How to Help Reporters Fall Head Over Heels for Your Start Up

February 12, 2015 AJ Bruno: Founder, President

heartsLet’s be honest, the relationship between reporters and PR professionals is a bit of a rocky one. Journalists need sources, so they need brand representatives. However, their objective, writing articles of interest to their audience, and the PR goal, getting positive earned media, aren’t always aligned. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’d like to share some tips for getting your media contacts to fall in love with your start up.

1 – Put a Bow on Your Pitches

Don’t just send a pitch, send a package. Offer enough material to make the reporter’s job easy. Include images, video, customer quotes, and relevant statistics. Make sure a brand representative and others who can add depth to the conversation are available to be interviewed. You want to make writing the story you pitch a no-brainer because most of the work is already done.

2 – Don’t be a Stalker

Attention is good, obsession is obnoxious. It is necessary to be persistent. Don’t write a reporter off forever if they don’t respond to an email or two. Following up is fine. Constantly filling your media contact’s inbox with pitches and pleas is not. If they don’t respond to your pitch after a couple of tries, let it go.

3 – Don’t Play Hard to Get

Playing hard to get is a good idea for debutantes. It’s a bad idea for start ups looking for coverage. If a reporter shows interest and asks for an interview, be available. If they ask for background information, quotes or contributed content, oblige them. We are surprised by how often reporters complain that their sources don’t respond or fail to do so by a stated deadline.

4 – Prove that You are Into Them

Before you send a pitch or ask for an introduction, make sure you know what the journalist writes about and what stories seem to catch their interest. Don’t pitch ideas that are out of sync with writer’s typical topics. You want to show that you’ve done your research and can be a source of relevant information.

5 – Do the Little Things

Don’t reach out to a reporter only when you want something from them. Engage when you don’t need anything by sharing their content with your social networks, commenting on articles and congratulating great work.

6 – Don’t be Jealous

If a reporter is interested in your market, they will likely talk about your competitors from time to time. This is a good sign because it means that you are targeting the right person. It is OK to reach out after a competitor mention to offer your point of view on the subject, but be careful with your tone and approach. You don’t want to come across like a jealous ex.  

Getting positive press for your start up can help spread your message to customers, potential employees, investors and the community. It’s worth putting in the effort to woo those who are in the position to share your story. Hopefully these tips will help put you on the path to a beautiful relationship.

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