Home Companies How to Get Killer Press For Your Startup’s Launch

How to Get Killer Press For Your Startup’s Launch

by Anna Ruth Williams

More than half a million startups are born every year. Each clamoring for press coverage of their groundbreaking technology, product or service…and for good reason. Media coverage can put your company on the radar of investors, attract top talent, boost employee morale and drive inbound leads. However, breaking through the clutter to land a headline is no small feat. More than 1,700 press releases are distributed each day over the wire, and tens of thousands of pitches are distributed, making it imperative that you approach your public launch strategically. Below are some of my favorite tips to help new companies #makenews.


BEFORE – You only have a first launch once – do it right.

  • Do An External Audit – Scope out your competitors’ press coverage. What kind of coverage did they receive when they launched? What do reporters already know about your competitors, and why does the media love (or hate) them? Manage your expectations about how much and what kind of coverage you will receive by benchmarking your foes.
  • Timing Is Everything – Before you set a launch date, make sure to check the news cycle to ensure it’s a good time for your product to enter the market and #makenews. Will an announcement from a big company like Apple hinder you from reaching the press? Or will an upcoming holiday, tradeshow or event actually help you optimize your announcement and gain bigger buzz? For example, if you’re a healthIT company, you might want to debut at the upcoming HIMSS when your trade press is present en masse and looking for new technologies.
  • Be Relevant – In PR school, they teach us that an announcement must be new, timely, local, have a human interest element, depict conflict or controversy and/or be odd and unsual in order to obtain earned media coverage. What story are you telling besides announcing the launch of your product? How are you disrupting or innovating the market?  Simply put – craft a compelling story angle that will hook reporters and give them enough meat to write a full feature. On average, journalists receive hundreds of emails each day, yet they only write one or two stories a day. So your headline and content better stand out to beat the PR odds!
  • Get Tactical – Landing a killer headline doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time to build relationships and tell your brand’s story. Before your launch, research publications you want to target and begin building relationships with journalists, influencers, bloggers etc. {Fun fact: 59% of reporters use Twitter and 92% of them have LinkedIn profiles}. Let people know you’re coming and get people excited. In addition, draft all your content and let peers review it before you hit send. You’ll need a press release (or a media alert), a media pitch, social media content and more. The more homework you do ahead of time, the better results you’ll see.


DURING – It’s launch day! Go get ‘em!

  • Optimize Your AnnouncementMake sure your press release is fully optimized and distribute it to your media list as well as via a wire service, such as PRWeb, for broad online distribution and pick up by news aggregators. The release should include quotes from founders, investors, prominent influencers, data points, photos and videos {hint: including a mix of multimedia in your release increases your audience by 552%!}. Ultimately, a strong release provides journalists with all the information they need to easily draft a story on your launch. The more work they have to do, the more likely your story will get passed over for something else.
  • Get In Front Of The Right People You hear quality over quantity all the time and it’s no different with the press. You could send your release to a thousand reporters, but if they don’t cover your industry or write for your target audience your release is going to either 1. Not be opened or 2. Deleted. Use a custom media list that includes email addresses for all your target magazines, TV stations, blogs, newsletters and more to ensure you are reaching out to the right reporters and outlets. In addition, send concise, custom pitches to a list of top targeted reporters following the initial release.
  • Use Your Resources Whether it’s prominent influencers (celebrities, bloggers, industry thought leaders) or employees, brand ambassadors, family and friends, use your relationships to help spread the word. Have them write guest blog posts and engage on social media with their friends as well as potential consumers/customers. If you have the opportunity, host an event and invite media to come or have your company attend an event where you know media will be present. Don’t sit back and wait for opportunities to come to you. Try and find ways to create your own.


 AFTER – D-day is over, but it’s really just the beginning.

  • Follow Up – Didn’t hear back? Not to worry. Maybe the reporter missed your first email or meant to reach out and forgot. A simple follow up can bring your story back into their attention. Still no response? Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call (or Tweet!)
  • Shout It Out – Anyone who works in PR or has had press success will tell you that PR leads to more PR. But once again, this doesn’t automatically happen. Any initial coverage you received from your launch is not going to market itself. Put the coverage on your website’s newsroom, include it in an e-blast, place magazine copies in your office, share it across all of your corporate and personnel social media sites to ensure your audience saw the news. Also, be sure to thank the journalists that have covered your product. It’s important to maintain these relationships for future media opportunities.
  • Keep The Drumbeat Going – You’ve done it. You’ve launched your product, you are in the market and now you need to make sure you stay there. To keep this drumbeat going you need to be able to supply journalists and reporters with new topics and announcements on a regular basis. Begin to leverage powerful customer stories, stay on top of breaking news opportunities and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you do this right, you’ll have an abundant amount of opportunities to #makenews and land in the press after your launch.


Anna Ruth founded AR|PR in 2012, having previously managed communications for national and international B2B and B2C accounts as well as high-profile political figures. Under her leadership, AR|PR quickly rose to become the Southeast’s fastest growing technology PR firm, and was recently named Small Agency of the Year by a panel of national journalists. She has a proven record of executing strategic online marketing campaigns and securing media coverage in some of the nation’s biggest outlets, such as CNN, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable, TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal. Recognized as a rising PR industry visionary, Anna Ruth has shared business and PR strategies in publications such as PRDaily, Entrepreneur Magazine, VentureBeat and The Street, and is a frequent speaker at entrepreneurial and marketing conferences across the Southeast.

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