Designing Your PR Strategy
How to Manage a Startup’s Media Relations
Press can be extremely valuable in promoting your startup, but it can also be a huge distraction. Here are some concrete suggestions on how to approach PR.
First, define your outcome. Are you attempting to attract top candidates for engineering or executive roles? Do you want additional credibility for future investors? Will you be leveraging your press to win new deals? The answers to these questions determine what types of media to focus on.
For example, you may want to get TechCrunch or Forbes coverage of a recent financing if all you are aiming to do is attract talent and investors; however, for your customers there may be trade publications or specialized media that is far more useful.
Second, hire a PR firm. Early stage companies are usually not doing enough press to justify a full-time person and this is not something to just do yourself without the existing expertise and relationships. We recommend a few excellent firms to our portfolio companies.
The right firm will begin by asking your outcomes and then help you craft a strategy to achieve the desired outcomes. They usually offer a flat fee for preparing and distributing a press release along with media training. Additionally, they can arrange ongoing retainers if you have a number of PR events coming up.
Third, focus on event-driven coverage. The media typically want news that is differentiated, which means something specific has happened (e.g. a financing, a product launch, a major partnership, a customer signing up, a case study published). Your PR firm can help align the right coverage and news outlet for each type of event.
It is generally preferable to focus on setting up exclusives with top tier reporters to ensure high quality and in-depth coverage. You can still then distribute the press release for follow-on coverage. Your PR firm can help craft a concise and easy to follow press release.
Remember reporters are spread thin and prefer to have the quotes and content well organized for them to easily digest.
Fourth, be sure to coordinate team, investor and friend social media efforts to align with press. This means creating simple call to action emails for each group with one-click links that allies can seamlessly share on their social media (i.e. reshare the standard post you want everyone using).
A well executed PR and social media strategy can add significant value to your marketing efforts, but be sure to know your outcomes before you spend the time and money!
Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest $1mm-$3mm in seed-stage companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, human augmentation and computing.