Hacking the Startup PR Process

Jun 12, 2019

Getting media attention for your startup is one of the most important things you can do in successfully getting your startup off the ground. Unlike advertising, media attention often reaches a wider audience often at no cost to you. Media attention also legitimizes you and your startup. People see your company name in a reputable media outlet and think, “these guys are for real!” So how do we do we gain positive media attention for our startups? There have historically been two ways to go about doing this: create your media content and use personal relationships to get your story in front of a journalist, editor, producer, etc. or hire a public relations (PR) firm to do this for you. The former depends on luck while the later depends on money and both are difficult to replicate.

We figured out a happy medium between the two strategies that is (1) low cost; (2) easily replicable; and (3) allows us to control the whole process. In other words, we came up with a cool hack for the startup PR process. How? Simple. We built audiences of journalists, editors, publishers, producers, and other media influencer types on Facebook and Linkedin. Once we have these audiences, we can run ads that show up in the Facebook and Linkedin news feeds of all these lovely media types. So as they go through their news feeds, they come upon the story you have published (on you blog, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.). If they find what you are doing interesting, they click on it and briefly read what you are doing. You conveniently post your contact information at the bottom of your post making it easy for them to contact you. Whenever you have something interesting about you or your business occur, you simply run the ad again to the same people.

In order to execute this PR hack, we need an email list of about 2,000 media professionals. If you haven’t built an audience on Facebook or Linkedin using an email list, it’s pretty easy to do, and you can quickly learn how in one of my previous posts. Once you have your email list up, Facebook or Linkedin will match those emails to user accounts and save it as an audience for you. Whenever you want to tell media professionals about the cool new thing you did (product launch, endorsements, funding, joining an accelerator, etc,), you write it up briefly and then advertise this write up to everyone in your media professionals audience.

Running an ad campaign on Facebook and/or Linkedin to reach all of these people on their news feeds is often less than $100. Compared to the $700 to $1200 you pay per post on PR NewsWire or +$2K per month retainer you often pay to PR agencies, this is a deal. Unlike those other forms of PR, you can also control who and how often sees posts about your business. It’s also a great way to AB test what about your business is appealing to media types. For example, you can show half your audience an ad with “New veteran owned business” vs. “Lessons learned in the military applied to high tech startup” to see which gets more traction. 

If you’re not getting enough views from your media professionals, Facebook and Linkedin both allow you to create look alike audiences. Facebook/Linkedin take your 2,000 media contacts and then identify everyone else on their platform like them. We recently did this on Facebook and they identified over 2M users that were similar to our media professionals. This allows you to stay laser focused on your known media professionals or cast a much wider net with a look alike audience.

You’re now thinking, “cool, but I don’t even know how to begin going about getting an email list of media professionals.” No problem. For a limited time we’re offering our list for sale at $199. Combined with 20% off your first purchase, and this is a great investment in effective, low cost PR for your startup. Our list is preformatted for Facebook. Simply download it from Data & Sons and upload it into Facebook Business Manager. You are then ready to start getting your startup’s story in front of thousands of journalists, publishers, editors, and producers from around the country.