I’ve talked to a lot of companies that don’t even know where to start when it comes to their public relations efforts. They might not even have PR efforts yet, and that’s totally cool.
When you’re ready to start thinking about it and having one member of your team wearing the PR hat, here are some of the things you can start doing right away.
1. Create a Messaging Doc
First things first, get your messaging doc ready. Here are some of the questions it should answer:
- What does your company do?
- When were you founded?
- Do you have any investors or funding?
- How did you get started?
- Any notable customers?
- Add in any other commonly asked questions about your business here too like, where did you come up with your name, or do you plan on expanding to X?
They seem like easy questions to answer, but the first time you are in touch with a reporter you’ll want to have answers ready to all of the above.
Another good use case here is if a reporter reaches out on a tight deadline and wants to include your company in their article. You want to have answers ready for the easy questions that are predictable (those lovely questions up there) so you can focus your time and energy on the questions that are less predictable and might require a bit more thought.
2. Gather All of Your Past Press Mentions in a Spreadsheet
If you’ve received press in the past gather it all up in one place. This is an easy way to keep track of reporters who have written about you before, and to see which story ideas get the most traction.
Another good use for these press mentions is to add them to a press page down the line. (That’s in #6.)
3. Create a Media List
I use good old spreadsheets for my media lists and I know many other PR pros who do the same. There are plenty of fancy (and expensive) tools out there that will keep media lists for you but I prefer to own and control my list.
4. Find Reporters You Want to Connect With
The next step is research.
You can start pretty small here. I would try to find 10 reporters who you think might write about you. A good trick I use is when you see an article that you love and you think Woah, that could have been about my company! Maybe because the angle is similar to something you would pitch, grab that reporters name and add them to your list.
This is a good list to have handy in case something happens really quickly, you win an award, partner with another product, whatever your newsworthy moment might be. You’ll look to this list for who to email.
5. Create a Simple Press Kit
Don’t let the words press kit feel too daunting, it can be quite basic. Just make sure too have:
- founder headshots
- company logos
- a product description; and
- relevant bios
In the same way that the messaging doc is great for quick emails, these will be awesome resources for anyone on the team to grab in a hurry.
A cool next step is making this press kit downloadable from your press page but if you’re not there yet then a Dropbox or Google Drive folder would work as well.
6. Add a Press Page to Your Website or Just a Way to Get in Touch
I’m personally a big fan of press pages as easy ways for reporters to grab your logo, founder names, date founded, etc. It’s also a beautiful place to display some of your favorite coverage if that feels good to you.
If a press page isn’t up your alley, just having an email address visible and easy to find is also an awesome option. If a reporter is on your website and wants to get it touch, make it easy to do so. : )
7. Pick a Spokesperson
This comes in handy when there are multiple founders or team members.If you’re a one-person startup, this isn’t something you have to think about (because it’s you!)
A lot of startups don’t have a dedicated press person, it’s someone on the team who is already juggling four hats and is probably also the founder. It doesn’t have to necessarily be just one person that is always the spokesperson, but it makes thing flow more quickly if there’s one founder that is super comfortable with the media and ready to take on that responsibility.
And that’s it!
All of the items I just listed will make it so easy for any other team members to jump in and help with press, or if eventually there is a communications person on board for them to take over really easily.
Hope these are helpful!
Would love to hear about how you get your press organized in the comments or over on Twitter. :)