3 Fundamentals Learned the Hard Way About Generating PR for a Startup

You learned your customer's problem and offered a solution. That's the basic idea for selling your story to journalists, too.

learn more about Vikas Lalwani

By Vikas Lalwani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

PR is an important channel to get the word out about your startup. It not only is a way to get more customers, but it is also important for recruiting, business development, fundraising and your overall company morale.

Although it can be a difficult channel to crack initially if you decide to do it on your own, it is very much possible to get good media coverage without hiring any agency. Journalists want to write good stories and most of them welcome pitches through cold mails. You just need to pitch them the right way to get their attention.

When you're pitching, make sure you keep following points in mind:

Personalize Your Pitch

Remember this: news-outlets don't write about your startup, it is the individual writers that do. All of them have different areas of interest. Before pitching to anyone, read what topics they write about in their bio. Read their previous articles before deciding whether they are right fit for you or not. Then send them your personalized pitch, one journalist at a time.

Related: 9 Juicy 'Extras' to Offer Journalists That Can Instantly Sweeten Any PR Pitch

In the beginning, I used to make a huge list of journalists and send a common mail to all the them without taking time to personalize the pitch. It was the worst mistake that I made. Not surprisingly, I never got any write-ups from it. Journalists get hundreds of pitches every day. They can easily identify whether you have taken time to craft your pitch for them. You'll have to be extremely lucky to get any response through this approach.

It's far better to take time to send your "personalized' pitch to a few journalists who you know write about a topic than to "spray and pray" to a huge, unqualified list. Also, you are bound to make funny mistakes like this if you try mass emails:

Share Facts, Not Opinions

We all know the importance of sharing stories rather than just product features. But it's far more important to back what you are saying with proof. Saying "our conversion improved by 500%' will always work better than saying "our conversion improved dramatically'.

Journalists love facts, numbers, proofs. You'll have a much better chance of getting their attention if you share those in your pitch.

Related: Tips for Pitching the Media

Your startup might be the biggest thing in your life, but to convey this emotion to others you need to back your story with hard numbers. This is very well captured in a tweet by Lora Kolodny of WSJ:

Be Patient

Last, but not the least, give journalists some time to respond. Hundreds of startups are out there, as interested in getting some coverage as you are. The more popular the blog, the fiercer the competition to get in.

So, if you have done the above two things right, you have a much better probability of getting a positive reply. But you have to wait and give them some time to respond. Mailing them frequently will annoy them, as shared by The Next Web's Natt Garun:

It's a good idea to wait for a couple of days before you send a reminder email. If you don't hear after a reminder as well, move on to the next person. Tweak your pitch, if you think it's necessary, then send it to another journalist.

Now get yourself out there and get your startup covered! If you have made it to here, you have much better chances of success.

Related: 7 Ways to Stop Wasting Everyone's Time and Get the Press Coverage You Want

Vikas Lalwani

Marketing Analyst

Vikas Lalwani is a member of the marketing team at FusionCharts, a startup providing JavaScript charts to 23,000+ customers. He is also community manager at Zidisha, a Y Combinator backed non-profit helping entrepreneurs in developing countries. You can catch him on Twitter via @LalwaniVikas

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