How to Secure Coverage for Your Startup Client

"I can't believe no one wrote about this. *refreshes Google News*" (Thinkstock Photos)
“I can’t believe no one wrote about this. *refreshes Google News*” (Thinkstock Photos)

These days, the world of business-to-business (B2B) tech is saturated with new companies on a daily basis – meaning that media coverage is no longer guaranteed for every funding round, partnership announcement or executive Q&A. But if you follow these guidelines, your chances are bound to improve:

  • Pin down positioning. In B2B tech PR, it can be difficult to secure your startup client coverage when there’s no hard news or innovative, disruptive, world-changing product announcement, so that’s where positioning comes in. A relatively new startup has to have some sort of quantitative or qualitative edge. When positioning them in the media, it proves more fruitful to discuss the hard facts about what the company is doing rather than trying to convince reporters your client is an innovative disruptor. Empty buzzwords will make their eyes will glaze over (and shift their attention to a startup another PR agency is pitching).
  • Manage client expectations. This is an important one. Managing your client’s expectations is key when trying to secure them coverage. Building a relationship with media takes time, but unsurprisingly your client will want tier-one business press coverage now…and again next month. Assure them that when getting their feet wet in the fickle world of tech reporting, going for trade publications first can be an effective way to reach a target audience. That way, when working your way up to higher tier, more coveted coverage there will be examples to share with reporters and show that your client has established itself in the media.
  • Jump on trends. Asserting your client into the conversation and positioning them as a thought leader on their subject matter is another good way to ensure they get coverage. Stay up to date on what’s happening in key industries by following the right influencers on Twitter and bookmarking the appropriate target publications. Newsletter services like HARO and ProfNet that connect reporters with potential sources are also effective ways to keep up with and comment on trends. Browsing every HARO and ProfNet posting and acting quickly to pitch relevant opportunities have produced effective, quick and easy wins on many occasions.
  • Use your connections. Don’t have any? Make them! One thing that we may all forget sometimes is that it’s not the outlets that write stories – it’s individual writers that do. Get to know the reporters you target for stories on social media, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or personal blogs. By connecting and interacting with them it makes it that much more likely they’ll open your email pitch if they recognize your client’s name or yours. In other words, be a good PR person and do some research (but be cool about it – see next point).
  • Don’t be a pest. As we’ve discussed in a recent blog post on PR myths, there is a right way and a wrong way to pitch and follow up with reporters you are trying to get to cover your client. Although the format of a pitch, length, style, etc. are all subjective and depend on the pitcher and pitched, one thing is for sure and it’s that reporters do NOT enjoy bothersome “call-downs.” Sure, a quick call after an email may be a very efficient way of getting a reporter’s attention, but just use your best judgment and don’t risk having all your future pitches flagged immediately as spam. Similarly, don’t spam or stalk reporters too rigorously on social media – striking a balance is key.

So, what do you think? If you have comments, concerns or questions about PR for your own startup, feel free to drop me a line.

Wait, What?! 5/1: Drones in Nepal; Secret CEO sells his Ferrari

Drones: they're not all evil. (Thinkstock)
Drones: they’re not all evil. (Thinkstock)

Happy Friday and first day of May! As your day filled with Justin Timberlake memes winds to a close, let’s have a look at what you may have missed in the world of tech:

  • Drones are helping the relief effort after the earthquake in Nepal by identifying obstructed roads or damaged infrastructure. (Proving that tech sometimes actually can save the world.)
  • Apple confirmed that the new Apple Watch may not work properly for those with tattoos. Bay Area hipsters everywhere are outraged and canceling their orders en masse over what they’re calling #TattooGate. Just kidding; they probably don’t care.
  • The secret is out! The founder of anonymous/failed social app Secret announced the company is shutting down for good and selling his Ferrari. Ironically, most employees found out on Secret.
  • Are they or aren’t they? Rumor had it this week that Salesforce has hired bankers to field a potential takeover offer…for a discounted price of $44 billion!
  • Microsoft’s machine-learning team built a robot that can guess your gender and age. We tested it out with a rather blurry photo and it guessed age 16. SPOT ON ROBOT, SPOT ON.

Well, there you have it – our favorite tech stories from the week! If that wasn’t enough and you must have MOAR news, visit @BlancandOtus or check back next Friday!

Wait! What? 2/6: Google places its bets on driverless cars and tech attends its version of the Oscars

This week was chock full of tech news, from Google’s ride-share service to the winners of this year’s Crunchies, the past seven days didn’t disappoint. Don’t worry, next week we’ll have another Kim Kardashian video to share…(just kidding). Here’s what made the headlines this week:

  • Last night, the who’s who of the tech industry switched out of their hoodies and into three piece suits (okay maybe at least a button up) to attend the Crunchies Awards. For reasons we won’t try to understand, the Kim Kardashian app
    Credit: Steve Jurvetson
    Credit: Steve Jurvetson

    beat out Buzzfeed for the “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Award.

  • Snapchat removed their “Best Friends” feature that allows you to see who your friends are swapping selfies with. Stalkers and girlfriends everywhere flipped out…but don’t worry the photo app promises it will be back.
  • From iPod to iPhone, iPad to iWatch, and now iTube?! Apparently, Apple is in talks with TV programmers to launch its own Web TV service.
  • Because Google is Google and likes to do everything under the sun…the tech giant is preparing to offer it’s own ride-hailing service – and is upsetting Uber in the process.
  • Ever wonder what the Internet will look like in 5, 10 and 15 years? Well, the NCTA does. They say 5 years from now, everyone in the world will be able to use the Internet (and be able to get their weekly dose of Wait! What?)!

Did we miss anything juicy that rocked your world this week? Send us a tweet @BlancandOtus. See you next Friday for another edition of your favorite weekly roundup!

Wait! What? 10/24: Ello raises more VC to become anti-Facebook, while NYPD gets some hot new gear

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 1.14.50 PMToday is a special day for us here at B&O! The Giants are playing Game 3 of the World Series, and it’s also Friday, which means another edition of “Wait! What?” Here’s what happened in the world of tech besides the discovery that Mark Zuckerberg can speak fluent Chinese:

  • New social network Ello raised $5.5 million in its latest round of funding and converted itself into a Public Benefits Corporation, which means users can say hello app store, and goodbye paid advertisements.
  • Connected car, home, and now luggage? A startup called Bluesmart is crowdfunding the world’s first connected suitcaseso you never have to lose your luggage on a business trip and wear the same pair of socks three days in a row again.
  • Bad boys, bad boys, whacha gonna do when they come for you? Maybe steal their tablets… The NYPD has announced it will equip the city’s law enforcement with 41,000 smartphones and tablets to improve “workflow.”
  • If you’re a busy yet trusting parent who doesn’t have time to drop kids off at soccer practice, new SF startup Shuddle has launched to arrange paid rides for your children.
  • Tech genius inventor/billionaire by day and masked vigilante/billionaire by night: Christian Bale has been cast as Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic on the Apple co-founder.

Those were our top picks of the week, but feel free to tweet any other stories our way @BlancandOtus. Now we’re off to cheer the Giants on to sweet victory…

Wait! What? 8/22: Steve Ballmer ditches Microsoft and Flappy Bird creators introduce a new game

Screenshot from Swing Copters
Screenshot from Swing Copters

Wait, what? It’s already Friday? While you were in the front yard dumping water on yourself in the name of ALS, here are a few pieces of tech goodness you may have missed:

  • Steve Ballmer loves Microsoft. But not enough to let it get in the way of his new duties as the owners of the Los Angeles Clippers. After all, he did pay $2 billion for them.
  • The creators of Flappy Bird have introduced a new single-tap iOS game: Swing Copters! Say goodbye to your free time and hello to this sure-to-be equally as aggravating game.
  • Guess we WON’T be saying goodbye to selfies anytime soon…in China at least. Sony is introducing perfume bottle-shaped selfie cameras.
  • Gone are the days of iris scanning and fingerprinting as human identification tactics! Here come body odor, heartbeats and even brain waves!
  • Professional sports leagues around the country plan to add Wi-Fi to their stadiums. They’re hoping to draw millennials from behind their TV screens and to the stadiums, where they can promptly post photos of their seats to Instagram.

Read something that made you say “Wait! What?” this week? Leave a comment or hit us up @BlancandOtus!

Twitter Introduces the Dronie and Yo app (aka the Next Big Thing) attracts the masses

Yo's logo, yo. (Credit: Yo)
Yo’s logo, yo. (Credit: Yo)

From the “eagerly” anticipated return of Blackberry to the FBI’s attempt to index Twitter shorthand (nice try), this week was chock full of news you can’t miss. Here’s what happened in tech while everyone except me was watching the World Cup:

  • Always wanted an index for your Twitter shorthand needs? No? Well here’s a list of not-so-commonly used acronyms brought to you by the FBI, clearly HAW (hard at work, we just made that up). TLK2UL8R, Secret Agent.
  • Sick of your iPhone correcting “Yo” to “To”? Yup, same here. But now there’s an app for that! Say whatever is  on your mind with just two letters, yo.
  • Take a cue from Queen Bey and put a ring on it! I’m sure she didn’t mean a vibrating wearable disguised as a cocktail ring, but whatever.
  • BlackBerry is not dead! …Said Blackberry CEO John Chen. Not too sure about this one, but hey, everyone loves a good comeback story.
  • Speaking of what’s dead…the #selfie! Twitter gave Ellen a run for her money this week by introducing theDronie. Hopefully this can finally end the #YearoftheSelfie.
  • Wondering what social media managers do? Definitely not spend all day on Facebook, so don’t even bother asking.

So there you have it folks – our top tech stories from the week! Tweet us @BlancandOtus or leave a comment below to share your favorite.