I have worked with countless startups over the past 10 years, some were hugely successful, others got their feet wet but moved on to another concept. Many of these early startups would state that they need PR but they were not sure if they afford it ?
Most entrepreneurs know a professional PR team could take their launch to greater heights, but as a boot- strapped startup there may not be a budget.
Statistics: 100 start-ups and entrepreneurs queried believed the cost as follows:
11% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $10,000+ per month
32% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $5,000-$10,000 per month
39% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $3,000-$5,000 per month
12% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $1,000-$3,000 per month
6% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost less than $1,000 per month
The facts are that you can launch a PR campaign whether the budget is small or large!
You have to determine what you can you get for your budget and will the campaign provide the ROI you need? It may be true that the more you pay the more you get. But getting the most publicity/PR exposure doesn’t mean you have to get most expensive PR agency or publicist.
Talk to other startups and ask about their experiences with PR agencies, would that agency be a fit, do they represent similar clients? There are boutique agencies who may focus on your niche and offer affordable retainer fees. Most of the time the fees will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small business or startup with two employees, you do not need to hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees.
The larger PR agencies typically represent the major brands, corporations or organizations, so they would not be a fit for your smaller venture. Their retainer fees can be upwards of $10,000.00 per month and you would be assigned to a junior publicist.
Smaller agencies may charge $2500.00 per month. Plus, a boutique agency can cater a campaign to your budget but still offer similar services:
Press Release Launch to the Wires
Social Media outreach to influencers
Many agencies offer media training as well.
There are major benefits of hiring a professional (individual PR specialist or PR firm) to launch your campaign:
Professional Crafted Campaign Implementation- Improperly composed or poorly pitched campaigns are the major downfall of many PR efforts. Poorly written, over-commercialized media releases; uncalculated, misdirected mass e-mailing of the release pitch; you need to know how to pitch the reporter, editors, and no follow-up media relations/media request fulfillment.
Your first vital impression: You get one shot with the journalist or producer or editor.
Media Contacts: Most skilled PR agencies have established multiple media contacts over many years that can lead to much better and more numerous media placements for your campaign. By working with an agency, they can open more doors for you.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: PR specialists/agencies generate publicity full time, and know the ins and outs, shortcuts and secrets to getting the job done better and quicker. You are the expert at your business, the PR teams are specialists at what they do!
One caveat when it comes to choosing a professional PR agency or Publicist to work with, seeking a higher priced campaign doesn’t necessarily mean you will get better results than a less expensive PR campaign. And the inverse can be true as well. They are low in cost because they may be lower quality. Bigger is not necessarily better, and cheap does not always mean a good bargain.
So, research is vital before you sign with an agency.
If your startup has the time and talent to handle your PR in-house, then try it for a few months. You can also seek college interns who are majoring in PR and want “real world” experience to assist your PR efforts. But once you have a budget, retain a PR pro, as they can help garner your business the media coverage to take you business to greater success. You have to be seen by your demographic, they they become loyal customers.
KBC Media- Karen L. Ammond
Many start-ups do not have a budget for retaining a PR agency. Hiring a professional PR team may guarantee coverage through their media connections. However, if there are no funds at the launch, then you can take action to conduct your own DIY PR campaign.
1: The initial step is to determine which media outlets are a fit. Have they written about your niche in the past? Most vital, will their coverage of your news reach future customers? Is this a publication your target audience follows? Carefully craft your media list.
2: Define your message, Prior to reaching out to the media outlet, research their past articles, follow journalists on social media who have written about your topic.
3: What is your story? What will make the media jump to interview you and share your story and get you exposure that can jumpstart your business, service or book into the limelight.
4: Put a dynamic pitch together. The pitch should not be too lengthy, introduce yourself to the journalist, share why other stories he or she has written has influenced you or your business. Describe your business or service, why the readers of the publication will want to learn more.
Tie into timely news stories of the day.
5: Press Release: A well written release launched onto the news wires is a great vehicle to link to your pitch.
6: How to reach the journalists?
There are media databases you can subscribe to such as:
Once you have chosen your media database, then search the outlets and writers. Try to located the journalists with email addresses, not a generic publication email.
7: Leveraging your media coverage
Congratulations on your press coverage. It is extremely important to capitalize on your media success.
Share on all your social media
Add the links and media logos to your website press page
Share the media links to your customers or email lists.
Once your company, service begins to grow, then it is a good decision to retain a qualified PR agency to take you to greater heights so you can focus on your business growth.
Press Release Success
Do press releases work? Are they worth the effort? Do they get results?
These are questions my team and I at KBC Media get asked quite often by our clients.
My response: A press release can be a great marketing and an SEO tool publicity.
How they work: Press releases are informative and objective pieces that are newsworthy and are circulated in PR wires for pickup by various newsgroups and editors. Once a press release is picked up, it can be published in various channels all over the Internet, or even through print publications. It is a way to spread to your message and or announcement about your business or product launch. The release is excellent to add your online website press room or to add links to media pitches.
How to construct a release: You cannot simply write a press release the same way you would an article, or a content piece, or a sales letter.
So how exactly should you write a press release? Let’s take a look at the guidelines below.
Pay attention to the 5 Ws. These are Who, What, When, Where, and Why. These are the questions that your press release should focus on. If you’re going to write a press release for a new lifestyle product you are launching or opening of a new restaurant, you should be able to state who you are, what your business is about, when it will, or was, launched, where it can be found and why it was established. If you are going to launch, or just launched, a new product, you would have to state who the creator is, what the product is all about, when it was or will be launched, where it can be bought, and why it was introduced to the market.
Be objective. Remember, a press release should be a newsworthy item. News is never subjective. Stay away from flowery words that merely tend to hype up what you want to discuss. Stick with the facts and ONLY the facts. You are writing news, not a promotional piece.
The ultimate aim is to promote your product, but be subtle about it. To do this, reorient your focus. Try to make your press release informative instead of persuasive.
There are three parts to a press release: the headline, the summary, and the body. The headline is the title of your piece. The summary is a paragraph that would serve as an introduction to your press release, or a summary of its most salient contents. The body is where you objectively discuss the 5 Ws. End with a ‘call to action’ for more information visit the website and add your link.
Length is not a factor. Don’t ever think that if you write a longer press release, it would have a better chance of getting picked up. Often, the rule is, the more concise your press release, the better its chances are of success. A 1,000-word piece is considered a little too long for a press release. 300 to 700 words are succinct enough for this purpose.
If you are not a skilled writer, you can hire a freelance writer who specializes in press release writing.
There are a few outstanding wire release services available depending upon your budget. Our agency has relationships with a few of the top services and our clients are always thrilled when their release lands on a few hundred media outlet sites.
The client can state, “As Seen On” and link to the release.
24–7 Press Release Newswire
Press releases can win your business the exposure it needs. It is capable of quick results as long your press release gets picked up and published. A lot of Internet marketers have testified to the power of press releases as marketing tools.
So, commence to write an objective and informative piece about your business or product, observe the guidelines we have delineated above, and ready yourself for the new audience you’re almost certain to garner.
Your digital press kit should include key information to garner extensive press coverage. Many clients request our agency to assist them with the design of the digital press kit, but it can be achieved in-house.
Digital Press Kit:
Always consider the time of a journalist, they are often on a deadline and do not have time to scour the internet for more information. By presenting a quality and enticing press kit, your chances increase of getting media exposure.
Onward to media interviews!
Quick PR Tips- Dealing with the Media in a Positive Way -- To Build Relationships with Local and National Press
Below are PR tips to assist you/ your company to build solid relationships with the media if you choose to do PR in-house. It is always beneficial to have a professional PR firm/ publicist, however not all companies, entrepreneurs or startups can commit resources to PR out of the gate.
I hope these quick tips assist in your PR campaigns until you are ready for a professional team.
If you are handling your media outreach in- house, it is very important to be responsive to media. If you receive a request for more information or asked to send a sample of your product line or book, react quickly. Often media are on a tight deadline, and by responding as soon as you receive the request, that will let that editor, reporter, or producer know, this is someone I can count on for future stories. Make this one of your top priorities when dealing with the press.
Stop a moment and think about responses before emailing:
Yes, media outlets who are writing a story and need an ‘expert’ quote, will be anxious to hear back from you. But, remember, as I stated above, you want to react swiftly, but consider what you are sending. Have an associate check what you have written, it is important what is in that email is ‘quotable’ for a story, but has value and you will be proud to post on your social media and use in your press kits.
My advice to clients has always been, provide, quality, and strong information. Then allow the writer/ reporter to choose what they wish to pull for their story. You have that one shot to be chosen for that quote or interview. Try to respond within 1 day.
All media is valuable, the smaller press can help you reach the national press:
I always ask clients to provide a media “wish list”. Most dream of that interview on The Today Show, or The Wall Street Journal, or if in entertainment The Tonight Show or People Magazine. But, as you grow, build, and brand your company, do not turn away from the smaller blog/ digital magazine or local radio show.
By doing a few smaller interviews, you can determine if your ‘messaging’ is reaching your audience, you will also not be as apprehensive if you make a small mistake or two. The smaller blogs, digital magazines, or radio show/podcast still provides terrific SEO to your company and or brand.
I tell clients, let’s garner a few smaller outlets (if they do not have a national name brand), get exposure, build your media presence and skills in delivering your message! Then we can move up to nationals.
Since reporters and producers tend to do online searches prior to booking you as a guest or for an interview, having 5 or 10 strong smaller interviews can only help to ‘grab the eye of the media.’
I had a client on a local Philadelphia Fox Good Day segment, it was such a success that Fox sent it to other Fox affiliates across the country. I’ve had clients do a radio podcast, something they said in the interview went viral and it landed on 10 more podcasts. So, you never know what one small interview can bring in the future. If you get quoted or get called for an interview, upon completion, always send a Thank You email or personal note via the mail.
Positive exposure is always valuable. Building trust with the media and your audience will help you reach the next steps in your business and or career.
Good Luck and Success in the Media!
The goal of Public Relations is to tell your story, build your credibility, brand you, your company, and or product. Then share your expertise and gain national recognition.
Become the Expert/ Influencer
A great tactic to become ‘an expert’ and in-demand by the media is to write valuable articles and white papers. Our agency has helped many clients become known as ‘the expert’ within their industry by placing their articles in key publications and niche blogs, whether it’s technology, lifestyle, entrepreneurial, and business.
We have garnered a multitude of client interviews and ‘quotes’ in top-tier publications and interviewed on regional, national broadcast news radio, podcasts, and talk shows.
Goal: Ensure your article is reaching your targeted audience and speaking directly to them. Offer value and begin a ‘conversation’ that may go viral.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors and Follow Key Media Journalists
It is vital to understand what your competition is doing with their marketing, media social media, and advertising. You can learn from their successes and failures. Research who in media have covered them. Share with key journalists what makes your business unique and why it would be of interest to their readers and viewers. Follow media in your niche in their social media and comment on their articles. Reference those articles, posts, and tweets in your pitches.
Provide Commentary to the Media
Bloggers and journalists are always seeking new story angles and expert opinions. By providing valuable commentary, your expertise, and knowledge on the topic, it will impress the journalist or producer who may quote you for their next story or news broadcast. Look for articles that pertain to your expertise and contact the writer with additional information for a follow- up article or news story about your business or service.
Speeches/ Conferences/ Events
You can position yourself as “The Expert” by speaking at local conferences, business clubs, and events. With the pandemic, many conferences have moved to Zoom meets. Offer your virtual expertise to key organizations. You can start small and who knows, you may become a “Ted Talk” speaker.
By appearing as a speaker, it will give you and your business instant credibility. Speaking helps with branding and building future customer relationships. Adding quality speaking engagements to your bio will also impress the media, making the journalist comfortable that you can be the ‘go-to-expert” for their stories.
These quick PR Tips will get you started with your DIY PR. Once you have reached a certain amount of success, you can transition to retaining an agency to soar to greater heights.