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? 5/22: A handy-dandy email helper, a rapping robot and so much more

Thinkstock
Thinkstock

Hey there, Friday people! Here are a few weird tech stories to start your holiday weekend:

  • Having trouble writing emails? Can’t figure out what to say? Crystal can help – the startup uses public online data about email recipients to help writers craft the perfect note. Finally, a purpose for obsessive Internet stalking.
  • It looks like the music industry could be facing another major setback. DeepBeat, the world’s first AI rapper is taking the stage. He may be crap now, but just wait for 2.0.
  • Has Periscope won? Looks like Meerkat is going to have to go through a major overhaul if it wants to stay relevant…but those critters are just so damn cute.
  • For any identical twins out there, your days of trading places are over. New DNA technology makes it easier for police to catch the right twin. Hopefully this will stem the recent tide of identical twin-related crimes we’ve been seeing.
  • Light Phone is the newest iteration of technology that mimics low-tech gadgets of yore. In this case, the mythical cell phone. While it’s only $100, you have to own a smartphone for it to work. So I suggest an alternative – revive your Sidekick and ditch dumb-smart tech forever. Be free!

That’s all for now; go enjoy the long weekend! And be sure to follow us on Twitter @BlancandOtus.

Wait! What? 5/15: Shape-shifting planes, secret agent desks, and Facebook’s controversial new feature

It's a bird, it's a plane! It's a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)
It’s a bird, it’s a plane! It’s a plane. (Credit: Jim Ross, NASA)

Lots of big announcements this week in our beloved world of tech, but if you wanted to read about Verizon’s acquisition of AOL or the new Gmail login screen – you’ve come to the wrong place. As usual, we’re more interested in the weirder, more wackadoodle stories that you weren’t paying attention to over the past seven days. Buckle up – it’s time for this week’s roundup:

  • NASA successfully tested a plane with shape-changing wings. Will we ever get tired of futuristic space-stuff? No, we won’t – and before you say anything, ‘space-stuff’ is the term used by actual scientists.
  • Feeling less Ethan Hunt-y than usual? No problem. Introducing Sharetable, the desk that makes every other desk look like complete garbage. Its surface features a shareable screen connected to your desktop monitor, so that the person sitting across from you can see what you’re seeing. Although, he won’t be able to see the expression of total awe on his own face, since that view is reserved for you.
  • All the pretty girls love Samsung? Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea released the video for their song “Pretty Girls,” in which Iggy uses her space-alien super powers to transform Brit’s old school cell phone into a gigantic Samsung Galaxy something or other (marketing!). We don’t really have time to go through all of the problems with the video – but our main concern is that Iggy seems to think that robots and aliens are the same thing.
  • Media no-likey Facebook’s “Instant Articles.” Facebook announced “Instant Articles,” sparking controversy among media outlets. They’re concerned that the new feature will make it difficult for publishers to control their own content. They have a point, but we’re pretty sure that Facebook has been aggregating content for a while now, simply through its users. You know…because, like…cat videos.
  • If we use Waze, can we skip the rush-hour traffic out of King’s Landing? The answer is no, because you can’t just leave King’s Landing, and this totally awesome Google Map of Westeros isn’t connected to Waze.

Now you’re all caught up. Hopefully some of this will come up in your next round of bar trivia.

Wait! What? 4/3: Pranks, Posts and Periscoping

(Uber)
(Uber)

We can’t slide into the weekend without taking a moment to consider some of the truly baffling things tech companies did this week. And with April Fools Day, you can be sure shenanigans were at an all time high. So we have no time to waste:

  • As an April Fools Day prank, Uber jokingly announced Uber Boat. Just in case you were interested in recreating any Gilligan’s Island fantasies you might have.
  • Plenty of companies thought pranks involving selfies would be funny. Can we all agree they weren’t that funny?
  • In a staggering example of not getting it – Jeb Bush went around this week defending a controversial bill while hitting up Silicon Valley for cash. Is there a phrase for the opposite of preaching to the choir?
  • Microsoft announced plans to remove “Do Not Track” as the default setting in their upcoming browsers. I am sure this will go over well with the Internet.
  • While we’ve all had a lot of fun Periscoping and Meerkatting through life these past few weeks, we may be in for quite a shock when our phone bills come in. These hot new apps chew through data like nobody’s business.

That wraps it up – hopefully you survived April Fools without getting pranked too hard. Check back next week for more tech and PR news.

Wait! What? 11/26: Where tech and turkeys collide

"It's been an honor serving you, Mr. President." - Turkey (Thinkstock)
“It’s been an honor serving you, Mr. President.” – Turkey (Thinkstock)

It’s been a short week leading up to Thanksgiving, but that didn’t stop us from cooking up five juicy news bullets for your gobbling pleasure. Already regret writing that.

  • While you gather with friends and loved ones this weekend to reflect on all that you’re thankful for, we can tell you with certainty what Lyft is thankful for: Uber’s PR nightmare. The ride-share service reported its biggest week for rides ever following one of Uber’s roughest.
  • New ammo for the age-old white vs. dark meat debate: turkey lobbyists (real thing) only allow white turkeys to be presidentially pardoned, meaning brown and black turkeys are doomed to serve their duty to the American people in political obscurity. #THANKSMICHELLEOBAMA
  • Speaking of turkeys, now you can vote via Twitter on which one should spend the rest of its days in genteel luxury in Virginia, and which should end up on Obama’s Thanksgiving table… May the odds be ever in their favor.
  • We all know creating trash is central to American values, but one startup is determined to ensure our turkey scraps don’t go to waste. You can thank the cloud, Big Data and several other buzzwords.
  • If department stores have taught us anything, it’s that Christmas basically starts right after Halloween – so hurry up and finish that turkey because ’tis the season to be shopping. PSFK’s 2014 Gift Guide includes unique wearables and smart gadgets like posture sensors that essentially scold you for slouching. Our favorite is the stress tracker that tells you when…you’re stressed…? We need it!

Still not satiated? Connect with us @BlancandOtus to stay on top of the latest in tech and media, although personally, we’re going cold turkey on it until Monday. Enjoy the break!

Julia van Broek, Christine Pai, Colette Keane and Victoria Stevenson contributed to this post. It takes a village. 

Wait! What? 7/25: Christmas in July: giant hamster wheels and space balloons

Hot-air space balloons? Yes please. (Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.)
Hot-air space balloons? Yes please. (Credit: World View Enterprises, Inc.)

It’s the heart of summer vacation season, and on your travels you may very well be feeling disconnected from what’s going on. Well, time to check what the really hard-hitting tech news was this week:

Did we miss something really juicy? We’d love to hear about it in the comments, or @BlancandOtus!