Five Tips for Getting PR for Your Startup

Because, you know, who doesn't love a good startup list.

1) Figure out who has written about companies like yours and reach out--when you don't need something.

Think about who else is in your space--other wearables companies, companies also focused on the smart home, you name it.  Those are going to be the reporters who are most likely willing to write about you.  When you've got that list together, just individually e-mail as many of them as you can.  Just introduce yourself and offer yourself up as a resource.

"Hi, I just wanted to thank you for covering this space.  I like the angle you took on this particular article/I appreciate that you've taken the time to highlight what all these companies are doing because others aren't/something nice about the reporter's effort.  I know all of these companies and a lot of others that are popping up because I have X expertise and experience, so if I can ever be a resource to you, even on background, please do feel free to contact me.  I've included a short list below of a few 1-2 sentence thoughts, predictions, or generally crazy ideas that I don't think are shared by my peers about where the space is going to give you a sense of what my perspective is.

I'm actually starting a company/have started a company in this space and don't have anything to share at the moment, but will at some point would love to be able to share our funding news, product launches, or maybe collaborate with other companies on trend pieces in the space."

This way, the journalists most interested in what you're up to reveal themselves by engaging with you based on that note--and you've given them a reason to contact you.  Maybe the fact that you think that Amazon will get into Cleantech for some crazy reason or that phone numbers will eventually disappear in favor of just connecting to people or companies will strike a chord--or maybe even inspire a future article.

2) Follow journalists on Twitter and Instagram

These folks are real humans as well and they have interests outside of tech.  If they're a sports fan, also like stand up paddling or just took an amazing trip to a place you love, note it in your interaction with them.  Find other reasons to connect with them.  They'll remember you as the other long suffering Mets fan and you'll have a reason to connect up that doesn't involve them covering your funding announcement.  Plus, they'll see you as the reasonable/fun/kind/positive/whatever kind of person you are and be more willing to help you out versus assuming you're just some spoiled millennial that WANTS COVERAGE NOWWWWWW because you're special.  Brat.

3) Split up the story.  

Your launch isn't just a launch.  It's eight different things.  

It's a story of a mechanical engineer turned startup entrepreneur who has seen how NYC actually works (and built a company to help it run smooth) from as deep undergroud as the East Side Access Project under Grand Central and as high as the roof of the NY Times building.  (See Mike Brown from Logcheck.)

It's the story of your customers--the ice cream shop owner and dog groomer who now use your technology to gain new customers, because tech savvy small business people could be interesting when they have quirky businesses.

It's the story of your particular view on hiring your tech co-founder and how it paid off.

It's how the future of TV is in your phone and why they'll stop making remotes one day in favor of apps, like your app.

Bounce ideas off of others try to figure out all of the different ways that your company is interesting, so that you can divide and conquer.  If the only story is that you got funded, that's not as interesting for 25 reporters to cover versus each of them covering something uniquely crafted for their audience and interest.  

4) Collaborate with other startups.

Journalists love when news fits a trend.  A trend, in case you don't know, is when something doesn't just have to do with your cruddy little startup but when eight other cruddy little startups are all doing something the same way that is new, or assumes a new behavior from customers, or is reflective of something new in the industry.  Work with other companies to share contact lists, introduce each other to other reporters, and to pitch things together.  You can't get a story just about you in the press everyday, but a reporter has to write something every day--so how can you help them fit your news in a context and have something to write about when they're not writing about you.

5) Create an editorial schedule.

You had a great launch.  Now what?  What is anyone going to say about you for the next six months week in and week out.  If you don't plan it out, it's not going to happen that way.  Think about what you want people saying about you and what is reasonable to say about you over time.  Sometimes, often times, that means you'll be the one saying it--through blog posts, videos, etc...  but it needs to be a story arc about your company so that you don't front load everything for the week that some internet CEO gets tragically crushed by a stack of servers.Save & Close