3 Very Cost-Effective Ways To Get PR Exposure As A Startup

If you want coverage without the five figure pricetag, these could be some options to explore

Securing media coverage doesn’t have to involve retaining an expensive PR agencies. These are some cost-effective or free ways to achieve some of the results. Photo by Redrecords ©️ from Pexels

Many startups are looking to leverage the power of media exposure to get more eyes on their brands.

However, not everybody is willing, or able, to go to the expense of hiring out a PR agency.

According to Agility PR, retainers can run from as little as $1,500 a month up to around $20,000 per month. This puts them beyond the reach of many smaller organization.

Leah Frazier is the owner of Think Tree Media and also runs the PR Yourself podcast which I just recorded an episode for.

If you’re interested in the whole subject of how to PR yourself — or your company — then check out Leah’s podcast (Apple).

My conversation with Leah prompted me to think about some of the free tools that I’ve introduced startup founders to over the years.

If you’re just looking to get some basic traction then these are some ways you can do it — no five figure investment required.

Sign Up For Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

HARO, by PR giant Cision, is well-known in PR circles as a tool through which reporters put out requests for expert commentary.

Anybody can sign up as a source and receive one of the daily briefing emails that the company puts out.

Each opportunity is paired with a unique email address and journalists can access their dashboard to see which sources have responded to their queries.

Here’s my “pro tip”:

My HARO alerts folder in Google Groups

Because sifting through HARO emails can be a tedious process, I set up a dedicated address at my Gsuite domain which they send to. This then aggregates into a Google Group and keeps the emails from cluttering up my inbox.

It also makes it really easy to search through the HARO messages by topic. And they come in thick and fast.

If you’re looking to get quoted in a few media stories (and more), then HARO is a great (and free) resource to start with.

Get The PodcastGuests.com Newsletter

From a PR perspective, it’s hard to know what to make of podcast sometimes.

Looked at in traditional PR terms, their listenerships can be small — a lot smaller than traditional broadcast radio programs, for instance.

However what they sometimes lack in reach they often make up for in engagement levels.

Podcasts are almost like the audio equivalent of trade media publications, which similarly tend to have smaller circulations but which are read by a highly engaged industry readership. That’s why, in spite of the fact that they are sometimes relatively obscure, trade media editorial outreach continues to be a core component of many PR strategies, particularly for clients in the B2B world.

But speaking of podcasts, there are a few platforms out there that serve the purpose of connecting people that want to be on podcasts with show hosts that want to get guests.

One of them is PodcastGuests.com. It’s free to receive their opportunities newsletter and you can pitch yourself onto shows.

Reddit mightn’t be the first place most people would think of turning for this purpose, but there’s actually a subreddit just for this purpose: /r/PodcastGuestExchange.

Finally, there are also Facebook groups. One example is the Podcast Guest Collaboration group which has 18K members.

Being active in too many communities can be overwhelming. So I’d recommend checking out what kind of opportunities can be picked up from each of the above and carefully monitoring the source that seems most valuable for you and your brand.

Create A Slack Group For Journalists

In a very crowded media landscape, sometimes it pays to think creatively.

We all know that press releases are a somewhat abused format for distributing information.

Far, far too often, companies use them to blitz un-newsworthy information out over newswires.

The tactic often results in some automated pickup from news sources that syndicate content distributed this way. It fills up the coverage books of PR agencies without actually providing much meaningful

But it’s fair to say that in many cases the world would be a better place if this kind of activity didn’t go on.

If you’re looking to secure media coverage for your organization, then quality is often far better than quantity.

Furthermore, rather than blitzing news in a one-way “push,” journalists can be a lot more receptive to receiving press releases through channels that offer more potential for engagement.

One startup founder friend has created a Slack channel just for journalists that are following the company. His team drops insights into the channel and everything posted there is considered suitable for attributed comment.

My friend says that he has had enormous success using this unconventional method of obtaining PR coverage and it’s resulted in both print and TV placements in top-tier broadcast media.

Many startups want to leverage the power of PR to get their name out there but don’t have enough news — or budget — to justify hiring a PR agency on retainer.

The above can be three surprisingly effective ways to achieve results more affordably.

Marketing communications consultant interested in tech, Linux, ADHD, beer, async, and remote work (in no particular order). RosehillMarcom.com