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  • Writer's pictureAileen Brown

PR strategies to get your start-up noticed

Despite COVID-19 causing one of the worst economic catastrophes in recent history, start-up business operations have increased over the past three years. Economic crises can lead to periods of “creative destruction,” where new ideas and ways of doing business are born. Also, with the rise of social media, there has been a cultural and generational shift towards becoming your own boss. Whatever the reason may be, business applications have grown from 3.5 million in 2019 to 5.4 million in 2021, an increase of 54%.

With that being said, you should consider the following PR strategies to make your start-up stand out.

1. Identify your target media outlets

Getting a story published on your new business is one of the most effective ways to spread awareness and gain potential customers. Many businesses will write a generic pitch and send it out to as many publications as they can find. While this may seem like an efficient idea, it will not bring the best results. You want to find the outlets that would be most interested in your story, with the audiences that would be most interested in your business. This will give your story the best chance of being heard, not just seen, by your target audience.

2. Tailor each pitch to a specific outlet/ journalist, and make it genuine

Media outlets and journalists are constantly receiving story pitches and a generic, copy-and-pasted pitch won’t impress. “Publications can sense when you copy-and-paste a pitch and will treat it as spam,” said Mallory Siegal, a PR practitioner who does consulting for start-ups in New York. “In your pitch, explain how your story should be of interest to them, specifically,” Siegal added. Familiarizing yourself with previous articles by prospective writers can help you create a more personalized pitch. If you express a genuine interest in the writer, it is more likely they will express interest in you.

3. Use visual content to make your story stand out

There are literally millions of start-ups fighting for the spotlight. Including visual content in your story will instantly make it more engaging—to media outlets and potential consumers. An infographic or clever video, for example, are effective tools for adding a dynamic element to your story. Get creative!

4. Form relationships with journalists

“Relationship building may be the most important strategy for any successful start-up,” said Evan Crossing, CEO of 24 Frames Entertainment. “You need all the help you can get, and you never know when you will meet someone with the power to take your business to the next level.” Forming relationships with journalists before you need their help will separate you from the myriad of strangers competing to get their stories published. A casual way to do this is by following them on Twitter and engaging with their tweets. ‘Human’ interaction is more effective in building genuine relationships than ‘branded’ interactions. If you’ve connected with a journalist on a personal level, they will likely be happy to work with you when the time comes.

5. Form relationships with customers

Loyal customers attract loyal customers. One way to inspire loyalty is great customer service—thoughtful responses to concerns and praises from customers will show that your business values their opinions, an important factor in building trust. Rewarding loyalty with occasional gifts or discounts shows your appreciation and keeps customers coming back. Curating fun events for your brand’s community is another great way to keep them engaged with you on a more personal level and will motivate them to share their love for your brand with their own followers.

Remember, being your genuine, unique self when applying any of these strategies to your business is essential to your success. This is what will set you apart from your competitors.

By Aileen Brown

Aileen is a student of the school of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University, Class of 2022. She is a fashion designer ready to enter the fashion industry upon graduation.

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