Congratulations! You've built a product and are now ready to get some press for it. Turns out this product now hires people, thus, becoming a newly-formed startup. Or your startup might have been existing for a while but you just raised some money and you want to signal to the world that you are in business, for real. Then, you've come to the right place.
The benefits of getting press for your startup (product or any entity) cannot be overstated. Good press builds credibility, shapes perception and could also lead to a buy decision from customers. Customers are compelled to make a purchase after going through a couple of touchpoints. Marketing and PR is one of the key touchpoints "before purchase".
As a publishing organisation, we've been at the receiving end of countless pitches from marketers at startups. But also, we've helped other startups plan and execute their PR. Most recently, we worked on the public beta launch of Anchor (more on this later).
In this article, we walk you through how to put together a Press Release roll-out for whatever situation.
However, before you even begin to think about executing a PR campaign and pitching the press with your latest announcement, here are some questions to consider while drawing up your PR strategy to avoid your pitch snoozing off in the journalist's mail inbox.
Do you really need the press?
If your reason for getting a press feature is to help you make direct sales, you probably do not need the press. Publicity is not an advertisement and sometimes does not translate to direct sales. All you need is the right marketing strategy that can help you generate leads. The press does not necessarily drive sales, but it helps build awareness about your startup, the highlights, achievements, team and latest project.
When putting together your PR strategy for an announcement, it is crucial to ask if your pitch/press release is newsworthy and relevant to the publication you are reaching out to. Content is the heart of media platforms, and journalists would rather choose to create a story based on the worthiness and timeliness of a press release.
What makes your announcement newsworthy?
For a journalist to consider your pitch/press release to be considered, it has to come from a strong human interest angle. The news angle is what draws the attention of the journalist. It is the reason the news editors will want to publish your story.
Keep in mind that publicity and marketing are two separate concepts. Your news release needs to tell people your story from the perspective of a seemingly objective third party. It should be something interesting about your start-up, like an innovative, unique business model or a ridiculously valued pre-seed round.
How do you sell your narrative to the press?
It is one thing to have a newsworthy announcement but another to know how to craft that pitch and sell your narrative to the press.
When pitching your story to the press, you should remember that what sells your story to a reporter/journalist is the impact and value of what your news/announcement offers their audience.
The pitch should be able to communicate what's important to you and the value you are offering to the journalist. Give enough background information and context, such as testimonials, statistics, research details, and case study excerpts. It makes your pitch/press release feel complete.
Using supporting body copy such as colourful quotes from your startup spokesperson/CEO brings your press release to life making it more relatable. Simply stating facts or sounding self-congratulatory won't do justice. A well-written pitch/ press release helps you control the narrative of your story and enables you to position your start-up as an authority in the industry.
What is your outreach/distribution strategy?
This is where the real work lies - finding the right platform and journalists to pitch your announcement. When mapping out your distribution strategy, your target audience should define the type of publication, podcast, or media outlet you pitch to. It would be best if you considered tech and business publications for start-ups in the tech space.
If your pitch is on an announcement on the pre-seed round you just raised, you must do due diligence to find journalists whose beat is on startup funding. There are good chances that your story will be considered. You don't want to mistake sending your media release to the wrong publication or journalist.
Related Article: Wimbart's Jessica Hope on tech media and PR in Africa
Work with a public relations/ Comms expert.
In addition to publishing news stories on our platform, we also work with Africa-focus start-ups to plan their Public relation strategy, including crafting their narrative and distributing to relevant media platforms for their publicity.
We work very closely with their clients to understand their brand or organization's value and communicate this value to the relevant audiences, creating campaigns that will affect how that client is perceived.
Working with a Public relation expert to plan and execute your strategies makes it easy if you are uneasy about certain aspects of handling your PR. Also, considering the experts' experience, they have more and better media contact that fits your announcement.
Are you launching a PR campaign/announcement for your startup soon? Do you want to work with us to get your message to the right audience?