How to Get PR for Your Startup

Step one to getting people to pay attention to your business is getting the press to pay attention. That can be a challenge.

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By Murray Newlands • Nov 3, 2014

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Getting PR for your startup is one of the best ways to get yourself out there and increase your customer base but how to do it has baffled many founders. Knowing how to code a great iPhone app teaches you nothing about getting the media coverage you need. Customers buy from companies make their purchasing decisions based on many different factors, but one of those things is trust, which can be hard to put in a new company that does not have much information out on them.

Companies that garner attention from the press are able to inspire more trust from customers, who will be much more willing to purchase a product from a source reported on by trusted media. Good press also allows you to tell the story of your small business and your mission, as well as establish yourself as an industry leader. You have opportunities for branding, expanding and networking, all in one little package - clearly PR is absolutely essential to the growth of any small business.

Related: 5 Ways to Get PR for Your Startup Without Spending a Pretty Penny

Getting press attention is not always easy

Journalists hear pitches all the time. If you are throwing them generic pitches, they will throw yours in the trash. If you seem focused on only yourself, they are going to ignore your proposal. You have to see the big picture when it comes to pitching your business to journalists.

Jouranlists are people

The first step to getting the attention of journalists is fairly easy - just treat them like they are human. Let the journalist know you follow their work and your story fits with their beat.

Learn what journalists write about and what their audience loves to share. Pitch them similar stories. When you show that you took the time to learn what they generally cover, you show you are serious about earning the press. You also show respect. Get to know them as people, not just someone you can sell to. No one likes to be sold to. Do not spam their email box with press releases.

Related: 4 Secrets to Pitching Your App to Reporters

Find journalists who cover your niche

To get better press attention for your business, pursue journalists who write about your niche. A journalist whose beat most matches the industry your business is in will get you press coverage faster and the coverage you receive will be better.

Some believe there is no such thing as bad press, but there most definitely is - press that is poorly written, off topic or lacks any sort of substance. The best way to get around this is to find an expert on your industry who can clearly explain your business and knows in which channels to promote it.

Pitch a story

The best way to get better press for your business is to pitch a story instead of just asking a journalist to write about your business. While there are places for business write ups, most PR is about a story. Stories are more interesting and create emotional connections.

If your company has a mission or an innovative vision, focus your pitch on the story behind the product instead of the product itself. Make your pitch about a topic, not about your company. A sales pitch is not very entertaining to read, but a story about helping people can be.

In my new book How to Get PR for Your Startup:Traction Cynthia Johnson, director of social media marketing at RankLab and editorial director at Social Media Club says it "..has nothing to do with what you say about yourself and everything to do with what other people say about you."

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

Murray Newlands

Entrepreneur, business advisor and online-marketing professional

Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and speaker. He is the founder of ChattyPeople.com chatbot builder tool and Sighted.com. Read his blog MurrayNewlands.com.

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