You’re likely interested in PR for startups because you want to improve your brand reputation and attract more customers. 

There’s just one problem…

Traditional PR agencies can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you’re still in the early stages of building your business. Yet significant media exposure rarely happens by accident…

That’s why you need a PR strategy for startups — a proven guide to getting the right press coverage at the right time. 

Now, let me say this:

Effective PR for tech startups takes energy and effort. Every business wants to land the cover of Forbes, yet few take the time to create a unique, interesting, or newsworthy story to share. 

However, with the right strategy, every entrepreneur can (and should) build a buzz around their business. 

If you’re ready to generate targeted traffic, build your brand legitimacy, and garner high-profile social validation, this guide to PR for startups is for you. Let’s dive in:

The truth about PR for startups

Using PR to promote your startup is an intelligent marketing strategy, but you can’t just pitch journalists boring, run-of-the-mill content and expect a write-up. 

Ask yourself, What’s in it for the reporter and their audience — why should they care?

This is where the art of storytelling comes in. 

Compelling stories capture attention and move people to action. Create a brand story that is new and newsworthy. Share a story that the media will want to report on now. Think about the purpose behind your product and how you guide your target customer along their buyer’s journey.

Then, use the popular RIBS framework to ensure you’ve checked the necessary brand positioning boxes. It looks like this:

Relevant: Why should your audience care about your startup or offering?

Inevitable: Does your offering or product make sense? 

Believable: Does your story or message convince people to take action, or does it seem too good to be true?

Simple: Can your value proposition be explained quickly and easily, ideally in one sentence?

4 Steps to getting press for your startup

Have you heard the saying, “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for”? 

I say we stop hoping for valuable press coverage and start creating the buzz we deserve instead. Start by following these five steps for tech startup PR:

1. Create your story

We’ve already touched on the importance of storytelling in PR for startups. Before you send your first media pitch, you want to ensure your brand story will capture media attention. 

It helps to think like a journalist. Consider if your story is:

1. Newsworthy

Is your pitch new, timely, or otherwise cutting-edge? If you’re struggling to create a story, consider piggybacking off another hot topic or trending story. 

The effects of rising interest rates. The ongoing ramifications of supply chain issues. Ongoing Peloton woes. Keep a pulse on what stories generate interest, then think about how you can respond to a story or insert your brand into a trend. 

2. Novel

Is your pitch unique and exciting? Are you saying the same thing as every other tech startup, or do you have a thought-provoking angle to share? 

Regularly talking to your customers and running early startup paid ads will help you get this step correct. 

2. Build relationships with the right people

Now that you’ve got a story to share, it’s time to find someone who can help you tell it!

Create a database of bloggers, journalists, and media contacts that write to your target audience. Dreaming big is excellent (put Entrepreneur Magazine on your vision board!), but don’t neglect the smaller news outlets, too. Lower-profile blogs and writers are more likely to respond to your pitch and will help you build rapport and credibility. 

Once you’ve got your list of contacts, take the time to make meaningful connections. 

Follow reporters on Twitter and LinkedIn, and leave helpful and valuable comments. Get to know the journalist’s unique style and discover what makes them tick. 

According to a study by Fractl, 64% of reporters said, “it was moderately to very important to establish a personal connection before pitching.”

So, don’t skip this step. A dash of effort and a touch of personalisation is often all it takes to network successfully. 

3. Master the quick yet customised email

Reporters don’t have the time or energy to slog through long, drawn-out emails. Keep your pitch succinct, and speak specifically to the person to whom you’re writing the email. 

Here are a few tips for writing killer emails that generate PR for startups:

  • Invest in your subject line — capture interest from the get-go with an intriguing and relevant headline.
  • Personalise the email introduction.
  • Immediately get to the point; share who you are and why the reporter should care. 
  • Follow the storytelling steps outlined above!
  • Don’t send media kits, startup press releases, or links from the get-go. Focus on garnering interest, then ask if the journalist wants more information.
  • Follow up around two times before giving up. Media contacts are busy, and silence doesn’t always mean no. 

4. Prepare your website for media coverage

Imagine the following scenario…

You’ve invested your time and energy in implementing a PR strategy for startups. Your media coverage was well received, and you’re thrilled to secure a dozen or so media mentions. 

Now you’re ready to sit back and watch the customers roll in… 

The only problem? Traffic to your website increases, but leads and conversions do not…

Unfortunately, I’ve heard similar situations from far too many tech startups. 

Before investing your limited time and resources into a PR strategy for startups, ensure that your product and website are ready for media coverage. 

These tips will help you optimise your landing page for maximum conversions. 

Pro tip: If you know you will receive media coverage from an outlet with a significant audience, consider creating a custom landing page with personalised messages. I explain how to do so here.