The perfect moment to get PR for your startup
Entrepreneurs like to believe there is a defining moment they should go to the media for their newly formed startups. Sorry to burst your bubble but the truth is there isn’t a perfect moment.
To help your startup gain PR traction that is successful and sustainable, it takes more than getting the moment right. It is a more like a theater company churning out hit productions than a flash mob.
Good things take time
It takes a fair amount of time for the public and media to get to know about your startup, the value it brings to users and the team behind it. On the media’s end, unless your startup’s products are truly revolutionary, journalists, like most human beings generally take some time to warm up to people and ideas. Of course, most startup founders will think they have earth-shattering news to share on their products and believe the public should know about it pronto. The fact of the matter is that only a handful truly are newsworthy and plenty end up in the trash bins of journalists. Even when Mark Zuckerberg started Facemash, the precursor to Facebook, it took a couple of product iterations and media coverage on obscure new outlets before the mainstream media interest began to pour in. All this time, Facebook’s PR traction increased slowly but surely as its business model pivoted, added new capabilities and became what it is today.
It isn’t necessary to have the perfect product before devoting resources to your startup’s PR campaigns or pitching it to the media. The crucial objective at the early onset of your startup’s life is to build its presence within the media circles. Start small, perhaps with something that is newsworthy to the public and media. For example, you could have constructed a minimum viable product (MVP) and concurrently secured angel investors’ funding. Go ahead and introduce yourself to a few media outlets via email and gently pitch the story in a sincere manner. Sure, the journalists will likely find the stage of your startup too early to be covered. That will either lead to radio silence, in which you will receive no replies, or at the very worst, an outright rejection. If you are lucky and the news flow has been slow, you might just get lucky and your startup could get some sweet coverage. No matter, your objective has been met. Your name and your startup’s name likely rings a bell now in the heads of the people you emailed.
Good founders don’t quit
Not emailing them back ever in spite will definitely defeat the purpose of this crucial step. The next time an interesting development at your startup comes up, follow on with that email thread with your new pitch while referencing to that previous email.
You do need to have a plan to enable the future rollout of your campaigns to have a sustainable rhythm to it. Following that earlier pitch which likely ended in failure, perhaps there are new developments at each stage, such as securing the first customer or getting a bigger round of funding or reaching the milestone of turning profitable or signing on a prominent customer. With continual newsworthy pitches that builds up gradually, it would be hard for journalists whom you pitch to, to ignore you.
Without so much as to seek the perfect moment, by focusing on moments of your startup’s progress and from the work you put in at the initial stages, it should build PR traction for your startup that will eventually lead to a successful media presence.
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