Top 10 PR & Media Tips for Seed-Stage Founders
Advice on how to get media to pay attention, build relationships and what goes into a story
By Caitlin Regan & nihal mehta
Supporting our founders with media relations and helping them build relationships with top tier journalists has been a core differentiator at Eniac. Over the years, we’ve learned some very useful advice that every early-stage founder should have in their playbook when preparing for a launch, an announcement or starting to think about PR.
1. HOW MEDIA WORKS — A good journalist will not wait for news to come to them, they are out in the field searching for scoops. In the event you have a solid piece of hard news that is relevant to their focus, they welcome the pitch. The best way to get their attention and show you are serious is to offer them the exclusive.
2. REPORTERS ARE HUMANS, TOO — When reaching out, make sure to send succinct, easy to read notes with the important info up top. Long, template-looking emails usually get deleted right away. They appreciate when founders reach out to them via Twitter DM or signal. Most have the best way to contact them in their Twitter bios.
3. DON’T PITCH BULLSHIT — When identifying the best reporter for the story, actually read their work and understand what they focus on, the angles they take and their level of technicality. Don’t forget to research their commentary across their social channels too. It will help you get a sense of their personality and maybe find a mutual interest.
4. FOCUS ON WHY — Calling your company the “Uber for X” or “Airbnb for Y” is too cliche and means nothing. Instead, focus on the overarching narrative. Think about your mission and what you aim to be in 5, 10 and 20 years. Think of pitching media the same way to pitched investors.
Check-in with how you are telling your brand’s story by answering these questions:
Who are you? What is your experience/background?
What was your “ah-hah” moment that lit you on fire to start the company/build the technology?
What is the problem you’re trying to solve? How did you come across it?
What is the solution? What will the world/industry/user experience be with it? How will their life change?
5. MONEY TALKS — What data do you have access to that can support your story? Using proprietary data showcases the value of your company to potential customers. Do you have seriously impressive MoM/YoY growth or big name customers that can speak on your behalf? Can you host a customer survey or pull proprietary data from your platform?
6. NEVER CRY WOLF — Media get a lot of false scoops, claims, and stats. Any good reporter will do some digging and if anything looks to be sugar-coated, doctored up or too good to be true, you immediately lose all credibility. Be transparent.
7. BUILD STREET CRED — Consistently reaching out with solid scoops, relevant stories and commentary on their work will show them you are a valuable source and not just looking to connect when you want them to do something for you, aka cover your company’s news. Relationships with media are no different than any other relationship in your life.
8. PEEPS ARE BUSY — With more than 200+ email pitches a day, most of them go unread. It is not personal, they might reply to those they know. Don’t follow-up more than once. More on proper etiquette when pitching.
9. ANOTHER WAY IN — If one journalist passes, don’t give up. Getting a customer to share their case study with you, preferably ROI or data is a great way to secure coverage in a different area of a publication. Early in a customer’s lifecycle, talk to them about working together for joint press. Most likely, they have a PR team and/or relationships with media already too. Here is a great example of a joint feature story.
10. DO THE DESIGN WORK — Make sure to have branded assets ready to share with media, otherwise, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
If you have any top tips or advice on PR or media relations for early-stage, please share your tips with our community on Twitter @eniacvc.