Learnings from the Media Relations 101 for Startups event: [The basics of talking to media and getting media coverage for your startup]
If you didn’t make it to Media Relations 101 for Startups, read what was covered in the event below.
- Corrie McLeod – Director of Espresso Communications and a PR professional with experience in the IT industry and working with startups.
- Jeanne-Vida Douglas – BRW journalist and editor with ten years experience reporting in the IT industry.
- Mahesh Sharma – Freelance journalist reporting on startups.
- Contacting the media
- Getting the media to want you and your story
- Building relationships with representatives of media
- Making your business media friendly
(Good) Reasons for PR
- Support sales – the more exposure your business has, the more people will know about it. More people equals more customers.
- Talent – convincing an awesomely skilled person to work an early stage business can be hard. Media exposure can help you build a reputation, so you don’t have to beg for someone to join you.
- Other business ends – PR doesn’t just work on a B2C level, it can also help you secure partnerships with other businesses by making it easier to approach them. Instead of saying “Hello I know you’ve never heard of my business but…” you’ll be able to say “Hello, you may remember my business from such publications as TechCrunch and Mashable…” . Need I say more? Reputation, reputation, reputation.
Key Media Messages
- Who are you? Explain concisely. Imagine you only have 30 seconds to spit it out.
- What do you do? Again, sum it up in 30 seconds, people.
- Who do you do this for? Who are your users and why would they prefer your service?
- How are you different? – What makes you stand out?
Think like the journalist. Ask yourself, “What would make a good story?” For example personal experiences make good stories. Have your users advocate the business by sharing positive experiences. If you don’t have any users yet, ask someone you know to be an advocate.
- Media Release – write the most newsworthy info at the top, include quotes from the founders that support your newsworthy info. Keep your sentences short and simple and write in the voice of the publication you’re sending your release to.
- Boilerplate – a boiler plate is your organisation’s information. It is usually found at the bottom of the media release and includes the facts that journalists want to know: When the business was founded, the number of customers, business vision and achievements.
- Executive photography – photographs of your team can make your story more appealing to the journalist and more appealing to the reader. Make them good. For extra brownie points be creative. Creative images will capture attention, if nothing else.
- Product images – high quality images that show your products in the best light.
- Resource gallery – on your website include press releases that mark all worthy milestones such as the first customer, the first investor, the 100th customer, new functionalities, new additions to the team. Why? A journalist will have more information to work with.
- Build relationships with media bloggers, influencers and journalists- leave comments on their blogs and articles, offer advice, engage with them.
- Pitch a story for a specific section of a publication instead of targeting the entire publication. This will show you are familiar with the publication and have thought about the target audience.
- Think of whats relevant to the biggest audience – journalists write about things that are relevant to the majority of their target audience.
- DO NOT send out press releases to the publications you don’t read.
- DO NOT send out press releases to journalists whose copy you haven’t read.
- DO NOT send them to journalists you haven’t spoken to.
- Have ONE spokesperson – a personality becomes linked to the brand so keep it consistent.
- If you are the spokesperson – write down numbers and important details before interviews and remember them so you don’t get misquoted.
- Create a blog that gives a human face to your business: record your experiences and share business progress with your readers.
- Personal blog about business: 22 michaels
- MR 101 event organisers: Pushstart
- Pushstart Supporters and MR 101 event hosts: Ninefold