How to create really good PR for your startup

Are you launching a new product and needing more than just performance marketing? You are out of growth-hacks. Now a few articles on news portals or even in the newspaper would be helpful?

Anyone who has understood PR can generate massive reach with little effort. But there is also hope for those of you who don’t have the change for a PR agency. This requires some planning, creative thinking and the courage to make mistakes.

Everything stands and falls with your distributor

At the beginning of every strategy there is thorough planning. What sounds intuitive cannot be taken for granted. Because where do you start? Best with a good press kit. What you need for it: meaningful and professional pictures of your product as well as the founding team and ideally a short description with the essential points both to you and to the product. This forms the basis for everything else. For complex products a short FAQ or fact sheet with all important information is helpful.

Next, you’ll sit down with a tailor-made distributor. Tailor-made means: no huge distributors with more than 500 contacts. Journalists receive hundreds of e-mails every day – even suitable topics are not always read there. If you send inappropriate suggestions, you’ll quickly end up on the black list. So do your homework and research which editors in which media report on your market, your competitors and related topics. Create a list with the 15 to 30 most important editors for your area, that’s enough for the beginning! Don’t just focus on popular online media. Especially in the TV area there is a lot of reach to get.

Let other people tell your story

Once you’ve made your list, it’s on. Think about how you can offer your contacts the best added value. Do you have a financial product? Maybe you can write an expert article with tips on a financial topic for a consumer magazine. You’ve developed an app and promise to solve an everyday problem? Maybe a TV team would like to put the app (and of course its competitors) through its paces.

Don’t be afraid to think around the corner and disregard your product for a moment. Seldom will journalists report exclusively about your product – but they often recognize in direct comparison with a competitor what really sets you apart. Allow other people to tell your story and take feedback seriously!

Forget the press release

Press releases have no place in product PR. If you’re not launching the new iPhone or presenting the solution to climate change to humanity, your press release won’t interest anyone – it will be too promotional in 99 percent of cases. Rather create a short, personal email with some key points including facts about the product and your vision to change the market. You also offer the journalist an interview with your founder. You should think your topic offer backwards from the headline: “This founder wants to stir up the market” is more obvious for journalists as headline than “Product from unknown startup XY comes on the market”. Is it?

Focus on the added value you offer the journalists

Clearly, you are convinced that your product is the enlightenment in its field. You have to – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to do what you do. But let’s be honest: your competitors think the same about themselves. And they address the same journalists with the same assertions and swollen marketing formulations. This leads to actual bullshit bingo’s in editorial offices and therefore doesn’t get you any further.

So rather concentrate on the benefits you can offer journalists – and not on the benefits they can offer you. What interests your target audience? With which headlines do they generate high numbers of clicks? Which real problem do you solve and is that interesting for the respective medium? For example, it is unlikely that t3n will report about your deep tech startup when you send out a press release announcing the update from version 1.0 to version 1.0.1.

Don’t be impatient and leave the listener alone

PR is above all relationship work; therefore does not expect to be directly in the first month in the t3n or the Süddeutsche. Usually you work your way up slowly: The big fish only bite when you already have a certain footprint. Subject lines such as “Request for publication” or incomprehensible, because complex topic offers usually end up unread in the trash of electronic inboxes. Think about which current topic you can use for yourself, where the relevance lies – and how best to communicate it.

Be patient if a topic or story is not taken up. Editors are increasingly understaffed and can’t pick up every potentially interesting topic. Asking once by e-mail whether the message has been well received is usually okay. But what you really shouldn’t do is ask by phone. Calls interrupt journalists in their work and hardly ever meet with enthusiasm. If journalists don’t get in touch with you despite a written request, there is simply no interest at the moment.

Networking is part of a good relationship with journalists. Follow important journalists for your market on Twitter and Co. Often you can see which topics are of particular interest to them. There’s nothing wrong with commenting on interesting and credited articles or praising them briefly via social media. Everyone likes serious appreciation.

Targeted addressing and sufficient stamina lead to success

As you can see, a solid own PR-work at least in the beginning is no witchcraft, if you consider the above mentioned points. Be critical and thrifty in selecting the journalists you write to and refrain from impersonal mass address. Always remember the story you want to tell and don’t send press releases without real news value.

Maintain good relationships with journalists who report about you and show them appreciation for your work. With these decisive first steps to good PR work, you lay the foundation for a positive presence in the media.