With little budget, using public relations (PR) tactics to gain exposure for your start-up is one of the most cost effective promotional methods. And as a blogger, I do have some points to share with fellow entrepreneurs in Asia on how to do PR in an efficient manner.
Here are ten tips, starting from the most obvious:
1. Before you pitch, make sure that your product is ready
We often receive pitches from start-ups whose products are still in an early stage. Common bugs are fine but the core functions of the product need to be up and running at least. How else do you expect bloggers to test them? And let me warn you that it’s a definite no to just pitch in your idea without a working product.re
2. Keep the pitch short and sweet
Can you describe your start-up in a couple of sentences? Why is it remarkable? If you can’t explain, then that’s a problem. At PO, we always ask ourselves what’s awesome/interesting about news items we receive before writing them. So you need to be clear to really capture bloggers’ attention. A video would help a lot too. Services like Screenflow or Camtasia are useful for this, and are pretty simple to use. There are others here. And don’t forget to upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and try Youku or Tudou for China-based audiences. It makes video embedding simpler for us.
3. If you’re a localized clone, admit it, and focus on strengths
For clones, just tell the blogger that you’re basically a “me too” product. (Since there’s no way to hide it.) Instead, focus on your strengths. Tell us how you have localized your start-up to suit certain markets and achieve success by doing that. That’s considered innovation too and many bloggers will find that an interesting angle to work on.
4. Reply to press inquiries promptly
This will help writers get their stories out faster, rather than having to wait for your email. If you delay your reply, you also risk your email getting buried under other pitches which bloggers may tend to forget about your start-up. In short, the trick is to keep them interested by giving them what they want asap. It makes writers’ jobs easier too.
5. Building relationships with bloggers
The worst thing that you could ever do is to treat bloggers as content generator machines. Smart founders will understand that building relationships with bloggers works like magic. It increases the chances of you getting coverage, if for no other reason that if you’re friends, the writer is going to know more about your company and about your own mindset. And if they know they can easily call you and get a quote, it’s going to be more convenient for them to write stories about you than it is for them to write about some stranger’s startup.
6. Meet them, if possible
This point is similar to the one above. But I’m separating them to give it more emphasis. If you’re a start-up founder, try meeting up with the blogger in person. It will take the relationship to a higher level and also help you understand the blogger better; both as a person and his coverage selection criteria. If it’s not possible, try to connect via social media or by telephone/Skype.
7. Love big blogs AND the small blogs
If you’re so into the big blogs in the west. Then sure, go for it. But as you would have realized, start-ups in Asia rarely gets covered there. While you continue to submit your news to them, do give blogs in Asia some love too. (Here’s a list.) After all, it’s good for your link building — the more blogs the merrier. Plus, blogs in Asia tend to have the right audience suited more for start-ups in Asia. It will also look good on you if an investor or potential candidate google and found out that your start-up had been covered in multiple publications.
8. Keep bloggers updated with your start-up
Most start-ups disappear after getting covered on our blog. The smart founders will continue the relationship with bloggers by keeping them in the loop on the latest update about his/her start-up. My point is, keep submitting interesting updates to the bloggers. The news could be a new partnership, a new feature or a new investment received. It’s the blogger’s choice to pick up the news. But don’t spam news either. And for the record, adding Facebook ‘like’ button on your website isn’t something that we are interested to write about.
9 Build a solid About, FAQ, or Media page
Write a good FAQ page so that you can refer people to rather than have to answer the same questions over and over again. A good about us page should tell people who are in your team and a brief history about your start-up. Beautiful screenshots are certainly welcomed.
10. Press releases – make them understandable, linkable
If you’re pitching to an English blog, have basic press information available in English. It just makes life easier for both the founder and blogger. Also, publish the press release somewhere on your website in HTML format so that people can easily link them. Nobody wants to link to a Word document or PDF file.
That’s all folks. If you have any additional tips, feel free to add them via comments.
Charlie Custer and Rick Martin also contributed to this article.