8 PR Tips to launch your startup and get traction
After all your hard work you finally have a Minimum Viable Product! Time to make everyone talk about it, right? You hope to attract media exposure and make people talk about your product. It’s an important day for your business, and you’d better be prepared.
In this article, we’ll suggest eight things related to public relations that you should keep in mind before, during and after your announcement.
Image credit: Jose Antonio Perez
1. Build up a following
When you launch your product, you already want to have people you can rely on to share the news. Even before building your product, you’ve been working on your product/market fit. You had a closed Beta in place for weeks. Or maybe you were a guest blogger for the most known blogs in your industry. You run several surveys and chatted with a lot of people to verify your assumptions. All these efforts allow you to build from scratch your own mailing list of supporters and potential customers.
The important part is that when you launch your product, you can activate your followers in a short time. They already know and support what you are doing, so you can just ask them to spread the word.
2. Nurture a relationship with journalists
Just as you need to build a relationship with your customers before you launch your product, the same goes for journalists and bloggers. So reach out to the press, but start way before the launch and try to identify and nurture qualified leads. For instance, start from the journalists that covered your direct competitors. Read this post for an interesting case history about the launch of Groove.
When you’re reading blogs about your specific industry, take part in the discussion in the comments section, and do the same on Twitter. After a while, people will start recognize your name and your avatar, and they may be more open when you contact them.
3. Write a press release
This might be a no-brainer, but in the heat of launching your startup, this might become an afterthought. The press release is still a good way to entice journalists and bloggers to write a story about you.
When you write your press release, keep in mind that bloggers and journalists will cover it only if it provides value to their audiences. So think of the audiences you want to reach and think about how you can benefit them.
Also, don’t use the all too familiar marketing mumbo jumbo. Your press release is not a sales pitch. Talk the way you would talk in a real conversation. This gives your brand personality.
4. Share your press release
Obviously, the press release isn’t going to spread by itself, so use every tool at your disposal. Use your network of contacts - think Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, industry-specific channels.
Also, pitch the list of media contacts you carefully selected. Look at their previous articles and show them why they should write about your startup. Find out what angle is interesting for them.
Consider your timing very carefully. Don’t lie about exclusives. Don’t contact journalists when they’re all at a big event. Don’t abuse embargoes.
5. Share (positive) feedback
When your press release is picking up steam and people start blogging and tweeting about it, share it with the world! Set up a Google Alert and a Twitter search with the name of your startup and retweet what people says about you. Need something more sophisticated? We like Mention.
6. Carry on conversations
Be lovable online! Whenever they write something about you, thank them and start a conversation! How did they find your product? What do they like about it? How do they use it? You’re doing customer validation and showing how much you care. People love it.
7. Build a great landing page
If you’re launching a product, your homepage is likely the most important page of your website. It’s where you grab people’s attention and make them care about you.
Don’t tell them only about the product or service, tell them about the benefits the product provides. If you’re solving a problem, tell them about the problem and how you solved it.
8. Never stop learning
When the rush is over, look back and measure the results you achieved, so you can do better the next time. Play with the data you get from Google Analytics and consider additional tools. We are using Mixpanel and Inspectlet, but several alternatives are available.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter if you want more PR tips and tricks for your startup.
Did you already launch your (first) startup? What else would you recommend?