Before entering the world of tech, I spent over 20 years as a PR Director working with both large and small companies. While digital marketing has much to recommend it, many tech businesses ignore PR, perhaps believing that they are incapable of doing it themselves. Here are my Top 10 Tips for Generating PR on a Shoestring.
1. Understand what makes a good story. If you want to know what a good story looks like, do your research. Buy a couple of newspapers every day for a week and skim through them. It’s much easier to read off the printed page than try and do the same over the internet and will give you a much better idea as to the different sections of the paper, who and what is being written about.
2. Never include a full press release in your first email to a journalist. If you can’t explain what it is you’re trying to convey in a sentence or two you’re not going to grab anyone’s attention. I always start with a subject line like, ‘Just a quick question’ or ‘Correct contact’ or ‘Story Idea.’ In other words, vague enough to elicit interest while making sure that the person you target is the right one for the story.
3. Avoid being over-friendly. Nobody wants to know what you had for breakfast. Keep your emails short and to the point.
4. The power of three. The media love packages that come in three’s. Whether it’s three case studies, a tried and tested featuring yourself and two of your competitors, three is everybody’s favourite number.
5. The Top Ten. Three is good but ten can be better. If you’re pushed for a story idea, put together a Top 10 list that relates to your industry or has appeal to your audience. Make each one short and to the point.
6. Finding the right journalists can be a major pain in the neck. You know those papers I suggested you purchase? Put them to good use and start making lists of journalists who write about your industry, then do a bit of internet stalking. I’ve pitched to journos using Twitter but only after I’ve spent some time building a relationship with them there. Ask if you can ‘DM’ them first, then pitch your story idea by private message.
7. Make sure your social media feeds are in order. A Twitter feed that hasn’t been updated in months or a Facebook page with a few followers doesn’t impress journalists. Not every business needs to be on social media so if it’s not your thing, don’t feel a responsibility to set up an account just for the sake of it.
8. Have a media kit on your website featuring biographies of your management team, a boilerplate (one paragraph about the business), high and low images of your management team and product shots (if applicable). All images should be against a white background. You can put full press releases here too.
9. A press release should be like an inverted triangle. All the key points at the top and then becoming less important as you scroll down the page.
10. If you do have a small budget consider using a media directory to make targeting contacts easier such as Journolink, Vocus, Gorkana and Perfectfit.io. Or a PR Agency.
Suzanne Noble is the founder of Frugl, finding you the best deals from Groupon, Wowcher, Living Social, Travelzoo and many others. Prior to that she spent 20 years as a PR Director.