You watched as your friend’s startup got 10,000 new leads within two weeks
after the company was featured in an article on TechCrunch
You were surprised a CEO quote in a Business Insider piece
increased company revenue by 10
percent, or that an article that your consultant friend wrote for
Entrepreneur.com that wasn’t even about his business sent some of the best
engineering talent directly to his inbox.
Does this sound like you? You ask your friends—and even your
competition—how this became possible. Their answer? Public relations.
How to Get the Media Hooked on Your Company
You’ve heard about public relations, maybe by other names such as publicity
or media relations. You’re not quite sure how it works, what it should cost
or who is good at it, but you’re curious.
So, you ask to be put in touch with a “PR person,” this mythical creature
who has relationships with “the media,” and can supposedly get you
published. It sounds awesome, and you’d love to be able to say you’ve been
published. However, you think to yourself, “What do I have to talk about?
Do I have a story? Do I have news?”
Ultimately, you’re utilizing PR as a strategy to get more leads and sales.
In order to do so, here are tips on how to have an effective conversation
with a PR person or agency, to help you reach that end goal:
1. Understand the overall utility of PR and what it can potentially do
If you don’t understand the potential it has and what your options are,
it’s tough to ask the right questions. Here are some ways
to find that out:
· My company is working toward a particular business goal. How can PR
help with this?
· I’ve heard the term PR before but I’m not sure what exactly it means. Can
you explain to me exactly what you or your firm specifically does for
· Agencies seem to all offer the same things on their websites. Is there
anything in particular that you or your agency specializes in?
2. Know if you’re talking to a good PR person.
Just like sales, a good PR person will ask you questions and try to
understand how they can help your business before selling you on their
capabilities. If you’re not sure if this is happening, here are some sample
· What would you need from me to be successful?
· Can you give me some recent examples of wins you have gained for your
clients and explain to me how you got them?
· Realistically, what will it take to meet my business objectives? (This is
different -- and more important -- than “how long will it take?” because
length of time doesn’t matter -- content and story components matter.)
4 Tips on Generating Buzz for Your Business, According to a PR
Expert for Startups
3. Figure out if you really need PR right now.
Is it now? Is it later? Was it last week? That’s right, there is a bad time
for PR—and there is a time where PR isn’t necessary.
Your PR person should ask you what your specific business goals are at this
moment, to determine whether or not they can help you. If they don’t, here
are some questions to ask:
· How can PR help me attain my business objective, such as:
More app downloads?
Awareness for investors as I
gear up to raise another round?
Signups to my site?
- Raise my personal profile?
· Why is this a good time for me to engage with PR?
Here's How Facebook Has Reduced the Need to Pay PR
4. Understand what success might look like.
One thing to remember is that PR is about giving you exposure and leading
people or potential readers, clients and customers back to your
website/company. Your offering must lead the path to conversion,
because PR is for lead generation, not sales generation.
· I understand that PR placements are not guaranteed - how do I know what
success looks like?
· How does PR differ from sales generation?
5. Know the level of investment you want to make.
· How do you bring benefits to businesses and people?
· Can you tell me about recent results you’ve gotten for clients?
· How many pieces of coverage can I expect to get in the first 90 days,
with the content/news that I have?
As you navigate the sometimes rough edges of running your own business, PR
will prove to be a long-term learning curve. All the better.
Now, when you come across a PR person, you know it is better to ask
questions and open yourself to an approach that can serve you in crushing
Once you think you’re ready to use PR for business, your next step will be
determining the right model. If you're not sure you're ready to hire a PR
person or agency—or want to take a DIY approach—there are sites, courses
and books. These will all give you a great foundation to understanding what
PR is and how to use it most effectively for your business.
Do you have the time to work with an agency? There are dozens out there
with a simply Google search. Don't forget there's not only one PR solution
for each business. Especially for startups, you can increase your PR
investment as your company grows.
To see an exclusive webinar training on how to successfully land press
coverage, build the authority and credibility on your own without hiring a
five-figure a month PR firm, check out
Andrea Holland and Sarah Elder are co-founders of prtraction.com. Learn more here. A version of
this article originally appeared
on Entrepreneur. Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.