DIY PR: How startups can do it themselves
Our three part series with JournoLink explores how new businesses can grow their brand through the wonders of PR.
Many startups avoid PR as they believe it involves hiring an expensive agency who have years of experience in the industry; however, a number of journalists would rather hear from the business owners themselves, as they have the passion and knowledge about the business.
In addition, there are several ways business owners can kick off their own PR simply and affordably, without being an expert writer or having a long list of media contacts.
Below, Camilla Holroyd, Media Relations Executive at JournoLink, the online PR platform for small businesses, explains how startups can do it themselves.
Social media platforms are a great starting point to find and engage with the media and wider audiences, as well as being completely free.
Twitter is especially good for interacting with the media. By following relevant journalists and bloggers, commenting on industry news and sharing related articles, you can begin to build a relationship with the media and show yourself as an expert in your field.
Some journalists and influencers will share their email addresses in their Twitter biography and through #journorequest, meaning you can begin to build a list of relevant media contacts.
If you have a visual business i.e. product based, then Instagram can also be a great platform to connect and engage with bloggers and influencers.
Editorial requests are when someone in the media is looking for a comment or case study. This is a great time to approach journalists as they want something from you. Therefore they will be more willing to talk and discuss your business.
However, when responding to an editorial request it is best to be helpful rather than salesy or pushy. Tell the journalist why you’re relevant for the request and offer contact details with a time to talk. You don’t need to overload them with information but they need to know who you are. Then, if they’re interested, they will come back to you with questions.
"When responding to an editorial request it is best to be helpful rather than salesy or pushy."
In order to find editorial requests you need to follow #journorequest on Twitter or you can sign up to a service who will provide these requests for you.
Once you’ve started to build relationships with the media and become recognised in your industry people may begin to approach you directly for comments.
When it comes to PR the phrase ‘press release’ is used a lot, however there is often a lot of confusion around what it actually is.
A press release is an informative document providing the necessary information to the media on a particular subject. Whether this is a product launch, event or business update, it gives the journalist an insight into your story and the opportunity to find out more information. It doesn’t need to be a long document over loaded with information, but straightforward and precise.
Once you’ve written your release you need to send it to relevant journalists either from your own media list or you can pay for a service which will provide journalists details or press release distribution. Copy and paste the press release into the email and offer contact details such as your mobile number.
"[A press release] doesn’t need to be a long document over loaded with information, but straightforward and precise.
It is important to make yourself available to talk to journalists and bloggers on the day and the few after emailing them.
Not sure what to write your press release on? Take a look at 5 ways to promote your startup in the media.