The Ultimate PR Guide For Entrepreneurs


When many of us think of PR, we think of big agencies or publicists who go out and pitch to various outlets. However, when I started reaching out to media outlets, it was nothing close to that.



It was just me trying to figure out what I could do to leverage the media so that my businesses could reap the rewards. Turns out, the media had a big impact on my businesses such as enabling StatFuse to acquire over 12,000 users within a few weeks of launching.



In addition to that, I’ve been featured on or interviewed on some of the biggest publications out there. I’ve had segments on Yahoo, YFS Magazine, Idea Mensch, New York Times, and many others. Not only that, but I have been on numerous radio shows and even have been interviewed on a television show!



Check out my segment on television below.




Today, I will share the ultimate PR guide for startups & entrepreneurs so that you can achieve similar success.



Your Angle


Before you can be newsworthy, you need to have a story or news to share with these publications. Media outlets are pitched hundreds (if not thousands) of articles every single day.



90% of their articles usually revolve around breaking news, current happenings, or things they have to report. That leaves hundreds to thousands of people trying to fit into the 10%, which leaves very little opportunity for you.



How do you get into the news? Well, you need to be creative and find a very unique angle that you bring to the table. Media outlets constantly described me as, “The Young Entrepreneur Building A Tech Empire” or “The Teen With A Big Business Dream” or “The Young Marketing Guru.”



Regardless of what they called me, you should be noticing one thing immediately. All of the angles that the PR pushed me as were extremely unique. The press is interested in featuring you to their audience for 2 reasons:



1. Unbelievable Story


2. Expert In Some Field Or Industry



#1 is your best shot of getting into numerous media outlets. If you bring a new perspective or angle, the press will be happy to share your story with their audience.



#2 has a lot of competition. It’s tough to be featured on major outlets for being an expert because there’s usually more than just one professional pitching for the spot.



Regardless of which route you choose to take, you will have to find a unique angle or perspective that you can push through the media. The more unique the angle, the easier chance you have getting published.



Finding The Media Outlets


Now that you have a story and an angle to pitch, you’re ready to find media outlets to share this information with. Over 75% of you are probably searching for a directory with a long list of all the major PR outlets.



STOP RIGHT THERE! Pitching to every single “major” media outlet never works. I wasted months on this when I started only to realize that I was wasting my time.



When I did it, it felt too easy and I was right. I got no results, but I had wasted a ton of time and probably screwed up quite a few opportunities. In order to find the right media outlets, you need to begin by reviewing your pitch.



Based on your pitch (whether you’re an expert or someone sharing a story), what kind of readers would benefit most from this? Make a list of the audience or demographics that would get the most of your story.



Once you have figured that out, go back to your big list of media outlets and see which of those publications cater to your audience. Remember, you want to be in the media to help you or your business.



If you’re in all the wrong media outlets, you may be on the homepage of a nice website, but you won’t be getting any results. Craft a list of all the media outlets you want to be in and note down their websites.




The Pitch


Publications don’t give you much insight on what you can do to have the best chance of getting your story featured. Typically, most of us go to their contact page and fill out a submission form with our pitches.



Most of the time, the right people are not seeing your pitch and nobody picks up your story. There is a right way to get your pitch in front of the right audience, but it’s a tedious process.



Go to your media outlet and visit the section/category where your story fits in the best. For me it was entrepreneurship, business, startups, or marketing. Then, go to these sections and look through recent articles that have been posted within the last 7-10 days.



Look for articles that are similar to the story you’re pitching. If you’re pitching yourself as a digital marketing expert, look for articles that have to do with marketing. Once you find an article that is relevant to yours, click on the writers name.



Now you will get to see other articles the writer has written, how often he/she writes, and potentially get access to his contact information. If John at XYZ publishing is the perfect writer for your story, contact him.



The Contact


Now you’ve got your ideal writer at the ideal publication, you’re one step away from getting your story out there. What do you do?



Most people that get this far, but still screw up. Do NOT simply copy & paste you Media Release (stop calling it press releases, it’s too old-school) and email it over to the writer. THIS IS WRONG!



The writer now feels like he’s a robot and not a human being. Your chances of being featured have now significantly dropped, unless you have an AMAZING story. We’re going to pretend like you don’t and approach this the right way.



You will craft an email to John at XYZ publishing where you will praise him and thank him for his great work. You will introduce yourself and explain in just a few sentences the value that you bring. An example of this email would be:



Hey John,

I loved your article on “Social Media Marketing Tips” from Friday. I thought you did a great job discussing the influence Pinterest will have on businesses in the near future.

I wanted to introduce myself. I’m a 20 year old entrepreneur, digital marketing consultant, author, and public speaker. If you ever need insight on any other future articles that revolve around digital marketing, I would be happy to offer my expertise. I’m extremely passionate about digital marketing and offer a unique perspective on the topic due to my young age.

Here’s also a link to my website if you do want to learn a bit more about me, Thanks again for a great article and I hope to talk with you more soon.





That’s it! Compliment him on a recent article, share who you are and why you matter, and then leave him some basic information before ending the email.



The Close


Just like anything in business, you have to be a damn good closer to get what you want. Pitching to media outlets is also much of the same. You’ve just finished sending your email to the writer and have done everything right so far.



You still may not get the feature you’re looking for unless you close very well. The writer may just email back saying, “Thanks so much for the kind comments. I will keep you in mind for future articles.”



As nice as that may sound, it means he will forget about you and never really feature you in his future articles. To close these writers, you need to constantly remind them of your presence and build a positive relationship with them.



One email isn’t enough to get you in their radar. From here, you will want to keep a tab on this writer and email him every 2-3 articles he posts. Now instead of introducing yourself, you can continue sharing your perspective on his articles to show him how well you know your stuff.



Sometimes this process can take months! It’s all about following up and building a relationship with writers. Writers don’t want you to be their friend just for the 5 minutes they write an article on you. They’re looking for people who are looking to build positive relationships with them.



In December of 2012, I established a great connection in NBC. I was told by the reporter that he would get an article done on me sometime that month. Fast-forward to today and a ton of following up, he still wants to do the article on me but has to wait.



It’s not an easy process getting yourself in big media outlets, but the rewards are well-worth the effort.





Mastering the art of PR is extremely tough. It takes a lot of hard-work and practice, but the rewards are worthwhile. This is the ultimate PR guide for entrepreneurs looking to successfully place themselves in major media outlets. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below!



photo credit: Valerie Everett via photopin cc

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