Written by Lori Sussle Bonanni, the founder of elssus, LLC
Press coverage leads to an increase in awareness, business results and credibility. Here are five tips as you look to secure PR coverage for your startup. Increasing awareness could lead to brand recognition amongst a wider range of people, business results pique investor interest and credibility builds your and your startup’s reputation.
1. Build a media list
You’ll want to build your media list. Start compiling who writes about trends in your space and your competitors.
I have a lot of tech clients. In tech, will a media list for AI be the same for a SaaS product? Unlikely. Will a media list for a food client be the same as a tech client? Of course not. Reporters have different beats so to find the right reporter, you must do research. The right reporter for one story may be a completely different reporter for another. Break out the list by media type – national, local and industry-specific. Don’t limit yourself but make sure where you pitch makes sense.
- PR Tip for Startups: Know this list will always be a work in progress.
2. Send a well-crafted and succinct pitch
Reporters don’t typically cover you because your company exists. What’s the hook? Why would people care?
Launching a product, securing funding and hiring a team typically get attention. But that may not be the reason for outreach every time. Write your message and create your narrative; without this, you have no story. Think about industry trends that can tie back to the problem you are solving. Is your tech also sustainable? Be creative, your pitches can have different angles to different audiences.
- PR Tip for Startups: If your pitch is longer than half a printed page, edit it down.
3. Ditch the attachments
If a reporter is interested in your (succinct) pitch, they’ll need some additional information and collateral for their coverage.
Include a high-res company logo, product images, headshots and bios of anyone mentioned or quoted in the release. Have you referenced data? Include that. An explainer video, link it. Anything that’s not the pitch, should be sent via an easily accessible link.
- PR Tip for Startups: The less a reporter has to ask for, the easier it is for them to cover a story.
4. Read the room
Timing is everything. What’s going on in the world or your industry. Be mindful about competing for PR coverage in your space.
Think about the workweek. Would you want to receive a pitch on a Friday afternoon or the day after a national holiday? Think about geography. Pitch during the reporter’s workday especially if you are in North America pitching Asia. Think about publication editorial calendars. Holiday gift lists go to print months in advance so you should be pitching in June/July, not at the end of November.
- PR Tip for Startups: Be mindful about timing, geography and publication dates.
5. Utilize reactive media opportunities
Social media and online services provide opportunities for journalists to find sources.
Follow journalists on social. Interact, when it makes sense. Retweet, favorite, like. Sometimes they ask for sources on social. Sign up for services that connect journalists with expert sources like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to get these requests sent directly to your inbox. Reactive opportunities have fast turnarounds. Reporters are working on tight deadlines; therefore, urgent means urgent – not next week.
- PR Tip for Startups: If you can’t address the opportunity within a few hours, skip it.
About The Author
Lori Sussle Bonanni is the founder of elssus, LLC, a multi-disciplined communication consulting firm. Lori builds and grows companies’ reputations thereby increasing awareness, business results and credibility. Think of her as a nontraditional publicist for companies as early as startups and as established as Global 500s. Lori offers communications consulting and 1:1 advisory. To learn more, visit www.elssus.com and follow elssus on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/elssus.