5 PR Tactics That Might Be Destroying Your Startup

Latest posts by Nora Leary (see all)

Media helps get the word out about your startup in order to build a more extensive community that can use your product or service. Particularly for smaller companies and startups competing on a large market landscape, PR can help differentiate your service from bigger, more well-known companies. Gaining the attention of reporters can be difficult, especially since they receive thousands of emails per day from new businesses looking for media attention.

If you are not getting any feedback from members of the media, you may be performing any one of these five PR tactics that can destroy a startup’s chance of gaining coverage.

#1: Being too verbose

You should be able to explain what you do quickly and succinctly to anyone, but especially to busy reporters. If you can’t describe your startup in one sentence without industry jargon, then you might not understand your solution well enough, and you might need to go back to the drawing board. Use this simple one-sentence pitch format from The Founder Institute as a guide:

My company, (name of company), is developing (a defined offering), to help (a defined audience) (solve a problem) with (the secret sauce).

#2: Overstating your worth

Claiming to be the “first,” “best” or “only” of something is far overreaching because most likely your startup is not. While you may be a new, innovative company, you obviously have competition in the market. Using those trigger words signal inexperience, so avoid them in a pitch to a reporter.

Also avoid: “game-changing,” “there’s no doubt” and “we are the global leader in…” Anyone can dispute all of those claims, so just leave them out of your pitch entirely.

#3: Forgetting social proof

Instead of claiming to be “the best,” use social proof to prove your startup’s worth. Include a bulleted list of what makes your company unique. For example:

  • Your startup is a TechStars graduate
  • Your founding team is all under 25 years old
  • You previously worked at Facebook

#4: Mail merging

If you want a reporter to write about your startup, they deserve a unique, individual email about why, specifically, he or she should care about your company. Mail merging (or sending one email to a mass email list) is the top way to get ignored by a reporter. Instead, take the time to research why the person you are contacting should cover your story.

#5: Ignoring smaller publications

Of course, most startups want to be in The New York Times or TechCrunch, but does your target market read those publications? Or, do they read smaller, more niche blogs? You may get more conversions from other specialty publications, so don’t forget to reach out to them with your news, as well.

Startups don’t need to break the bank in order to run a successful PR campaign, but there are certain best practices to follow when bootstrapping PR.

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For more tips and tricks on how to hack PR on your own, download the “50 Public Relations Hacks for Startups” eBook and start making some serious noise for your company.

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