6 PR Tips for Generating Publicity for Your Startup

Editor’s Note: YoungEntrepreneur’s Ask the Expert column seeks to answer questions about from starting a business to growth strategies. To check out the column on Twitter — and have a question — use hashtag #YEask, or leave a comment below. Your query could be the inspiration for another column.

Q: How do you get my business and myself more publicity? I would like to can get on TV and into bigger publications. I’d like my business on leading page. – Jason Baudendistel Southern Illinois University

A: When people or companies ask me, “What’s the ultimate way to get my name in lights?” I typically redirect their energy and have them to take into account this statement: “If my business was to get an enormous amount of attention from my market, then my business would reap the benefits of both a brand equity and growth standpoint.”

Inflated egos notwithstanding, the PR engine could be both a blessing and a curse — and if you’re ill prepared, publicity can ruin the trustworthiness of a business (or person) prior to the market includes a chance to decide when you have a viable service or product.

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So let’s have a step back and assume that you have a viable business and an over-all idea of your market. Let’s also assume you’ve left your ego at the entranceway and you have the human capital and bandwidth to sustain and grow your business if all of a sudden (as promised) you have one thousand new customers.

If the above assumptions are true, listed below are six principles of PR that may show you in taking your product from lame to fame. Queue camera.

1. Make it emotional. Consider your story. Are you a travel app that means it is easier for single moms with kids to source discounted vacations because you saw a dependence on this after watching your sister proceed through it? Or are you a B2B product which makes task sharing easier among executives who wished to have more time to invest with their kids? Will there be an emotional element mounted on your business, or is this only a straight up request?

2. Articulate your story. Here’s an excellent exercise to undergo that will assist you better learn how to position your product. Complete the blanks with 20 to 50- word answers.

  • We created the product because…
  • The product gets the following features…
  • That may allow our users/customers to…
  • And success of the merchandise will be measured like this…

3. Define your target user. Who’s your intended user because of this product? Could it be everyone (bad sign!) or could it be extremely niche, i.e. ex-pats surviving in major urban cities. Once you know who you are serving, you can better understand which media channels can make sense for outreach.

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4. Research your facts. Who are your competition and who is discussing them? Did they get yourself a big write-up in TechCrunch, The Illinois Business Journal, or Entrepreneur magazine? Or do they have a whole lot of buzz in a specific community like dog walkers? Point being, don’t aim at night. Newsflash: 99 percent of products aren’t unique plus they have predecessors. Utilize them in your favor and find out what tactics they used to get people discussing them.

5. Create a wish list. Select the top 10 media outlets or blogs where you want to be featured. Beyond that, pick 20 to 30 writers, bloggers, review sites or partners that might be in a position to get your product before at least 500,000 eyeballs. Meaning, their audience includes a reach of at least 500,000. I’m not discussing unique visits to the web site. I’m discussing actual distribution and engagement.

6. Pitch. Then and only then, tell journalists your story and provide them something unique to talk about with their audience. Make certain their audience may be the correct one (see tip No. 3). It’s your task to help make the connection for them. Allude to trends available on the market, or other products they’ve covered that are similar. Remember that you’ll want something to provide them — they won’t do you any favors. It must be a win-win.

Remember, publicity is a complex beast with highly variable outcomes. No guarantees exist in PR as the media ultimately has their own agenda. You need to be completely sure a target on your own back won’t crush your business. Publicity isn’t the panacea for something that isn’t selling, it will only be used to improve a sustainable business.

Have a question for YE’s experts? Submit your questions in the comments section below and the ones with likes from other readers will be answered. On Twitter, utilize the hashtag #YEask. Include your first and last name, where you are (city and state) an

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