5 ways to raise your startup’s PR game

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There’s a lot of noise out there. The ability to effectively communicate can make or break your launch. It will play a role in determining who wins a new space — you or a competitor.

Most people get that. I get emails every week from companies coming out of stealth mode, wanting to make a splash. Or from a Series B company that’s been around for a while and hopes to improve their branding/messaging/positioning so that a new upstart doesn’t eat their lunch.

You have to stop thinking that what you are up to is interesting.

How do you make a splash? How do you stay relevant?

Worth noting is that my area of expertise is in the DevOps space and that slant may crop up occasionally. But these five specific tips should be applicable to virtually any startup.

Leverage your founders

This is especially important if you are a small startup that not many people know about. Journalists don’t want to hear opinions from your head of marketing or product — they want to hear from the founders. What problems are they solving? What unique opinions do they have about the market? These are insights that mean the most coming from the people that started the company. So if you don’t have at least one founder that can dedicate time to being the face, then PR is going to be an uphill battle.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do to support these efforts. Create a list of all the journalists that have written about your competitors. Read those articles. How can your founder add value to these conversations? Where should you be contributing thought leadership? What are the most interesting perspectives you can offer to those audiences?

This is legwork and research you can do before looping founders into the conversation. Getting your PR going can be like trying to push a broken-down car up the road: If the founders see you exerting effort to get things moving on your own, they’re more likely to get beside you and help.

Here’s an example: It may be unreasonable to ask a founder to sit down and write a 1,000-word thought leadership piece by the end of the week, but they very likely have 20 minutes to chat, especially if you make it clear that the contents of the conversation will make for great thought leadership pieces, social media posts, etc.

The flow looks like:

  1. You come up with topic ideas based on research.
  2. The founder picks their favorite.
  3. You and the founder schedule a 20-minute chat to get their thoughts on paper.
  4. You write up the content based on those thoughts.

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