Public Relations Writing for Entrepreneurs
Once upon a time hiring an expensive PR agency was the jewel in every entrepreneur’s crown. PR agencies held the keys to the castle, they knew the networks that could make or break your business and were able to charge heavily for a place at their table, money that startups can’t always afford.
And then social media came along and suddenly those important networks weren’t so important any more. This is because those journalists could be contacted directly without the PR agency middle men getting involved – great news for all those bootstrap startups looking to save money.
The problem is that you’re fishing in a big ocean when it comes to getting noticed by journalists who are now inundated with pitches. So how do you make your pitch stand out? How does public relations writing for entrepreneurs work in practice?
Write Yourself a Great Bio
Before you start your pitch, you need to perfect your bio. A great bio isn’t just a list of what you’ve done, it’s where you can showcase your experience, highlight your business expertise and sell yourself and your business. Creating a short bio of 100 words using an inverted pyramid where the most important information is at the start, is great for busy journalists who don’t have time to research your credentials.
Boilerplate Your Press Release
As well as your bio, journalists are also more likely to be interested in your pitch if you include general information about the company that isn’t included in the main narrative but features at the bottom of the press release. This is called a boilerplate.
The main elements to include in a boilerplate are your company’s name, main tagline (usually included at the start of the boilerplate), up-to-date information such as recent milestones. You can also include any awards (if relevant) and the date the business was founded.
Always feature a link to your website and other social media handles at the end of the boilerplate. And make sure your key messaging is consistently used in all pitches to ensure your message is always the same no matter who the pitch is to.
Here are four dos and don’ts to bear in mind when writing your boilderplate.
Create A Media Contacts List
Doing your homework before you start pitching is guaranteed to save you time. The last thing you need in a startup is to be wasting precious hours targeting the wrong people. The key to creating the right contacts is a media list.
A media list documents the main media contacts in your industry. If you’re unsure who these people are then Google and social media are quick fixes to finding them as long as you know who you want to target.
And if you’ve never thought about who your target audience is then you need to stop right now and figure that out before you go any further. The 30 minutes you’re going to spend on working this out is going to save time and resources.
So write down who your ideal audience is. What is their age? Where do they work? Where do they spend their money and, more importantly, what do they read? Are they on social media? What do they watch?
Create a full profile of your ideal journalists, give the document a name and keep it somewhere so you see it regularly because the information gathering exercise you’ve just done is ideally going to lead you to the people you need to gain media coverage.
Take a look at all the publications that the journalists read and follow not just who they write for – think magazines, blogs and the content they share on social. Then compile a list including their names and email addresses. Next, start working down the list by sending an email to each journalist in the morning, attaching your press release, any relevant images or videos you may have and quotes/Q&As/backgrounders if needed.
The Modern Dispatches guide to pitching journalists will help you further with this.
Types Of PR Coverage
Here are a few types of PR coverage you can achieve:
The Direct Review – Post customer reviews of your product on your social media platforms and ask your targets to use them in a comparison article with other similar products.
The Feature Article – Share your entrepreneurial journey. An article about your journey to the launch of your start up and your hopes for the future will attract the attention of journalists looking for a human interest story.
The Independent Research Article – No entrepreneur has started a business without doing their market research and if your research uncovered some interesting trends then publishing those trends will create a ready-made story you can pitch to your network.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Your Tribe
Make sure your media coverage is seen by more people by enlisting the help of your friends and employees. Post your story on social media channels and ask your followers to share them, send an internal memo asking your employees to share on their social media posts, add the story to the website and share your story with your customers in the form of a newsletter. The more coverage you get, the more likely you’re going to catch the attention of someone on your media list who can share your business with a wider audience.
Pitching to the media can take time, but these five steps will help you optimise your time and stand out from the competition.
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