Public Relations – Traction Channel #2

Public Relations(PR) is Traction Channel #2. Traditionally, PR refers to a company’s public messaging of all kinds getting coverage from traditional media like news outlets, newspapers and magazines.  Aside from the obvious benefit of publicity, entrepreneurs gain credibility by understanding and using PR as a Traction Channel when it fits into the Critical Path of the startup’s development. How Public Relations media works Startup founders are often unsure about how to get press. The first step is to understand how Internet-driven media works.  Newspapers have finite spots for articles.  Blogs are different, as they can publish an infinite number of articles and every article they publish is a chance for more traffic. Most blog sites make their money from advertisements , so they want to drive as many page views as possible.  Examples: Huntington Post, Tech Crunch, etc. It is better to start with markets you know you can enter. The big media like, New York Times, are tough to enter, but are always scanning for significant new stories from other smaller sources.  Start there. Another key factor on PR is addressed on the Kissmetric blog. “Instead of waiting to engage individuals at the exact moment you need something from them, try using a more proactive approach: start building relationships with your preferred media outlets early on. There is incredible value in viewing the daily public relations of your startup as a two-way street.” How to Pitch for PR Jason Kincaid, a former reporter at TechCrunch, advises bundling smaller announcements together into one big announcement whenever possible. Check out one of our other StartupRunner KnowledgeBase article called, “Startup Press Release”.  Jason Baptiste in 13 Ways to Get Press When You Launch Your Startup clarifies, “The media has hundreds of startups pitching them everyday and vying for attention, so your startup needs to stand out in the crowd.” In the SR article, we also have Jason’s example press release email template, as well as ten articles on Press Releases. Press Release Tactics-

  • Follow influencers in your industry and reach out to the blogs they often link to.  Have a goal in mind when you choose where to focus your pitching efforts.
  •  If you want funding, or if your target users are the startup/ tech crowd, TechCrunch and re/ code are good places to go.
  • A good first step is using a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), where reporters request sources for articles they are working on.  Another starting point is to offer reporters commentary on stories related to your industry. One of your (many) jobs as a startup founder is to stay on top of market trends.
  • You can also use Twitter to reach reporters online.  This is exactly how DuckDuckGo was recognized as one of Time Magazine’s top 50 sites in 2011: Gabe interacted with the reporter on Twitter and was then included in the feature piece.
Amplify your story by:
  1. Submit a small story to community sites (like Digg, reddit, Hacker News, etc.) with larger audiences.
  2. Share it on social networks to drive awareness, which you can further amplify with social ads (see chapter 10).
  3. Email it to influencers in your industry for comment. Some of them will share it with their audience.
  4. Ping blogs in your space and show that you have a story that’s getting some buzz. These writers may then want to jump in themselves to cover you.
Fundraising efforts are substantially impacted by Public Relation. Investors need information to justify their decisions, and they need social proof and examples and evidence that they’re doing the right thing. In Traction, Weinberg and Mares wisely state, “Investors already know if they want to invest in you or not, and they’re looking for confirmation that they made the right call. Press is one of the single most effective things for pushing people over the edge and confirming they did the right thing.” Public Relation Firms can offer significant help in moving this Traction Channel.
  • Figure out the best messaging and positioning to the press.
  • Unify your messaging to the press.
  • Do the needed legwork in setting up press engagements (especially bigger media tours and events).
  • Break into outlets that are traditionally harder to break into like broadcast TV and radio, where relationships with reporters and producers are harder to form.
The key is knowing when and the amount of your resources your startup should directed toward Public Relations. Resources  ]]>