PR for Startups: How to Use PR for Massive Growth

PR is a great way to get your market’s attention and foster growth when your startup doesn't have a marketing budget.

April 11th, 2017   |    By: Anna Bolender    |    Tags: Development, Content, Public Relations (PR)

When you’re at a startup and don’t have a budget for marketing, PR is a great way to get your market’s attention and foster growth. The right PR strategies will create awareness for your startup company and product and expand your reach.

There are so many articles on building long-term PR campaigns just to get one journalist’s attention, that it can be overwhelming when you’re looking for effective tactics that work right away. Luckily, you don’t have to wait months for one press hit.

Doing PR for startups can lead to massive growth

Here are five simple PR strategies that will drive instant results for your startup.

PR for startups

1. Find co-marketing partners

Co-marketing is a very effective way to broaden your reach by collaborating with another company and leveraging their audience. You basically do less work and get more results. For free! How does that sound?

The first step is to find companies with a similar target audience who are not direct competitors. They can be in the same industry or have a complementary product or service. You’re one step ahead if you’re already working with partners! If you have an app that integrates with other solutions, those companies could be a great fit.

Once you have a list of the most suitable companies, reach out to the person responsible for content marketing or PR. Do your research about what kind of marketing they’re doing and suggest something that will catch their interest and fit into their strategy.

Do they have a great blog that targets your audience? Suggest regular guest blogging, meaning they write posts for your blog and vice-versa. This exposes you to new qualified leads and creates valuable backlinks to your site that boost its SEO ranking.

Are they hosting webinars? Ask if they’d be interested in having your founder or someone else from your team as a speaker. Webinars provide great co-marketing content and give you the opportunity to speak on your topic of expertise. By capturing the contact information of all registrants and attendees you’ll get new leads you can reach out to directly.

Another co-marketing project could be writing a joint ebook. Come up with a topic and outline that suits both of your audiences. Once the structure is set, you can easily split up the content and both teams can write their parts. Collect pictures, graphics and stats to support your key messages and add value. Once you make it available for download on both companies’ websites, send it out to your email lists and share it on social media to increase exposure and get qualified leads.

2. Help a reporter out

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects you with writers and journalists from various outlets who are looking for quotes and insights. It’s very easy to use and it helps you get featured on prominent websites and blogs, such as the Washington Post, Forbes and Refinery29. You can sign up here to get daily emails with requests about different topics.

To get the most out of it, look for queries relevant to your startup, industry and field of expertise. Sit together with the founder and other people in your company who have knowledge and experience in a specific field, then make a list of the topics they can talk about.

For example, the founder(s) can answer queries related to entrepreneurship or founding a business. If you have someone who is great at recruiting, hiring and interviewing, he or she can comment on all HR related queries. There are probably a bunch of topics your team has some kind of expertise in and can give you great quotes to pitch to the reporters via HARO.

If they like your quote and feature you in their article, they often include a bio of the person quoted and always link back to your website. These backlinks improve your SEO significantly over time. It’s also a great way to establish your founder or other team members as thought leaders in their field of expertise as they get quoted in different outlets.

Overall, HARO is a great way to get free and meaningful press coverage and spread the word about your company.

3. Talk on podcasts

Podcasts are widely popular and some have millions of listeners. As a startup, you probably don’t have the resources yet to host your own and your network is too small to get actual value out of it. However, it’s a no-brainer to be a guest on a podcast!

Research the podcasts your target audience might be listening to and that are relevant to your industry and expertise. For example, your founder(s) can talk on podcasts about topics like entrepreneurship, startups, and topics related to your product. With such a wide-variety of podcasts out there, you’ll definitely find some where the hosts would love to have your founder or CEO on as an expert.

Many podcast hosts also ask about your company and product if it’s relevant to the listeners. This is free marketing and increases exposure and brand awareness while establishing you as an industry thought leader.

4. Become a contributor

People are always on the look-out for great content. Research the websites and blogs that are relevant to your business and target market. What outlets do your customers read and what kind of content are they interested in? Make a list of the best sites and find out if there’s a way you can contribute valuable content to them.

Find blogs your target audience would read and reach out, offering a guest blog. Do research by reading their recent posts. Then, come up with relevant topics you could write about that match the blogs current strategy while being interesting to their readers.

You can mention your product subtly, but only if it fits the context! Don’t be overly promotional. Briefly mention your company and product in the author section, and include a link back to your website.

You can also ask them to write for your company’s blog in return, so they can get new traffic and backlinks as well. This strategy will broaden your reach, increase traffic to your website and bring you qualified leads. Guest blogging is great because it’s free and lets you spread your content over various outlets – while improving your search ranking!

Besides blogs, there are many websites, such as online magazines, who are targeting your market. Find the right person to contact and offer to contribute an article. Again, suggest a topic that is interesting to their audience and don’t be too promotional. If they love what you write, they might have you as a regular contributor.

Keep in mind that you have your team as a resource so you’ll be able to write about a variety of topics – from recruiting tips to advice on improving your sales process. This allows you to spread your content over a diverse range of outlets, maximizing visibility and reach.

Another way to get your name out there is Medium. You can create a company profile and post case studies, customer success stories and tips on how to get the most out of your product. However, it might also be a good idea to have the founder of your startup publish posts about how he started and grew the company, giving advice to fellow entrepreneurs and sharing his insights about all things startup-centric.

Many people, especially millennials, are interested in such topics. You’ll get more attention by being authentic, sharing your ups and downs, than by just promoting your product or service. Readers want to hear from actual people and their experiences. By establishing your founder as a thought leader and growing his follower base, you’ll automatically increase awareness of your company and product.

5. Reach out to influencers

There are thought leaders and influencers in every industry with huge amounts of followers and large networks. One great way way to engage with them is with an expert interview series. Research a relevant topic to write about for your blog, or for an ebook, that would benefit from an expert’s opinion. Then reach out to experts on that subject and ask them to answer a few questions and share their insights.

Why would they do this? They’ll be quoted in your piece, get a link back to their website, and gain free promotion for their business or book. You’ll also expose them to a new audience by sharing the interview series via social media and newsletter. It establishes them as a thought leader in their field of expertise, gives them valuable backlinks and increases traffic and SEO.

What’s in it for you? You can leverage their network and follower base by asking them to promote your content in return. Since they’re presented as an expert in it and it promotes their business, book etc, they’ll be happy to share and send it out via email and social media. This increases your reach, along with traffic to your content and website.

By engaging with influencers in a mutually beneficial way, you gain exposure to a big audience of potential customers. It’s also the start of developing valuable relationships with these experts. Make sure to keep engaging with them via social media and email. That way they always have your company name in mind and are generally aware of you. These relationships might lead to more opportunities in the future!

Finally, you should always approach people, whether they’re journalists or content marketers, in a genuine and honest way. Don’t waste their time with long emails, pitching them a story that is not relevant to them, or suggesting a partnership that wouldn’t make sense for their business. Do your research before reaching out (it’s rare that anyone does!) and you’ll be ahead of your competition. ‘Help them, help you’ is the motto in PR.


About the Author

Anna Bolender

Anna Bolender is the Head of Public Relations at Badger Maps. Badger is the #1 Sales App in the Apple App Store, that helps Field Salespeople be more successful. You can reach out to Anna on Linkedin and follow her team on Twitter @BadgerMaps.

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