If you’re a startup entrepreneur who’s considering hiring PR, but is working with a less-than-Gates budget, chances are you are savvy enough to turn on the computer and start the PR reach, DIY style. Yes, PR pros have many industry contacts and resources, but with the new media landscape affording the public an all-access pass to these once closed contacts, you can now become your own PR expert.
It will take some time, of course, but a bootstrap approach to public relations will cost you little to no money and will allow you to get up close and personal with your industry and the media outlets that cover it and start generating a buzz for your business.
Investigating the Industry
Managing your own PR means getting seriously acquainted with the media outlets you are approaching and equip yourself with essential online PR proficiency.
Start Your Bootstrapping PR Campaign By:
- Habitually reading blogs, newspapers, freelance writers, magazines and Twitter accounts related to your industry or specialization.
- Researching competitors and what types of media are covering them.
- Subscribing to the RSS feeds of those media outlets.
- Creating a Twitter account to monitor writer and publication dialogue.
Once you have consumed as much information about the relevant media outlets and how they operate, you will have a better sense of how to successfully approach those outlets and join in on the discussion.
Become Part of the Conversation
One of the easiest ways of getting your name out there and starting a buzz for your startup is interacting within the media outlets you want to break into and becoming part of the conversation.
Start the dialogue by:
- Commenting on other blogs and articles within your industry
- Creating your own blog on general topics affecting your business’s industry
- Generating blog posts from Twitter trends
- Contributing articles for journals, websites and trade publications
Mike Troiano, a principal at marketing firm Holland-Mark, says , “Start-ups are all about getting a growing set of concentric circles to buy in. That kind of organic growth — word of mouth, bit by bit, Facebook Like by Facebook Like — increasingly, that’s the way a lot of these startup brands are being built. Every great brand starts with a group of really committed zealots. The backflow of info from that committed audience can be invaluable to you in shaping your product.”
Connecting yourself into your industry by joining the conversation gets your name out there and generates a buzz about your startup. That way, when you’re ready to tell your story you will already be an active participant in the dialogue and have a growing audience of potential consumers.
When it’s time to start pitching your startup to reporters and bloggers, keep in mind the power of your title. Founder, CEO, Entrepreneur. Starting your own company is intriguing, and people want to hear your story.
By creating press releases that are personal and captivating, you are more likely to connect with your audience and generate effective attention from the press.
Consider these pitch perfect tips:
- Start Small– Getting your name out there through pitching to smaller media outlets can help you establish credibility for when you approach larger markets.
- Make a Press List- Websites such as EasyMedaList.com offer lists of journalists at a low cost. A little Google time can also bring up relevant writers to pitch to.
- Be Current– If you can tie your press release to recent news or an upcoming event the likelier you will get more media coverage.
- Create a Media Kit- Make sure your website includes links to photos, video and contact info, and when you receive any press, update your Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
If you just don’t have the time it takes to handle your own PR, there is always the “hiring the professionals” route. This will also require your time and effort, but it’ll be less hassle and worth the investment. Even so, the new open and public media landscape has made it possible for even bootstrapped startups to become their own PR star!
Now, go forth and make your startup debut. The public is ready to hear your story, baby!
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