PingGo’s A-Z of PR for startups

Attitude At PingGo we believe there should be no barrier to you getting your story into the mainstream media. With a positive attitude, a healthy appetite for learning something new and with PingGo onside — you could be as good as any PR pro out there.

Blogs Reaching customers and getting in the press isn’t just about news. By writing opinion, thought leadership and advice content you are creating value for your customers. And customers like that.

Case Studies The format for a case study is: what problem did you face, how did you overcome it and what happened as a result. Write up case studies of the work you have done – you can use them for sales and marketing but you can also pitch them to the features desks of trade magazines. Just call the magazine, ask for the Features Editor, and pitch your case study.

Distribution When you have news to share, you need to plan your distribution carefully. Who will you approach with your press release, and why should they publish it? Consider the circulation and reach of the publications, and choose accordingly. Scattergun tactics of sending to all the news desks does not work. Choose one or two of your top targets and focus on them. Get feedback on your story and make any changes needed.

Embargo This is a deadline you put on your press release to prevent a media outlet publishing early ahead of other websites. It’s important if your news is time sensitive. You should always indicate that the story is under embargo if you don’t want it to be published straight away.

Facts When you prepare a press release, you need to make sure the facts that you are using a true. All press releases are just a list of facts and journalists will check those facts. They are trained to get behind a story and find out the truth.

Grammar There’s nothing worse than a press release filled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Make sure your written work reads well. That way you’ll make a good impression and increase your chances of making headlines.

Help Asking for help is no sign of weakness. Asking for help is like saying ‘I want to be better, I want to learn’, and that’s a strength! There are hundreds of startup communities (online and offline) with entrepreneurs just like you on steep learning curves. Chances are, you know something the others don’t, why not lend a helping hand and receive plenty of good advice in return.

Industry expert Use your unique knowledge and insight of your chosen sector to establish yourself and your company as a thought leader or spokesperson for the industry.

Journalists Finding and approaching journalists is hard work. There are plenty of expensive databases to sign up to, but with a little help from Google you should be able to find journalists and some of their contact details online. Work on building a few good relationships with journalists instead of sending out press releases en masse to random desks. When you’ve scouted out a top three of journalists you want to cover your story, see our guide: pitching to the press

Key messages For your reputation to grow, your key messages need to be clear, concise and consistent. That way people will start to recognise you and be aware of what you do. If you use PingGo, you needn’t worry as it saves your answers as key messages and automatically put these into every press release.

Like So much content is shared and reposted on social media. It doesn’t take a second to ‘Like” a post you find interesting and so extend its reach. And what you give the social media universe, the social media universe will give back, and so your blogs and updates will attract likes in return.

Media There are plenty of media channels to tell your story on. Internet, radio, TV, broadsheets, trade press, and magazines. When you have a limited budget, you can’t do it all. So think about the purpose of your news, and choose the media outlet accordingly. If you are looking for investments, focus on the outlets that investors and business angels listen to. Are you establishing yourself as a credible industry voice, then find the trade press where the people from your industry get their news.

News That’s what PR is all about. And news should be unexpected. Not just interesting. But unexpected. Dog bites man is interesting. Man bites dog is news! When you write a press release you have to keep challenging what you have written. So what? Is this of any interest to anyone but me?

Organise When you start a new business, the workload can be overwhelming. If you’re flying solo, you’ll be in charge of all the different parts of the company. This means you’ll be responsible for the finance, marketing, sales and making the coffee. Managing a business takes discipline, you’ll need to find a way to be organised. PingGo is designed to organise your PR – so that’s at least one thing taken care of.

PingGo PingGo is a one-stop DIY PR machine for you to write press releases and get media coverage. PingGo is an intuitive and user-friendly piece of cloud-based software that asks you questions about your company and your news. It helps you articulate your key messages and generates press releases for you to edit, save and publish.

Questions Journalism and PR is fuelled by questions. If you’ve ever spent any time with a journalist, you’ll know that. It is by asking questions that the story is created and news made. The questions PingGo asks were created by journalists and are designed to pull out different news angles for your story.

Reputation Building a good reputation and creating trust is essential for all companies. When you start out your reputation spreads by word of mouth. Your customers know you and trust you. As you grow, you need to reach people who do not know you and who are hearing of you third hand. So it is important that word of mouth is positive and your reputation consistently good.

Social Media Social media can be a powerful communication tool when applied strategically. Try out different kinds of posts and have a look at how such experimentation impacts analytics. Make it one of your priorities to figure out what your followers like to see, and when they like to see it.

Telephone Still the most effective way of getting the attention of a journalist and building long term relationships. A journalist receives hundreds of press releases every day by email. If they don’t know your brand then you have to work harder than companies they have written about before. Journalists still expect to get telephone calls – and as long as you keep it short and sweet – and the story is absolutely relevant to them they will listen to your pitch.

Up-follow Slightly cheating here – but your follow-up is critical to getting coverage. Follow-up later in the day to see if the journalist wants more information or even has just received your story.

Visuals When writing content and pitching press releases, good photography will get you more space on the page (and screen) for your story. Often a good picture can make or break a story. Make sure your visuals are relevant, that you have high-resolution versions available, and that you have the rights to use them.

Why? This is the one question you must keep asking yourself to get to the nub of the story. Why is this important? Why will anyone care? Why am I writing this? If you don’t have a strong answer. You don’t have a story.

X-Factor There are thousands of companies wanting to get their story into the media. For you to create waves you need to stand out. You need to be new, or you need to be better. Getting media coverage with PR will help you stand out from the crowd.

Yes The word you need to hear when you pitch your story to a media outlet. Would you like to hear more? Will you publish my story?   Would you like more information? Getting earned editorial in high ranking media outlets is a tough gig. You need to work hard. But every now and then you’ll hear that word. And it will make all the effort worthwhile.

Zebra PR must be about creating long term sustained media presence for a company. It is not about a one hit wonder. It is in for the long haul to help build the Zebras of the future, not mythical unicorns.

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