Maximizing a modest budget is commonplace for startups. That’s especially true when it comes to PR. Partnering with a PR firm is an important investment for marketers, but in order to be successful they need to be able to work with an agency that knows how to be scrappy during slow periods, while ramping up the volume and velocity when things get busy.
Here are three keys for startups to consider as they begin their PR initiative:
1. Keep your ears close to the ground
Establishing a media narrative around a new, emerging market need is challenging for any company, but for startups it’s especially difficult. Reporters need to understand how to connect the dots between your brand and other broader issues and narratives that they already cover. Meanwhile, PR pros have to keep their ears close to the ground, ready to pounce on key storylines as they develop in real-time.
This is exactly what we did for Vungle, the leading performance marketing platform for in-app video ads. After learning that Ari Levy at CNBC was working on a longer lead piece about ad blocking, we quickly pitched him on the idea of talking to Vungle to learn more about the broader in-app advertising ecosystem and how they work with developers. He not only agreed to speak with our client, but wound up writing an entire profile piece dedicated to their partnership with Microsoft.
Keeping your thumb on the pulse of the media landscape and being ready to react as opportunities arise is critical to securing coverage outside of major corporate or product news—you never know when your evergreen pitch will turn into a feature opportunity.
2. Never underestimate the power of a good byline
Getting reporters to tell your company’s story is great, but there’s nothing wrong with you telling your own corporate story too! Bylines are an incredibly effective tool for ginning up attention around your brand while corporate news is slow. They also provide great content for repurposing on social media, blogs and elsewhere.
For example, goTransverse, a cloud-based monetization engine, did not have a lot of corporate or product news in 2016. What we did have, however, was an executive with a clear point of view on monetizing the Internet of Things, which we were able to turn into a byline series at TechTarget. The regular cadence of contributed content provided goTransverse with a steady drumbeat of coverage to bolster what came through traditional reporter outreach.
3. Don’t forget about local media!
Does your business have some impressive growth numbers to share? Going on a hiring spree? Launching a new initiative that’s poised to impact the local community? Don’t forget about your local media.
When Koupon Media, the leading mobile offer and retail network in the industry, learned that they earned a spot on the prestigious “Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies,” we turned to local media as our key vehicle for sharing Koupon’s story. Securing coverage around award wins in and of themselves is challenging, so we knew we needed to get crafty if we wanted to get the press to pay attention. By leveraging the story of Koupon’s rapid rise to becoming a leading mobile offer provider, Koupon saw not one but two profile pieces in the Dallas Business Journal as well as coverage in the Dallas Morning News and CSP Daily News.
The bottom line is this: whether you’re looking to maximize a corporate announcement or amplify attention around your company’s behind-the-scenes growth story, reaching out to local media—and staying in touch over the long term—is critical when it comes to building a profile.
In startups, it often feels like you’re building the plane as it’s taking off—especially when it comes to marketing. Partnering with an agency that knows how to be flexible as the media environment changes and proactive when it’s slow, will help not only maximize your overall PR budget but also set you up for success over the long term.
Senior Account Manager