Biz Tips: 3 Ways To Growth Hack Your PR Without A PR Agency

Biz Tips: 3 Ways To Growth Hack Your PR Without A PR Agency

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3 Ways To Growth Hack Your PR Without A PR Agency

Independent if you are just launching your startup or have been on the market for a few years now, it might be challenging to establish media partnerships that will help you build a strong presence online.

Many startups who are releasing a beta version of their product, are announcing an investment round or simply want to increase their SEO through backlinks from high-authority media domains, are often debating if they should hire an in-house PR person or start collaborating with an external PR agency, that could help them secure online publication.

The truth is, nowadays you don’t need to be a PR expert in order to build a strong presence online. When I have joined my current company 3 years ago, my experience in working with media was limited to the 6 months I have spent working at local tv station during my studies, yet together with my team, I was able to establish a strong presence online and secure publications with some important media partners.

Below you will find a few best-practices that have proven to work well for us.

Learn how to write a good press release

First of all, it’s obviously important to make sure that your story is actually newsworthy. In some cases, it might make more sense to simply publish a blog post or work on an article that you could pitch to external bloggers instead of writing a traditional press release. Here are a few examples of cases when publishing a press release makes sense: beta release, new product launch, investment round announcement, introducing a new partnership or integration, rebranding, receiving an award or recognition.

Once you have ensured that you have a newsworthy story, it’s time to learn how to write a good press release that looks professional, has an irresistible title, strong supportive quotes, and meets the expected formatting requirements.

You can easily find many press release templates online. Reading examples of published press releases by other companies was something that I found very helpful at the beginning. You can look for inspirations by visiting the Techcrunch Startups section or PR Newswire.

After reading through several examples of media announcements, you will probably notice that the most important element is a good headline. Journalist get hundreds of releases pitched to them each day, so it’s worth to invest time in making sure that your headline is clear and short but at the same time triggers interest to learn more about the news.

Another element required is a quote from a key stakeholder at your company, your investor, partner or customer. This will add additional credibility to your announcement and will make it more interesting to read.

You will also need an “about” section where you will provide a summary of your business.

Below I have put an overview of the most basic press release elements.

Basic elements of a press release template

Develop a media contact list through networking

You have some interesting news to share and you have written a great press release. Now what? This is where the biggest struggle starts — getting you news properly distributed. This is especially challenging at the beginning when you don’t have any journalists in your network. Here are some tips how you can build a strong media contact list and partnerships with journalists to make sure that your press release gets the coverage it deserves.

1) Leverage business partnerships

Partnerships are the best way to build a strong media outreach. Not only can they amplify your news spreading efforts but they can save you a lot of time when it comes to building a media contact list.

Let’s say you are launching an integration with another solution provider or you are using professional services from another company. This could be a great opportunity to publish a press release that will announce the partnership and at the same time will allow your company to get some additional exposure. In the majority of cases your business partner will be interested in supporting you (for them it’s also a marketing opportunity). You can ask your partner’s PR department for a quote from their product manager or executive and for support with pitching your press release to their media contacts. Believe me, they will also gladly promote it on their social media which might have a larger number of followers than yours. I have also offered in the past to do a media contact list exchange which has tremendously helped me to expand my list with additional emails of relevant journalists.

2) Invest time into relationship-building

While many companies focus on the volume and would just blast hundreds of journalists with their news, it’s worth to invest a bit of time in building real relationships with the journalists that matter the most to your business. Start by doing a research and creating a list of 20 journalists that you would like to write an article about your business. Check if anyone within your existing LinkedIn network is connected with them and if yes ask for an introduction. If you don’t have any common connections, then send them a LinkedIn message or an email and ask if there are any specific topics or story they are currently working on that you could help them with. Don’t immediately try pitching your company but first offer to help. Once you have managed to help them, you could offer to have a short introduction call to discuss the topics/areas that your company specializes in and that could potentially make a good story for an article in the future.

3) Pay one get one free

Another way to build relationships with media partners is by first investing in a paid native content article, webinar or another type of advertising with that partner. While working on the development of the paid advertising you will also start building a relationship with them. Next time when you will have a press release to publish, you can reach out to your contact person and ask them if for the sake of continuing a strong relationship they could publish it for free in their online magazine. I have tried this approach a few times in the past and it has almost always worked out.

Consider publishing with Business Wire for SEO

For many startups, online media publications are a way to improve their search engine ranking and to build a strong backlinking profile. If that’s the case, they would mainly aim to get published by online magazines with a high domain authority/domain ranking in order to increase their own. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to secure coverage by Techcrunch or VentureBeat, especially if you don’t have big news, like an investment announcement from a well-known investor, to share. However, if you do have a bit of a marketing budget to spend, a good idea could be publishing a paid press release with Business Wire. Here is an example of a press release I have published with them. The reason why I did it, outside of getting their help with spreading the news and as a result getting a coverage in +100 publications across Europe, was mainly this:

Business Wire DR (domain ranking) and backlinks profile as reported by Ahrefs

As you can see, according to Ahrefs Business Wire has a domain ranking of 91 out of 100! This is very high. For comparison here is the domain ranking from Techcrunch:

Techcrunch DR (domain ranking) and backlinks profile as reported by Ahrefs

Yes, only 1 point higher. Getting a backlink from Business Wire can be helpful for your SEO efforts.

Conclusions

As a marketer, you can become as good in growth hacking your PR as you are in growth hacking your lead generation. There is no need to create a separate PR department or to outsource your PR efforts to an agency. Actually doing it in-house will allow you to establish long-lasting relationships that will pay off over the years turning online publications into “a piece of cake”.

What other best practices do you follow when growth hacking your PR efforts? Share them in comments.

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3 Ways To Growth Hack Your PR Without A PR Agency was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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