PR is a great tool for start-ups, especially if your company does not have funds available for a large Google AdWords campaign or other relatively expensive marketing actions. The right PR agent can easily be worth every cent you pay, if he or she can get your company recognized and promoted in media that reach your target groups.
Becoming an effective PR agent takes time. But even though you shouldn’t attempt to handle all your own PR, it can be effective to contact appropriate journalists yourself. Here are some basic rules for gaining media recognition and coverage, and for writing a good press release.
1. Journalists can be lazy – help them out
Make it easy for journalists to understand what your release is about. Structure your release as a sort of “news funnel,” with the more important point stated right at the start. Make sure your release covers each of these aspects: clear (and preferably repeated) mention of your company name; statistics; specific, real-life examples of product purpose and uses, user experience, etc.; contact details; an excellent headline (interesting, attention- grabbing), and links to your website.
2. Product info vs. product benefits
Ordinarily, people are far, far more interested in which of their personal problems your product solves, or the painful consequences it helps them avoid, than they are in other facts or figures about the product itself. This doesn’t mean you should not say anything about the product. It just means you should give much more attention and emphasis to how it solves specific problems and benefits the user.
3. Journalists are not monsters
Journalists are fundamentally writers. They like to tell good, exciting stories. They like to inform, but in a way that excites or impresses – whether it’s a positive or negative way.
Do not be afraid to contact journalists directly. Tell them about the things they’ve written that caught your attention, impressed you and motivated you to contact them.
One easy way to establish a good relationship with a journalist is to write to him or her each time you read one of their articles that touches on your particular field or interests. Thank them for the work, tell them what you liked or appreciated about it, even tell them about parts you may have disagreed with. This kind of communication can be a very effective opener.
4. Negative can have bigger impact than positive
Stories that bring readers negative news are often met with greater interest than positive stories. You can give a story a negative slant – talking about a problem, or a negative fact or event, but then be sure to point out how your product or service is a positive in that same area – how it can solve the problem, or relieve or improve negative facts, events or outcomes.