PR (Public relations) can be the difference and rocket fuel a startup needs to catapult them into success; but how and why is it so effective?
The goals of PR can vary depending on the specific needs and objectives of a business, but mainly include enhancing brand awareness, promoting a positive image, managing public perception and can help gain exposure to a wider audience in reputable media outlets and reaching a larger audience, potentially leading to increased website traffic and sales.
Compared to traditional advertising and marketing methods, PR can often be more cost-effective for small businesses and startups with limited budgets. PR efforts such as press releases and media pitches can generate publicity and increase brand visibility without the need for significant advertising spend.
It also helps builds credibility and trust with potential customers, investors, and partners. When a small business or startup receives positive media coverage, it can enhance its reputation and legitimacy in the eyes of the public, which can result in increased trust and confidence in the brand.
It’s also a great way for businesses to use storytelling, share their vision, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. By crafting compelling narratives and messages, PR can help startups stand out in a crowded market and connect with their target audience. PR is a long-term strategy though, you have to be patient and in it for the long game – consistency is key to fostering brand loyalty among customers and stakeholders.
If you want to become a superstar brand or household name, PR can be that magic you need to get you there. Here are a few insider tips and a little secret sauce so you know what you need to do to get in the media:
Know your audience and research!
Before pitching to the media, it’s essential to understand who your target audience is and what they are reading. You then need to research and understand a publication’s target audience, so you can tailor your pitch to their needs and interests.
Craft a compelling story
Journalists are always looking for ‘stories’, so make sure your pitch is interesting, unique, and timely. What is your why story, your key messaging, and then focus on the “hook” or angle that will grab their attention?
Create a press kit
A press kit should include a company overview, product descriptions, logos, images, relevant press releases, fact sheets and other information that journalists can use to write about your business. Make it easy for them to write about your company.
Customise your pitch
Every journalist and publication is different, so it’s crucial to tailor your pitch to each individual outlet – avoid the spray-and-pray approach – i.e. sending a generic pitch to a large list of contacts is not going to get you anywhere. Point out which columns and sections you are pitching to and why it could be interesting for their readership.
Use data and statistics
Including data and statistics in your pitch can add credibility to your story and make it more newsworthy, a relevant and keeps it in context with what’s happening in today’s world. Keep a store of the latest facts to hand and ready to share for last-minute features and interviews.
Eat news for breakfast
Make sure you understand what your target media are writing about, and what’s happening in the economy and world, especially with regards to your industry and brand, so you can make your pitch even more relevant.
Keep it short and sweet
Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day, so it’s essential to keep your pitch brief and to the point. Highlight the most important information in the first few sentences, and use bullet points and subheaders so it’s easy to read and understand.
Developing relationships with journalists is the name of the (PR) game to establish trust and credibility. Take the time to get to know the journalist before pitching them and follow up after the pitch. Looking at their social accounts, such as Linkedin, is a good place to start to understand what their interests are and past articles.
Be ready to respond
If a journalist expresses interest in your story, be available to answer their questions and provide additional information. Nine times out of ten, they are on deadlines, so have your press kit ready to go at a moment’s notice. Be a dream to work with, and they’ll start coming to you!
Follow up, but don’t be a pest
Do follow up on a pitch if you don’t hear back from the journalist, but don’t be too pushy. Try to get feedback on if your pitch is relevant but respect their time and space. Above all, don’t give up if your first-ever pitch isn’t successful — be in it for the long game.