A Kickass Intro to Early Stage PR

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

The Why

All Publicity is Good Publicity

Every company, with any product, in any market, needs publicity. The old saying “if you build it, they will come” hasn’t been true for decades. If they can’t find out about your product or brand, they can’t come get it. Don’t let them miss out on your great thing you’ve got going on because your public relations strategy sucks.

Whether you’re a startup or an established company, you will benefit from press. Nobody is above the wonders of the published word. Not only does it bring traffic to your site and online profiles, but you’ll also benefit from the social validation and legitimacy provided by the increased visibility and reach.

The How

Data + User Personas + Hustle = Growth

How do you get this press, you ask? You create it. You know you have to, or have already, build something that caters to your target niche (hopefully). So once you have created that, it’s time to find out where this niche likes to read, eat, breathe, and inhabit. What worlds do they live in? Tim, a middle-aged dad in Wisconsin, is probably not interested in reading about your company’s  temporary tattoos in Seventeen magazine. But Lauren will definitely be looking for the latest and greatest [something tech] in [tech publication]. You probably use, and love, your product. Where do you like to get your news from? Get into the minds of your target audience. The STB crew loves creating data-driven User Personas.

Once you’ve figured that out, you need to find all the places that write about stuff that’s similar to yours. When we say similar, keep in mind that like attracts like. Not ‘vaguely related’. A small publication that covers artisan, handcrafted notebooks isn’t going to be interested in your app that looks like a notebook. Nobody there gives a shit. Find all the places (all. the. places.) that cover things directly related to your company or product and then break them down into lists. These lists can be broken down by categories like; website, small blog (under x views/month), large blog (over x views), massive publication, print news, etc.

The What

Earning their attention

Once you’ve sectioned your publication sources, come up with your unique angle. Your hook. Why should anyone, besides your mom, care about what you have to say about this product? Even she may not care if you don’t pitch it well. Your angle and pitch rely on a good story. Not sure how to tell a story? Check out our other blog post on how to craft compelling content. Good stories aren’t full of boring details, they have a hook and a mission that draws the reader in. Your mission is singular and it needs to be out in the world. Are you selling candles that smell like your favourite roasts of coffee? Cool idea. Why is that unique? Why is your candle better? Because yours are named after swear words? Epic. We love you.

So. You’ve got your company or product, the places and people you want to hear about it, and your unique angle. You’re halfway there!

It’s time to start making that press kit. Your research phase should include information about what type of content the outlet, or category of outlet, publishes. Once you know this, you need to adapt your press release to suit. Going for traditional newspapers? That kit should vary from pitching to a blog.

In the more general sense, every good press kit contains a company overview, founder photos, logos, press mentions, product shots, and other visuals. The visuals are particularly where those options come in handy, especially since it’s the easiest way to see the product in use. Say Coffee Candles Weekly publishes a certain kind of graphic, but you didn’t include it in your press kit. There goes one source of press. See ya!

The Execution

You’re so appealing they’re telling everyone about you

The next step is getting that press kit out into the world to all those sources you’ve painstakingly curated. How do you get your message to each publication in a way that makes them say “yeah, this does look interesting”? Simply. They get numerous emails a day, just like everyone else, so they’re not interested in a whole page “about you.” Honestly, nobody is. So, the best way to save you, and them, time? A punchy introduction, a one sentence pitch (you can do it!), and an ask or offer. Ask them if they want your press kit. Or offer it to them. This is personal preference, with no option being better than the other. Your pitch will be so good that they’re going to want it.

Make it good, get it out there, and contact that press. Go get ‘em, tiger.

The Takeaway: You need press, so get hustling and figure out who you want talking about your stuff. Craft press kits with unique angles and all the options they want. Get those press kits into inboxes with a simple and to-the-point pitch. It’s better to say “we’re here, are you into it?” than “please, please write about us.” Don’t be desperate. You’re better than that.

Interested in the perfect pitch? Give us your email and we’ll give you the exact template we use at STB.

elizabeth mcintyre