Do you want to know How to Be a Publicity Machine? That’s what I’ll be speaking about at SydStart on October 30th! This incredible two day event, starting October 29th through the 30th, is the biggest startup conference in Australia. Held at Sydney Hall, it’s where you can score incredible insights from the leading entrepreneurs/growth marketers around the world. If you happen to be down under, there are still a few tickets available.
You’ll find me at 11:20 am on the Mainstage sharing my tips on how to get press for your startup. For starters, admit that you need help (it is the first step, after all!). You need a great product to woo the press, and to always remember that your customers are pure gold. Without them, your business wouldn’t exist. Put yourself in their shoes: Who are they and what do they need/want? How can you fix their problem? Where are they lurking online? In what ways will they interact with your product?
PR: Public Relations…or Personal Record?
You and the press can have a beautiful relationship if you put your all into it (just like with any relationship!). Your customers can help—in fact, they can be your bread and butter! They’re making the best stories and you can’t get press on your side for good without them. You need to know how to pitch to the press…in one minute or less.
Airbnb is a fantastic example with their snappy “Find a place to stay.” Simple, right? Now imagine a tech company with a run-on sentence filled with jargon. You’ve already lost your audience after the fifth word. Not a pitcher? That’s okay. Build a team of writers that specialize in industry-specific blogs, mid-tier tech blogs, and “personal” blogs (the odds of one writer being skilled at all of these are slim to none).
Name Your Resources
To get material, start at the beginning with Google News. Keywords like “startup PR” lead to great resources. There’s also BuzzStream, one of my favorite sites for relevant content. For 30 days, stalk appropriate sites on Google RSS, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Get 15-20 writers on board, and have them comment five times per day for 30 days. This is the gestation period.
Next, write a pitch email to the press. They prefer email, 200 words or less, with a tempting subject line that’s between 45-65 characters. That’s the magic formula to get them interested. Offer theme exclusivity, and make sure your startup relates to something they’ve covered in the past. Make sure you include your startup name, website, 75-word description of your company, founder bios in 75 words or less if you’re post-launch, why you’re better than your competitors (don’t be afraid to name them!), and whether or not you have funding. Keep in mind that TechCrunch won’t cover startups without funding, and you should always include your CrunchBase profile link if pitching to them. (Don’t have funding? No worries—there are plenty of other fish in the PR sea).
Timing is Everything
I’ve found that between 6:30-7:30 am (their time) is the best time to contact press. They like morning pitches, and you won’t get lost in their mess of emails. Email them up to three times per day until you get a nibble. Grow a thick skin, and know that you likely won’t get a reply—don’t take it personally. Don’t be annoying, but be persistent.
Also, create an ongoing list of common topics for your writers. Launching a startup, getting funding, getting customers, new product releases, acquiring a company, and local, related news are great starting points.
Join Me at SydStart!
If you’ll be joining me, don’t miss out on all the excitement of the conference! Throughout the day, new entrepreneurs will be pitching to companies, competing for their chance to catch the eye of key investors. There’s also Hackathon happening throughout the conference, Freelancer.com’s free contest where you might win $50,000 building apps powered by their latest API.
Of course, you don’t want to miss the huge afterparty, Techoween! It kicks off at 8pm on October 30th in the Ivy Sunroom (330 George Street, Sydney). The tech Halloween dress up theme features local canapes, costume contests, and entertainment from Australia’s greatest performers including Cadell, Bongolicious George, Adam Katz, and Paul Wheeler.
It’s going to be an incredible event, and I’m excited to be a part of it. See you down under!
Photos from Event: