Saturday, October 20

Three Secrets of PR Most Startups Don’t Know

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PR in itself can be regarded as a closely guarded secret, but in reality all it involves is getting the word out there about your business, to the right people at the right time to secure unpaid media exposure.

Whether it’s via traditional or social media, it’s the art of telling brand stories using a variety of tried and tested techniques, which can include press releases, events, interviews or creating compelling content.

Now we’ve covered the basics – here’s the inside track on things you need to know to generate publicity for your business.

Where do news organisations get their news?

In an era where fake news is dominating the headlines, reporters want to ensure their content is as accurate as possible to maintain their credibility and loyal audience share.  But where do journalists get their ideas for their stories in the first place?

Reuters, the largest news agency in the world who supply their content to media outlets of all shapes and sizes said:

“The sources of an agency’s news coverage varies widely. Every office compiles a comprehensive diary of routine events that have to be covered: a government minister’s speech, the publication of an economic indicator such as inflation data, or a major company’s annual general meeting. Unexpected news about both politics and finance will often come from a tip-off from a good contact or source, be a trader at the local stock exchange or the aide to a politician.  News about local disasters often come from the local media, often TV, or from eyewitness reports.”

But dig a little deeper, how is this diary of events populated?

These events are put on Reuters’ radar by a PR person.  Same with a government speech or a company’s general meeting, how does a reporter know when and where this is taking place? A publicist’s role is to inform the media of events and information relevant to their audience, the what, where, when and how, in a bid to attract their attention. It’s then down to the media to tell the story in their own words.  

So remember, if they don’t know about that launch how are they supposed to cover it?

There are only two ways to get your business in the news, creating a newsworthy story or following a news story as it unfolds.

Creating a Newsworthy Story

Your Business Name acquires new service van, bringing company fleet to four’ is not going to cut it.  

If very few people other than your boss are going to be interested in the news, then don’t expect a media outlet to be excited by it either.  It needs to be fresh, new and different. Think about any data you have access to, any new industry insights or evolving trends your business can reveal which haven’t been covered before.  How can you add value or provide a unique take on the story?

Other opportunities for securing media exposure could include:

  • A new product or service launch
  • Securing new investors
  • Advancements in technology
  • Company mergers or investors
  • Celebrating an award win

Following a Story

Also known as reactive PR. When a breaking story unravels, and you find a way for your business to be a part of it; jumping on any opportunities that arise immediately to provide expert advice and comment to journalists covering the story in real time.

From a clampdown on single-use plastic, to a major power outage in a certain region or rising house prices, piggyback what’s happening and show how your brand provides a solution.  

The media are looking for businesses like yours to feature today, but don’t know where to find you.

Journalists use a variety of platforms when they are searching for content for their stories.

Do you want a reporter to interview the founder of your business or are you keen to get your product or service featured somewhere but not sure where to start? Let the media come to you by signing up for these free services, where you’ll be alerted on a daily basis with PR leads relevant to your industry.  

Source Bottle – be a source for the Australian media

Journo Requests – a summary of all the #JournoRequests which live on Twitter

HARO – Help-A-Reporter-Out global platform

PR Hunters – connecting journos with interesting content.

Now with a better understanding of the news and where it comes from, your eyes and ears will be open to more promotional opportunities for your startup. Don’t be afraid to approach the media with your story, but always familiarise yourself with the publication and the types of stories they cover first. Tailor your pitch to the person receiving it and use an enticing email subject line too.

Contributed by Celia Harding

Celia Harding is the Founder of PR Shed, which offers businesses all the tools they need to do their own PR. With step-by-step guides on how to attract media attention, access to media contacts, easy-to-use-templates and one-to-one time with industry experts, it’s an affordable solution designed to help businesses get their brand in the media.

Celia has more than 15 years experience advising some of the world’s biggest brands including Jack Daniel’s, Google, Mastercard and Harley-Davidson and has helped countless startups and small businesses tell their story too. Connect with her here.

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About Author

Paul Towers is a passionate supporter of the Australian startup ecosystem and the Founder of Startup Soda. Originally, Startup Soda was solely a newsletter that helped curate the best content from the Australian startup community, more recently however it has turned into a media platform with the aim of improving coverage of Australian Startups, Founders and VC's.

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