human
Relations
A PR person has coverage and favorable
public image in mind. They’re self-serving.



A human relations pro works hard for
meaningful, social relations that provide
value and create long-lasting relationships.
They’re selfless.
Which do you think has a greater impact
on your business in the long run? Which
would you rather have represent your
company?

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The Beginners Guide to Startup PR #startuppr

  • 1. The Beginners Guide to PR for
 Startups presents
  • 2. Table of Contents Foundation Research Perfecting the Pitch ● Defining PR in 2014 ● Public Relations vs. Human Relations ● Making Friends, Not Contacts ! ! ● Defining Success ● Choosing the right journalists ● Understanding the media ● Niche vs. Broad outlets ● Putting together a press kit ● Positioning statements ● Making things personal ● What’s in it for them? ● Keeping it concise ● Newsjacking 101 Media Outreach Measuring Success Best Practices ● Sending your pitch ● Timing is everything ● The follow-up process ● Accepting ‘no’ and moving on ● When to guest blog instead ● Setting up analytics tools ● Media doesn’t guarantee success ● Knowing when to say ‘no’ ● Brainstorming creative new ideas ● Media Monitoring ● Tools of the Trade ● Use all your resources Slides 4-8 Slides 9-14 Slides 15-20 Slides 21-26 Slides 27-31 Slides 32-35
  • 3. Many startups still believe public relations begins and ends with receiving a nod from TechCrunch. 
 
 Startup success stories are no longer written with thanks to the media. In today’s ecosystem overflowing with startup ideas, to ‘launch’ is simply not enough justification for media coverage. Overnight success stories are a thing of the past, and we say it’s time for a refreshing new take on PR. 
 
 What worked last year isn’t going to work today. The secret is in adopting a human approach to PR. Introduction
  • 4. Foundation Step away from the keyboard. Don’t send another haphazard pitch to a journalist without understanding the basics. The golden rule? Always make friends before you need them.
  • 5. Defining PR in 2014 The name of the game is changing. No longer just about press releases and embargoes - the definition of PR isn’t as cut and dry as it once was. The homepage of Forbes? Yes, that’s PR, but so is your contributed piece to Entrepreneur or HubSpot. In 2014, thought-leaders are just as much media rockstars, as Mick Jagger himself. Whether you’re a publicist, a growth hacker, or rockstar - you’re in the business of PR and it’s time to take advantage of it.
  • 6. Public Relations vs. Human Relations A PR person has coverage and favorable public image in mind. They’re self-serving.
 
 A human relations pro works hard for meaningful, social relations that provide value and create long-lasting relationships. They’re selfless. Which do you think has a greater impact on your business in the long run? Which would you rather have represent your company?
  • 7. We Say: Make Friends, Not Contacts 1. Cold Call No More - Long gone are the days of generic pitches, cold calls or emails. If you don’t know the person you’re pitching, consider putting on the brakes and heading back to the drawing board. 2. Cut the “Blah Blah” - If your pitches lack authenticity (and worse yet - if they don’t deliver value), all a journalist hears is “blah, blah, blah.” Cut the buzzwords and focus on value. 3. The Value of One Friend - Another golden PR rule? Quality over quantity. Focus on strengthening the relationships you have with your existing contacts to make them more meaningful and personal.
  • 8. Forget playing the numbers game. Pitching 100 journalists may be less effective than building a relationship with three. Pick three, and start getting to know them today. - What do they write about? - Where do they socialize online? - Who might you have in common?
 
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  • 31.   Try This At Home [Exercise]: Find 3 Journalists You Think Will Love Your Idea
  • 32. Research You wouldn’t vacation somewhere without doing a little digging first, would you? Then why would you pitch a journalist you know nothing about?
  • 33. Defining Success PR is only part of a comprehensive marketing and branding strategy. 
 
 Always take the time to define what your ‘big picture’ of success looks like, integrating PR effort throughout the process.
 Avoid vanity metrics (like the number of PR mentions you collect.) Instead, focus on the return on your PR investment: new relationships, inbound leads and of course - new customers.
  • 34. Choosing the Right Journalists The key to getting great coverage is to start with a journalist that covers your industry! ! Once you’ve identified writers who have covered similar themes, get to know them. • Engage with them on Twitter. • Comment on their articles. • Introduce yourself over email in a non-promotional way. Tip:
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  • 47. Understanding The Media Though they can be intimidating, journalists are people too. They have deadlines and long to-do lists just like us. They’re also cautious of PR pros without their best interest in mind. Don’t be that guy. Always be mindful of this and pitch respectfully. Keep it tight and to the point. Know your WHY, know your hook. The rest are minor details they can ask later. TIP:
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  • 58. Niche Vs. Broad Outlets Identify your target outlets based on your desired audience. While the homepage of TechCrunch will get you recognition and a spike in traffic, coverage in your industry’s niche outlets is more likely to convert to customers. 1. Choose Niche If You Are… Seeking high quality leads generated from your target demographic. 2. Choose Broad If You Are… Seeking some time in the spotlight and looking for recognition in outlets your fans, friends, and family will recognize.
  • 59. Building A Press Kit ! It may sound silly, but a press kit (and press page) can be a killer resource. A press kit is the one-stop-shop for everything a journalist or influencer will need to get a snapshot of your company. Your press page? A brag worthy showcase of your hard work. Don’t be modest - you’re doing something incredible, share your story and the journey you took to get there with everyone: in one location (Dropbox, zip folder, your website.) By having items like your press release, founder bios, head shots, team photo(s) and screenshots easily accessible, it will save both you and the journalist time. Time that can be dedicated to preparing an awesome piece on your company.
  • 60. Perfecting the Pitch Practice makes perfect. Your pitch is no exception. It can mean the difference between a killer launch or a snooze fest.
  • 61. Crafting Positioning Statements A strong positioning statement is the elevator pitch of the media world. Perfect it and you’re in. What problem is your startup aiming to solve? How would you explain that to someone? Your positioning statement will look a lot like your value proposition. TIP:
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  • 72. Making it Personal Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day - how will you ensure that your pitch stands out? By making it personal. Keep it human. Use a casual subject line instead of one baited with buzz words or flashy embargos. A simple “Hey Joe!” works 90% of the time. Hey Joe!
  • 73. “What’s in it for them?” Treat others the way you want to be treated. No matter how badly you want coverage, always respect the journalist and their time. No one likes being on the receiving end of a sales pitch. It’s important to be mindful of how you can help them. Real PR is about building relationships that will be mutually beneficial for the long term. [Tweet this]
  • 74. Keep it Tight A common mistake is trying to include every last detail into your pitch. Instead, prepare for Permission Based PR. We mentioned that an introduction email to journalists is helpful. Permission Based PR takes it one step further. Introduce yourself and ask the journalist if you can share a few high level points about what you’re working on. For example: Hey Jane! I’m with company XYZ and I’d love to share a few bullet points with you on what we’re working on if that’s ok with you! Be mindful of the journalist and the message you are trying to send. Ask First. Pitch Second. (We’ll address this more in the next section.)
  • 75. Newsjacking 101 Oh, newsjacking! The fine art of taking someone else’s news and piggybacking on its worth. While this may sound shady, if done properly (and tastefully) newsjacking can be a great opportunity to weigh in on hot new industry trends as a thought leader. How will Apple’s new iOS affect your platform? Why is your App the replacement for those in Flappy Bird withdrawal? By constantly listening and monitoring the media and industry trends and news, you can strike while the iron is hot and score yourself a great story in conjunction with hot topic everyone’s already talking about.
  • 76. Media Outreach The time has come. It’s time to pitch. While the idea of sending your life’s work into the universe in the form of a few strong sentences in an email can seem daunting - you’re ready and you’ve got this.
  • 77. Sending Your Pitch You’ve worked hard to craft a great pitch - don’t let it go to waste in inbox purgatory. Always pitch during Pitching Hours aka optimal times of day and the week. While it’s a nice idea to get ahead on the weekend or late at night - most main stream media aren’t responding to emails at all hours of the day. The result? Your email is banished to a horrible inbox fate.
  • 78. Best Day Time to Send To be most effective, stick with weekday mornings. Any time during EST or PST business hours is ideal. Take a Cue from Social: Wait for journalists to be active on Twitter before you hit send on your pitch email. If they haven’t tweeted in days, they may be out of the office. TIP:
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  • 100. The Follow-up Process Every day, thousands of emails get lost in inboxes everywhere. Chances are, your email will be among the missing more than once. It happens to the best of us. It’s totally acceptable to send a follow-up to journalists, but always wait at least 48 hours to do so and try to keep your follow-up limited to one or two lines. TIP:
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  • 112. Accepting Rejection Just like many of our emails get lost in inbox limbo, even the most seasoned PR pros are faced with rejection on a daily basis. It’s all part of the experience. We promise. Next time a journalist says no, keep your chin up. Stay motivated. A strong backbone is key to surviving the world of PR. While you should never take rejection personally, if it’s happening frequently, do take a moment to consider it and ask yourself if your pitch could be stronger. Is it littered with buzz words? Are you coming off too salesy? While some journalists can be unnecessarily harsh, many are trying to help. Sometimes
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  • 142. Guest Blogging Guest blogging is an incredible way to build your influence and establish expertise in your field. Often a well positioned guest post will lead to more engagement than an article in the media. This may be your opportunity to share your opinion on a topic related to your startup. Remember: The content you contribute should be authentic and original. Look for contributing guidelines and follow the process. If there are none, reach out (via email or Social Media) to the editor to ask if you can contribute a piece of content.
  • 143. Measuring Success While PR by nature is focused on visibility (which can be intangible at times) - it’s important to always understand the impact of your efforts.
  • 144. Setting Up Analytics Tools The key to measuring success is a great analytics tool. Google Analytics is a no-frills solution. If you need something more user-friendly and advanced, tools like KISSmetrics are available (especially great for products that have a checkout). All analytics tools will have you insert a snippet of code on your website, so be sure they are committed to preserving fast load times.
  • 145. When Media ≠ Instant Success When setting out with your eyes on the prize, it’s important to know that even the best media placements don’t always guarantee a conversion. But they do add to top-of-mind awareness and stronger reputation. Just because your potential customer didn’t click through to your website or sign-up for their free trial, doesn’t mean that you failed to leave an impression. In many cases, they may find themselves Googling you days or even weeks later.
  • 146. Knowing when to say No Some media opportunities may not be worth the investment in time. Here’s when: • If the audience / readership doesn’t match with your product offering; • When the news outlet or blog gets very little traffic; • When you’ve posted to that outlet before and it’s generated no traffic / interest; • When you sense an ulterior motive;
  • 147. Brainstorming Creative New Ideas Eventually, your pitch is going to run its course. Measuring engagement analytics over a period of time will give you an idea of what type of media works and what doesn’t. Even the best story will eventually run it’s course with the media. Injecting new ideas into the mix is critical. TIP:
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  • 178. Best Practices Braving the world of PR can be scary, but armed with the right tips and tricks, it’s your world for the taking. Here are 10 of our best practices to help you achieve media success.
  • 179. Best Practices What are the industry experts saying? What are the top startups doing? Here are some of our #StartupPR best practices. 1. Know your story. Use your story to differentiate yourself from the competition. Having a relatable story is a fast-track to establishing authentic relationships. 2. Go Niche. While mainstream media generate the clicks and the attention, niche outlets are where your customers are. 3. Ask first, pitch second. When you’re just getting to know a journalist, always execute permission based PR first to generate trust.
  • 180. Best Practices (cont.) 4. Follow up respectfully. Don’t harass journalists over the phone or via every social network that was ever invented. Send one strong follow-up 48 hours later and respect their time. 5. Brevity is key. Less is more. This applies to everything from your media release to your pitch. Know your WHY, know your hook. The rest are minor details. 6. Try reverse pitching. Sign up for Help a Reporter Out and receive three emails a day filled with journalist queries in a number of industries - including yours! 7. Ask for advice. Use a platform such as Clarity to ask journalists for advice instead of asking them to cover your story.
  • 181. Best Practices (cont) 8. Make friends first. Follow your favourite journalists on Twitter and engage with them regularly. Comment on their articles and share via social. Do all of this before you need their help. 9. Practice your pitch out loud. If it sounds stupid or salesy when you read it, don’t send it. 10. Timing is everything. Try to reach out to journalists during business hours and wait for them to be active on social media. !
  • 182. Public Relations is Human Relations. It’s time to change the perspective of PR and put the “human” back into our relations. Conclusion