PR is storytelling in the media. And as it is with storytelling, one media report is never enough. What is needed is a long-term presence in various media. Only then can PR become the most important tool for credibility and authenticity for your Startup. In this article, we’ll tell you how to do that.
We’ve all heard it before: There are those Startups that send out a press release about the new round of financing, then celebrate the big media presence, and finally – according to the dream that seems to have come true – the website collapses from all the hits and new customers. Jackpot! But all joking aside: Wouldn’t it be much nicer to continuously increase awareness and thereby occupy the thought leadership role in your own industry? And wouldn’t it be nice to continuously appear in the reputable media with top-quality content, rather than being media-rich with a press release as a flash in the pan?
Long-term planning instead of one-off fireworks
There are enough companies that are under pressure, for example economically, and want to go on the offensive quickly. It does not play that a PR action in this situation causes miracles. There are no miracle weapons. What there are, however, are clever strategies and long-term concepts that are agile in themselves. And it doesn’t depend on the budget: Even smaller companies and Startups can take an example from the strategic communication of big brands. After all, it’s simply a matter of recording one’s own key topics and not missing out on important industry events and key topics in the media.
A little bit every week instead of full throttle once
Everyone who has ever done PR seriously knows: It’s a mighty lot of work. If PR is not the only task on the to-do list, it quickly slips to the back of the list… and bang, several months have passed without results. So it is wiser to work through an annual plan, to have predefined topics and then to plan around 5 hours every week for active outreach. The rule is: It’s better to contact a few selected media with individual topic suggestions than to send massive amounts of emails via copy paste to numerous media. Less is more: This way your output is much better despite less time spent.
Large, comprehensive press reports are impressive. But do they pay off in terms of the company’s communications goals? Do we become the thought leader in our industry just by getting lots of coverage? No. We become a thought leader by talking to the right media about the right topics – and thereby actually reaching our target groups to make a difference in and with them. Therefore: better 1 high quality report than 3 reports with high wastage. So when your CEOs and decision makers come around the corner and demand, “We want to see 300 press releases this year!” you can argue against that with good reason.
Your checklist for continuous and high-quality PR results:
- Create an annual plan for yourself (e.g., as a spreadsheet) with a monthly overview. In it, note down all the focal points you set as a company, as well as industry events and important times of the year for you.
- Find the special topics and media data for your key media. You can often find these on the respective websites. Check them out to see when the media plan to focus on topics that are relevant to you and make a note of the publication dates AND the editorial deadlines in your annual plan. Important: Media have lead times. So if you have a publication date in April, plan for up to 3 months in advance (depending on the type of media and rhythm), so that you can be heard from as early as January.
- The heart of your PR: The topics. Think very carefully about which topics and specific issues you want to cover as a company. These topics pay into your expertise and values. The more specific, the better. Example: a media outlet is unlikely to be interested in doing an editorial piece with you if you offer to write about the environmental impact of fast fashion. However, if you offer them to use a recent study on fast fashion as an opportunity to talk about the rising prices of fashion and discuss solutions (because your product addresses these pain points), the media will be much more likely to listen. Note down these topics as precisely as possible and think about concrete issues that you want to address and propose.
- Create a distribution list with your most important contacts: Invest time here – the better this distribution list is, the faster you will be out of the loop. This distribution list must be watertight. In the best case, you can list your 10 most important key media and contacts at 3 a.m. in your sleep. Remember: quality before quantity!
- Block out about 3 hours a week in your calendar to prepare a media topic well and to contact some media with it – by phone or in writing, but in any case individually. Also use this time to follow up with media that you have already contacted, but from which you have not yet received a response. Always remember: Continuity is key! If you do nothing for 3 months, you will have no results for 3 months.
- Last but not least: Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. Don’t be encouraged – learn and get better.