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Startup PR: Getting Press on a Tight Budget

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The right coverage in the right publications can be a catalyst for user growth, but media coverage doesn't happen overnight.

Join our E-Seminar with MIT Bootcamps coach and MIT Sloan alumna, veteran journalist, and entrepreneur Erica Swallow. Learn how to perfect your startup's pitch and effectively communicate with the press. Armed with best practices and behind-the-scenes case studies, Erica will teach you the basics of PR for startups, so that you're ready to catch the attention of almost any journalist you're trying to reach.

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Startup PR: Getting Press on a Tight Budget

  1. 1. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Startup PR: Getting Press on a Budget MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP
  2. 2. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Discussion Overview • Interact with journalists • Understand the lingo • Compose engaging pitches 2
  3. 3. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP What is Startup PR? • No reputation • No budget • No time 3 • Newness • Passion • No PR experience
  4. 4. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP About Your Instructor 4
  5. 5. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP I’ve Been Everywhere, Man! 5
  6. 6. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Key Points 1. Craft a concise, value-driven message 2. Know what’s newsworthy 3. Offer up unique data 4. Understand the journalist’s coverage area 5. Know the lingo 6. Send awesome emails 7. Tweet it up 8. Behold the power of reverse pitching 6
  7. 7. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Craft a concise, value-driven message 7
  8. 8. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Crafting a Message 8 • Fill in the blank: “[My startup] is a _____.” • Cut down on industry jargon • Use it everywhere
  9. 9. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP 9 Skillshare is a community Marketplace to learn anything From anyone.
  10. 10. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP 10 Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces around the world online or from an iPhone.
  11. 11. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP 11 Lot18 is a membership by invitation website for wine and epicurean products from coveted producers at attractive discounts.
  12. 12. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP No! No! NO! Companies are now adopting the same level of attention to data–driven design, optimization, engagement and monetization that their social game counterparts are. And, many of them are winning big. Company X, a user analytics firm based in SF, helps them to do so – would you be interested in learning more? 12
  13. 13. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Even Better… My company (company name), is developing (a defined offering) to help (a target audience) (solve a problem) (with secret sauce). 13
  14. 14. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP 14 My company, Flat-Club, is developing an online marketplace to help students and alumni of top universities find short-term accommodation by leveraging existing social networks to create trust.
  15. 15. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Know what’s newsworthy 15
  16. 16. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP What is Newsworthy? • Startup’s launch • New product • Study or data • Current event • Partnership 16
  17. 17. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Startup’s Launch / Relaunch “Bizzy is going to change local search by launching a Bizzy Recommendation Engine and Local Business Census at the end of the month and the Founder and President of Bizzy, Gadi Shamia, would like to sit down with you prior to the announcement to show you how the engine will work. The Local Business Census will ask users 20 questions about the local businesses in their area in order to gage their preferences. Once complete, Bizzy will have what it needs to provide you with a recommendation the way a friend would in a fun and interactive way. So far there have really been two tiers of online local search: 1) Yellow Pages and 2) Yelp and Zagat's reviews. We are moving into the third tier of predictive technology, creating the ability to provide users and consumers with recommendations based on their preferences. Bizzy's recommendations wont just be based on what your friends like or recommend - because we don't necessarily always agree with what our friends and family like - but Bizzy's unique and proprietary algorithm will match your data with the best fit for you anywhere you go.” 17
  18. 18. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP New Product “Saw on Twitter that you had downloaded our new app Snooth Wine Pro. Hope you're enjoying it or will enjoy it on your trip to Napa/Sonoma. I've sent some information to your counterparts at Mashable in hopes of receiving some Mashable love in the form of coverage and haven't heard anything just yet. I had luck pitching back in 2008 when I was still in college and had my own streaming music search engine, Streamzy - but this time seems a bit more challenging. This is my first big project since I've arrived at Snooth and I'd be forever grateful if you could consider covering the new app - it's the first of its kind and we're extremely proud of it. I've included our press release below and a link to find screenshots and contest info. Let me know if you'd like some promo codes to gift to your readers. Again, I appreciate your consideration.” 18
  19. 19. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Study or Data “My client, QuBit, has done some research into retail websites and has come up with a list of top reasons that people don't convert into paying customers - we'd be more than happy to do a 'Top ways to improve website conversions' style piece off the back of this if you'd be interested.” 19
  20. 20. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Offer up unique data 20
  21. 21. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP So Much Data to Offer 21
  22. 22. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP 22
  23. 23. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Under the journalist’s coverage area 23
  24. 24. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Reporter Inboxes are So Repetitive… Try to avoid this sentence: “I read your post called ‘XYZ,’ and I think you’d be interested in my startup.” 24
  25. 25. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP That Being Said… Here’s an instance where it works: “Loved your piece a few days ago (I sent it around to all of [Company X] to read) – is this a preview of your class? I’ve been meaning to reach out to you because our CEO, Ronn Torossian, just published his first book, For Immediate Release, which addresses a lot of the points you made, as well as…” 25
  26. 26. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP
  27. 27. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP
  28. 28. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Don’t Send Me This 28 “ArchPort Footwear began offering the first sandals with flashlights that fit inside the sole; there are 20 days remaining to take advantage of this offer. Each pair of ArchPort Sandals arrive with a flashlight that fits into a chamber located in the arch of the sole. The flashlight is ideal for night outings during the summer…”
  29. 29. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Know the lingo 29
  30. 30. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Exclusive When an author or source gives a publication the right to be the first publication to report on a given story 30
  31. 31. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Embargo A request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met. 31
  32. 32. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Send awesome emails 32
  33. 33. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Customize Your Pitches • Journalist’s name • Mention of his or her publication • True interest in recent coverage / coverage area 33
  34. 34. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP I’m Not a Fan of Press Releases • If you use one: • Be informative, not sales-y • Omit quotes (good publications don’t use them) • Attach to email or copy/paste below signature line • Embed a link to the press release or offer to send it later • If you don’t use one • 1 sentence of how you’re relevant to the journalist • 1 sentence about what your startup does • 1-2 sentences about the occasion for your pitch / next steps • EMAIL SUBJECT LINES ARE VERY IMPORTANT! 34
  35. 35. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Informative Subject Lines • Story: Building Landing Pages that Convert • Snooth Launches “Shazam” for Wine • Top tips for e-commerce websites • Exclusive: Performance Reviews Go Social (infographic) 35
  36. 36. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Have Useful Assets Available Useful assets include: • A company or product description • Photos/videos/screenshots relevant to the story • Company logos Ideas for implementation: • Google Drive file • Link to “media” page 36
  37. 37. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Tweet it up 37
  38. 38. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Follow Reporters on Twitter “It’s amazing to me that I get a MUCH higher response rate when pitching reporters via Twitter than email. I would actually go as far as to say that every time I’ve pitched a reporter via Twitter, I have gotten some sort of response (often resulting in a story for my client). Via email, I have maybe a 50% response rate. The phone call response rate would be my lowest.” —Nicole Denton, Publicist, Pyxl 38
  39. 39. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Behold the value of reverse pitching 39
  40. 40. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Stories I’ve Written with HARO • 13 Branded iPhone Apps That Enhance Their Company’s Products • 13 Ways to Improve Your International SEM Strategy • 7 Unique Eco-Friendly Company Transportation Alternatives • 6 New & Innovative Social Media Campaigns to Learn From • 7 Twitter Marketing Campaigns to Learn From • How The iPad Is Helping Businesses Go Green 40
  41. 41. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Final tips for success 41
  42. 42. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Final Tips • Be concise. • Have a clear message. • Think like a reader. 42
  43. 43. JULY 28 – AUGUST 3, 2018 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MIT INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMP Email me at hi@ericaswallow.com. Tweet me @ericaswallow. udemy.com/startuppr Promo Code: MITRIO

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