How to Use Publicity to Grow Your Startup


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Presented by Leverage PR and Startup America, this presentation provides great tips on how to use publicity to grow your startup. This presentation also discusses to to raise crowdfunding capital with publicity.

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  • Have you ever seen a product in a magazine or newspaper and wondered, how they go there? Today you are going to learn the secret to getting publicity for your start-up
  • Any good entrepreneur stays on top of industry news, they have a list of publications they read, blogs they subscribe to and influencers they follow. In the course of your normal research start making note of the journalists who cover topics most related to your company. Add their contact information to your data base with short notes about the topics they write on. As a start-up these are going to be thefirst targets on your list and will often be the most powerfulHash tags are your friend- monitor social media to ensure you know the journalists writing about your industry
  • Make comments on their stories if you find something interesting. Ask them questions, and start connecting. Social media is a great venue to accomplish this on. By building a relationship with journalists you are increasing your chances that they will respond when you are ready to pitch your story.
  • Break your organization down into three categories: people, mission, and event. Under each, apply names, dates, places, messages, and whatever else seems relevant. Include even seemingly negative and trivial things in your lists. Make sure to also include any interesting data you have generated. Now stand back and take a good look. Each one of the items you wrote down is a possible angle that may be worthy of reporting. You can use an angle to create an interesting story or to make an old story seem new. Use personal events, changes in your program, unexpected benefits, surprise aftereffects - anything that passes the "NIM" test: new, interesting, and memorable.Perception is everything. Relate the facts of your project to the needs of the community. Highlight your event with a real-life situation. Explain how your project came into being. Tell a story about an unexpected benefit to the community.
  • PR isn’t simply about stating facts, or announcing straightforward news. It’s about telling a good story to the right audience at the right time. A great press release is crafted to tell stories behind the words, to trigger ideas and possibilities in other people’s heads, to indicate the direction your company is going without stating it explicitly. A good story is also a call to action without asking people to act.
  • Target your message to each publication. Before you pick up the phone think about how your message will add value to their readers. Think about who reads their publication and why. What is their audiences looking to get from the publication? Do they want a heart- warming story? Are they looking for education? Are they looking for the next it product? Basically, they want a story - that is, simply, something that will catch the attention and interest of the listeners or viewers, and persuade them to tune in again at the same time tomorrow.
  • Pitching your story idea to a journalist is like any sales situation. If you are a poor salesman, have your best sales person make the pitch. When you’re pitching your story, be conscious of your words and how you use them. Focus on the elevator pitch and make it compelling, memorable, and relevant, brevity is key. Make sure to summarize each news announcement with a couple of statements and bullets to quickly showcase why anyone should care. Package the story differently for each person you’re hoping to reach, as each will have different needs. Publicly showcasing your company, on stage, online, in print, or via broadcast media, requires nothing less than a polished, personable, and contagious presentation.It is important to highlight how your story will be of interest to their readers and tie into trending topics. More than anything make the call about them and what they are looking for. If it sounds like a sales call you will be promptly transferred to their advertising department.
  • One of the best ways to get press for your start-up is to position yourself as an expert in the media. Reporters need experts to quote and act as spokespeople. If you act as an objective source for the media you will be asked for help time and time again.- This is the number one technique start-ups in development looking to raise capital should use. At the seed stage, investors are buying into you and your vision. Positive press that positions you as an expert is outside validation that you know your stuff.
  • Almost anyone can become an expert with a little creativity and hard-work.Create content designed to position yourself as an indispensable authority on your industry, your city, your profession, or any appropriate topic
  • Use social media- comment on industry happenings, optimize your site and social media profiles.Build on what you have done in the past and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. If you are modest or understated hire a PR firm! PR is the last place to be modest.
  • Always look for ways that your company fits into the trending news and use that as part of your pitch. Think of a publication or news stations as one story from beginning to end if you have a topic or product that can “fit” into that story your chances of getting coverage are much better.If an event occurs that is related to your industry in anyway, do not wait for calls from the press reach out to them and offer your insight. Write a press release commenting on the subject or send the media videos you have recorded or white papers you have written on that particular topic. If you have videos or white papers I would also send them to your database and social media contacts at this time. News is news, people are interested in trending topics.
  • Bloggers and social media profiles with high “klout” in your industry can make or break a product. Social media has changed everything, PR is no different. There are a number of services on the web (free and paid) that will connect you with bloggers looking to review products in your industry. Reach out to these bloggers for product reviews. Bloggers and journalists are also interested in new trends and data—something that you can provide for them. If you have data that the main stream press won’t be interested in offer it to a blogger first. Most products are built for a specific population of users or specific use cases, and whatever your product or service, there are bloggers who write about it and are influencers, these people are almost always interested in new products and services, so prior to launching your product or service, develop a list of these people with their e-mail and contact info and reach out to them to try out your product or service before it is released to the public. Warning Bloggers do not follow traditional journalist rules.
  • Picture of people helping others people building house or helping victimsAttach yourself to a benefit or charity with a cause inside or outside of your industry.Consumers love hearing about charitable organizations and their events, and journalists know this.When a disaster strikes do some thing to help your community as a company even if it is small. It will make you feel good, help people and could result in some great press. You have also just tied yourself into a trending topic.
  • Time your stories to fit the needs of the media during particular times of the year Craft news stories to take advantage of events, holidays and seasonal activities. The phrase lead time simply refers to the amount of time needed for a journalist to complete a story for a particular issue of a magazine or episode of a TV news program. The longest leads are the domain of "women’s books" like Good Housekeeping and Better Homes & Gardens. These publications often have a lead time of up to six months, which means they need information for their Christmas issues as early as May!
  • If you are going to work with the media, it is important to designate a PR or communications person who will be the "only" person who will be the initial contact with the press. Everyone has their own motives in life, the press is no different. If you do not have a knowledgeable person with the skill to identify warning sings, do not be surprised if your big brake has a negative effect. Slide Note- Selecting a lower level Marcom person to be your contact is a huge mistake unless they have experience and know the implication of their words. If the media contact keeps on having to go to management to get answers journalists will move on to sources who can get them answers quickly. I recommend having a knowledgeable staff member direct the initial connect with the press then schedule meetings for the CEO or other C level executive to do the interviews. Whoever is pitching to investors should be the one to work with the press to ensure messaging is consistent. Investors are always looking for inconsistency.
  • Picture of a phone Because people in the media are so busy, they often need to be reminded of your news release for you to get any publicity. A week after you send your news release, call your media contact to confirm he received your news release and ask if he has any question. Then call the day before or the day of. If it is a slow news day they just might cover you!Remember what you momma taught you- Always say thank you for coverage.
  •  Here are a few ways you can help your story go viral: Leverage social media. Pin your post on your timeline. If it is a big story, place it as a milestone on your fan page. Tweet your story several times (in several different ways), using industry “hashtags”. Share your story with all of the LinkedIn groups you are part of in your industry. Make sure that you are not just throwing a link out there, but take something compelling out of the story that will draws readers in and offer it as a teaser to read the rest. Utilize your network. Send an email to your family, friends and people in your social networks letting them know about your coverage, and asking them to spread the good news by social sharing your story from the home page of the news outlet. It is important that they visit the site and share it using the site’s social sharing tools, as your story could get even more coverage. Story placement on news sites is often determined by overall interest in the story if you have hundreds of people sharing your story it will have better placement on site, leading to even more people reading it.  Tell investors. One of the most powerful tools I had when raising capital was a press mention. Emailing cool to warm investor leads press mentions with a follow-on note saying you should connect will increase your lead generation efforts when fundraising by astronomical rates. It leads to a much different conversation by putting founders in more of a power position in the capital raising process.Make it visible. It should go without saying, but make sure your press mentions are seen on your crowdfunding deal room and the press section of your website. Include links to your story or a copy in your investor presentation.
  •  If you receive or are about to receive National Coverage call your local newspapers and business journals and let them know. Local publications will often do stories on companies that have received national coverage.  
  • Every piece of coverage is outside validation that your company/ products are viable. Quote it- If you really like a part of the article quote it on your home page or collateral (just make sure not to over do it. Nothing is more tacky then the 15 seconds of fame displayed on every wall. Good coverage does not matter if it is not used. Make sure all members of the team understand why coverage is important and how to use it, not just sales and marketing.
  • If your company is not ready or your goals are not clearly defined PR can do more harm than good. If you do not have a business plan and at least a brochure website up you could do more harm than good. You need to make sure that your people understand what you should and should not say and are ready for the media. The press can be a powerful alley but must be used correctly.make sure the materials you are arming your staff with are customized for their specific needs. For example, HR might prefer to highlight one aspect of the message that is different from sales.
  • How to Use Publicity to Grow Your Startup

    1. 1. Presented by How to use Publicity to Grow Your Startup and Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    2. 2. For nearly a decade, Joy has been using creative PR and marketing techniques to help companies grow and raise capital with proven results. Joy Schoffler Principal The firms she has worked with have •Made the INC list multiple times •Gone from Home-based small business to INC in 1 ½ years •Risen over $25 million in capital, she personally rose over $20 million. • Gone from idea phase to $5 million in funding in under 2 years •Secured numerous Fortune 500 accounts in the first year of operations •Saved thousands of dollars a month by implementing tech-savvy marketing strategies that could be executed by interns •Secured national and local press coverage, including TV, newspapers, major national and trade magazines (including cover stories), speaking engagements, and numerous social media outlet mentions What Leverage PR does@Leverage_PR Leverage PR works with growth-phase companies offering full@JoySchoffler service marketing and publicity services as well as training for smaller firms looking to execute their own campaigns.Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    3. 3. What good publicity can do for your Startup• Investor dollars• Mainstream press• Expert reputation• Speaking engagements• Analyst interest• Writing opportunities• Partnership opportunities• Customers• Better terms with suppliers Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    4. 4. Why Publicity is the Key to Raising Crowdfunding Capital • Being quoted as a subject matter expert will give you an advantage over your peers who are just telling people they are experts • Your search results in the due diligence process will be more impressive as this will be one of the key ways people will make their investment choices • Increases your credibility to potential customers • Could be used as a way to show there is a market for your services • Press coverage could be included in the investor packages sent to potential investors to increase profile on crowdfunding company Leverage PR Copyright 2011Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    5. 5. The Process How to go from Start-up to Star•Define Goals•Market Analysis•Media Research•PR Strategy Development•Targeted Media Outreach•Leverage Results Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    6. 6. Step 1: Compile your List• Create a list of publications in your industry • Blogs • Trade journals • Mainstream media • Social media influencers• Stay on top of industry news - The trend is your friend• Take notes• Monitor social media• Build your database Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    7. 7. Step 2: Build a Relationship• Connect with journalists on social media channels• Comment• Ask questions Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    8. 8. Step 3: What is your Story Finding your Angle People Mission Events The NIM Test• Relate to the needs of the community• Highlight with a real-life situation• Explain your project• Tell a story about a benefit to the community Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    9. 9. Step 4: Tell a Good Story• Target your story to your audience• Call to Action What do you want people to do after they read your story? Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    10. 10. Step 5: Target your Message• Target messaging• How will you add value? Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    11. 11. Step 6: The Pitch• Pitching is sales• Be conscious of your words• Compelling• Memorable• Relevant• Brevity is KeyTie in to trending topics Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    12. 12. Become an Expert • Position yourself as an expert • Be objective! Positive Press is Outside Validation that you are an ExpertLeverage PR Copyright 2012
    13. 13. How to Become an ExpertCreate content: • Case studies • White papers • YouTube videos • Blog posts • Social media Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    14. 14. Becoming an Expert Continued• Respond to journalist requests • Twitter • HARO• Join associations in your industry• Volunteer to speak at industry events (even local small ones)• Use social media• Leverage all press mentions in a online press section on your website Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    15. 15. The Trend is your FriendThe easiest way to get media coverage is to reach out to themedia when an event occurs.• Tie company into trends• One story from beginning to end• Do not wait for the phone to ring• Marketing opportunity• Integrate social mediaExample Story- Texas State Guard Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    16. 16. Tap Influential Bloggers PR is not just about news publications• Connect with influencers• Product reviews• Trends and data• Give popular bloggers first dibs• Offer to guest post Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    17. 17. Be Charitable People love heart-warming storiesGood deeds = Good pressThe PPA Group Example Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    18. 18. Good PR Takes Planning• Time your stories to fit media needs• Craft news stories around events, holidays and seasonal activities• Give journalists plenty of lead time• Always meet your deadlines, be early if possible Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    19. 19. Set Your Organization up for Success Designate a PR Person• Your PR person should: o Know the organization’s goals o Have direct access to the CEO o Be involved in the capital raising process o Have PR and media training Don’t select a lower level person to work with the media Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    20. 20. Follow UpAlways call the day before or the day of to remind media of your event Remember what your mother taught you! Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    21. 21. Make your Story go Viral Turn one mention into several•Leverage social media•Utilize your network. Email family, friends and people in your socialnetworks letting them know about your coverage, and asking them to spreadthe good news.•Tell investors•Make it visible Make sure your press mentions are seen on your websiteand in your investor presentation. Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    22. 22. How to Leverage Your Publicity What to do once you have coverageTell target customers and investors • Email your database • Spread the word via social media • Have a link to the story on your company blogCall local newspapers and business journals about national coverage.Build an Investor/ Customer Kit • Product brochures • Company and executive bios • Press coverage Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    23. 23. How to Leverage Your Publicity Coverage is outside validation that your company is viableHave copies of your media coverage framed in the waiting roomInclude a press section in your investor or customer presentation • “What others are saying about us”Start building a News Room Section on your website • Press Releases • Media Coverage • Press KitQuote itGain Organizational buy-inCustomize your distributionMeasure the impact so investors can see you track data Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    24. 24. A Word of Warning What you must have in place before you pitch• Business plan or solid understanding of your business and goals• A professional looking website even if it is just a short low information site• A media plan that defines your goals• A designated contact person Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    25. 25. Next Step Sign Up for a Free ConsultationAll Startup America clients will receive afree 15 minute consultation to see iftheir business can Leverage PR forsuccess.To set up your appointment 512-541-1995 Leverage PR Copyright 2012
    26. 26. Connect with us to learn moreabout Leveraging PR for your startup Questions? 512-541-1995 Subscribe to our Growth Based @Leverage_PR @JoySchoffler Public Relations Place Logo Here, Otherwise Delete Box Leverage PR Copyright 2012