How to: Get PR right, in the early stages.
I get a lot of emails / phone calls / tweets /facebook messages etc every week all asking me the same questions around how people can get a story or video up on the site about the business venture they are starting, because let’s face it, when you are boot strapping have zero dollars to your name and big dreams in your head, you will never be able to afford a PR firm to represent you at the beginning. You need to be strategic, focused and extremely methodic in the way you approach media – you need to make sure that you are seen as being new, fresh and interesting – but also experienced, legitimate and newsworthy.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong, it is actually quite a hard thing to get right and it will take you a couple of cracks to gain any penetration at all. So the aim of this “How To” post is to give you the insight and tools to get your first piece of media coverage. Here is what you need to do.
1. Be Methodical
You have just finished building the best thing since sliced bread, you are exhausted, the only thing you need to do now is tell everyone about it, so you type up an email or press release and blast it out to every email you have found with contacts to a blog or publication or television channel. You then sit back and wait for all the calls. Guess What? At least 15 people have this approach with me personally every day, I don’t write about them, I delete them. How fucking rude am I right? Wrong. How fucking rude are they, not to me but to their brand and new company that they are trying to build. The blood sweat and tears don’t stop when the product is built and is live, that was just the warm up people, the real work starts with the exposure, the marketing, the sales – that is the stuff that makes a company successful. If you don’t respect your company enough to be diligent in exactly how you want it to be seen by different types of media by tailoring your pitch and making it personal, then why would it be of any importance to myself or my readers?
Be Methodical. If it is a publication about startups, i want to know about the startup journey, about the founders etc, if you are pitching to Today Tonight they want a story or case study, how did your service help abc do xyz? Your story always should be consistant but different audiences want to focus on different parts of the story.
2. Be Creative
Make the process efficient for the journalist, but also make it fun. They are people and have enormous amounts of stress on their shoulders due to their deadlines. The pitches that stand out amongst the crowd are the ones that get the coverage, and trust me it is a huge crowd. For example, a niche publication like ours gets around 100 pitches /emails /pr’s a day and we are still fairly new and growing. If you look at something like SMH journo’s there would probably be hit with 400-500 pitches a day via all their communication channels – make it easy for them, make it fun.
I am living in hope one day that a company will deliver their pitch to me via a masseuse, a 15 minute shoulder massage slash startup pitch – who in their right mind in media would say no to that.
3. Get Your Gaddie on
What are you selling? In fact whilst you may think you know, it is very rare that people actually deliver this message right. The Gaddie Pitch breaks down what you do into three sentences, starting with “You know how…” then “What we do …” and finished with “In fact …” – Here is an example of a Gaddie Pitch for this website:
You know how …
When you are starting something it is always hard to try and get the word out to the masses
Well what we do is …
Help others tell their story and inform people about their projects & ventures
In fact …
through various blogs, articles, radio and video content that we have produced. shoestring.com.au has told the story of over one thousand three hundred startups in the last year. Actually in less than a year we have grown to be one of Sydney’s top websites on new business ventures and early stage ideas.
With over 30,000 unique browsers visiting our site month on month and growing. Shoe String is the perfect place for big business targeting small and early stage businesses to advertise, share and educate our audience about their products and services.
Keep things simple and straight forward, the easier information is to understand, the more accessible it is for media to research it and tell people about it.
Here is a Press Release template that you can use to make sure you get all the information needed down on paper for your next pitch to media, what’s more, you can just enter directly into the form and it will email directly to the Shoe String team. Gotta love that #efficiency