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.
PR Success Quick Tips
As a publicist representing countless clients over the past years, there are many times that media requests come in that may not be on the client’s top ‘wish list’.
Perhaps the request is a smaller blog, a podcast that does not reach hundreds of thousands of people, or a local paper or freelancer. These may not be what we consider to be A-list media, but as I explain to many clients, do not discard the opportunity so quickly. My team and I have handled high profile projects; product launches, lifestyle, books, film, franchises, business, start- ups etc. When a smaller media outlet makes a request for an interview the initial reaction is often, ‘pass.’
But- Should we pass?
Our team at KBC Media have had clients on top tier shows such as The Today Show, GMA, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, BBC, Talk Shows such as Rachel Ray, Wendy Williams, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The View, The Talk, top print – newspapers and magazines.
One particular client I recall, we launched on a few of the national shows, but I also encouraged her to accept a few smaller podcast interviews and niche blogs. The client reported back, because the ‘niche’ blogs and podcasts hit their target audience they actually made more sales than the national shows.
The name recognition and branding are crucial to any new launch, but to hit that target demographic, perhaps the smaller niche outlets are also truly beneficial.
I have also explained to clients that you never know who reads the smaller blogs or hears the podcasts. I had a client who was only being interviewed in the smaller outlets, until a national editor read a blurb online and we landed a national magazine.
There is value in all high-quality interviews and if that smaller blog one day turns into a viral success, they will remember you and ask you back for follow up interviews. With proper keywords in the article, it will land in google searches and you may gain an audience.
As you embark on your PR campaign, my advice is quality not always quantity!
The KBC Media book PR division has represented over 500+ authors which include ‘Best Sellers’ from celebrities to business leaders, lifestyle and fiction novels. If it is not in your budget to hire a publicist, you can still garner media attention and sell books!
The good news is any book today, traditional or self-published can become a bestseller. If your book tells an incredible story, or information the consumer needs, you can make it a top seller.
Planning the promotion should start at least 6 months prior to the publication release date.
Your book launch is crucial to future sales and building and branding your name as an author. You need to strategically plan the groundwork for the book release.
Easy Steps to Success:
Press Materials- Digital Press Kit
Book Galley’s and ARC Mailing
Finished Book Mailing
Once the final book is printed, send to key media and contact, editors, bloggers, radio/ podcast producers and hosts.
Follow up with all media you sent the book to- via phone or email.
Book Sales Support
Strategize Publicity “Hooks” If you are doing your own publicity, you need to have a solid “newsworthy” reason for the press to report on your book. So, think of how your book can fit into ‘news’ that the m media is reporting on.
Quick Tips Checklist To Do Your Own Book PR
1: Write your own press release and distribute it via a press release wire service. This will provide good backlinks and some online buzz.
2: Design a digital media kit. There are many templates online or you can hire a freelance artist on Guru.com or Upwork.com. These kits are useful to send to media upon request.
3: Design a high-quality website- seek out national best-selling books and study their websites for tips on what would make your book website stand out. Quality is more valuable than quantity when it comes to your site. Once again, you can hire a web designer to do a great site if you do not have the time.
3. You can contact your local newspapers and offer yourself as an “expert” in the topic of your book. The journalist may interview you or you can be used as a “resource” for future stories on a similar topic. Offer yourself as an ‘expert’ as well to local radio and local broadcast news. Being a ‘published’ author adds credibility to you as an ‘expert’.
4: You can arrange with local libraries, schools, rotaries, book clubs and book fairs to provide free talks about your book topic. You can also sell books at these events and it is also a great reason to contact local media to cover the event.
5.Think about donating a few copies of your books to local libraries for their local author displays. This is a fabulous opportunity to get your book displayed and allow the public to learn about your book and hopefully purchase their own copy. Offer to sign the books, as this makes it more special to the reader.
6. Research bloggers online who review books in your genre. There are countless blogs, even if it is not well-known such as a Huffington Post, if it is in your niche, you will get sales.
7. Develop your own blog on the same topic of your book. Remember to post new content daily, as that is what gets it ranked higher in the search engines.
8. Contact and send a pitch to local news/ talk radio. If the topic of the book is valuable to your area city or community, you may get interviewed.
9. Contact local bookstores about doing book signings in their stores.
11. Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to post messages about where to find the book or about signings, conferences or other events where you will be appearing.
12. Get word-of-mouth promotions started through those that are referenced in the book as case studies or expert commentary.
13. Ask family and friends to help spread the word about your book or write a review for it.
It is important to create a need for your book and develop a must-have perception for it. These public relations tactics can be implemented immediately and at a relatively low cost to effectively get the word out about your book.
Indie films are the heart and soul of the filmmakers. Years of prep, financing, location scouting, travel, filming, post- production, submission to film festivals is the majority of the film budget. Brilliant indie films have won awards at the festivals, then competed against studio films in retail and online sales as well as Netflix and cable network deals. So, the path to success is accessible to all filmmakers.
Many of the indie films our team has successfully represented often had limited budgets. So how can you get the media to notice you without spending thousands each month on PR?
Tell your story. Whether your film is a documentary, sci-fi, romance, thriller or action film, your film synopsis has to catch the eye and ears of the media.
Find your hook! The hook can be why you made the film, any challenges you experienced, or perhaps the lead character or producers has a great backstory. If it’s a documentary, why this film will change thinking or enlighten the audience. If fiction, who inspired or if it’s based on an actual ‘event’. The spin is the story behind your film.
Every single person involved in the making of your film has a story and an angle you can pursue for media.
Create an Electronic Press Kit
(EPK) Your electronic press kit includes a photo’s and videos as well as short interviews you’re your principal cast and crew.
While filming you want to do off the set interviews with the cast, the director and producers that can be edited for the EPK.
Have them answer top questions the media might ask about the film.
If your film includes special effects interview the artists, or if filming in a unique location highlight that in the footage. These are future ‘selling’ points for media and film festival submissions. You can also include a short trailer in the EPK.
Important: Make sure any music used in the EPK is cleared for broadcast. You don’t want to have to backtrack and ask media to not use the soundtrack.
The long synopsis
This will include one single page which you need to make double spaced. You can tell the story in about ¾ of the page. The latter can include any anecdotes about the making if your film, and why it will stand out from other films.
The medium synopsis
Once again, it should be ¾ page long in which you summarize the film, but make it concise and to the point. The last few lines can be about the making of the film and why your film is unique.
The short synopsis format should be no longer then half the page. Once again, ¾ is your concise story about the film, highlight points that will grab interest, with the last few lines about the production and why the film will stand out.
Bios of Cast and Crew
Your EPK includes bios of all the key players involved in the film, from the producers, writers, composer, director, director of photography, actors and production designer. Include past work experience, for example any known films that the crew was part of in the past. Anything unique that will grab the eye of the media is valuable.
Ø Your EPK needs great photographs, include the following:Ø Producer on the setØ Director with the castØ Fabulous photos of the film scenes (have the photographer on the set days of important scenes being shot)Ø Highlight the equipment used in the making of the filmØ Any key players should be includedØ Remember, that perfect pic can be used on T-shirts, caps, posters and other promotional materials
It is vital for your promotion that you provide film festival submissions, journalists, and studios who may be considering distributing your film that you develop a most frequently asked Question and Answer area in the EPK. Include anything that explains the film, your mission, your audience and ultimate success of the film.Typically, it is about 10 questions. Often media who interview you will follow this messaging, so all parties being interviewed will be prepared.
Every filmmaker wants national attention on their film, but you may have to build to that, step by step. Start with local press, film blogs, YouTube videos and social media. Make your own buzz, then media will call you!
If you submit your film and get accepted, try to obtain a press list of who will be attending. Start to follow the key journalists on social media, then email your EPK and offer interviews with your key actors, directors, producer at the festival. Offer them a unique spin that will grab their attention. Always be polite, even if the journalist turns down an initial interview with you. If the film is getting buzz at the festival, then re -contact the journalist, you may get the interview.
If your film garners a commercial sale, Netflix, HBO, DVD sales, then you want to reach out to entertainment film reviewers/ writers. Email or mail the film screener, and follow up about a review. Gather as many friends as you can to view the film and post online reviews. Reach out to local and national journalists as well as bloggers, both large blogs and small, as long as the audience is in your niche.
Find a ‘spin’ in your film that will grab attention. Indie films our agency represented we had success with spins that landed the filmmakers on national talk and entertainment shows as well as national print. So, it is possible for a smaller indie film to get national press!
1. Make a typical news announcement come alive!
Many companies announce 'news' either via a press release or social media.
Example: Health Company Announces the Hiring of a New CFO.
An Exciting Spin on that announcement:
2. Make that announcement or other news more visual by accompanying infographics!
3.Target the media you are reaching out to with your announcement
Many companies handling their own PR campaigns often make the mistake of blasting their announcement to every outlet they can locate. This is like throwing a fishing line out in the middle of the ocean with bait for lake fishing!
Research the writers, who has covered stories like your niche in the past.
Follow them on social media, make positive comments. Set google alerts for similar topics and see what outlets are writing about it.
Personalize each email to the journalists and write the pitch to suit each outlet!