One of the most critical and challenging aspects of running a startup, or really any business, is handling PR and trying to gain publicity. PR expert and founder of JustReachOut, which is a tool for businesses to manage and optimize their PR, Dmitry Dragilev believes that most companies go about handling the press and gaining publicity wrong. In his words, “PR is like dating, you have to start an engaging conversation with them first. You have to find a common interest. PR is not about how many pitches you can send out in a given timeframe, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.”
Here are six strategies that will help your company build relationships with journalists and publications:
1. Become a source for an article.
An entrepreneur can find journalists who need quotes from experts for their articles. This kills two birds with one stone, since you help them with their article and you start forming a relationship with them. This gives you the ability to form a mutually beneficial relationship with the journalist, rather than emailing them and begging them for publicity, which does not help the journalist much. For them, entrepreneurs looking for press are a dime a dozen. Instead, by becoming a resource for the journalist, you form a much stronger relationship with them.
2. Use Quora & Reddit to your advantage.
JustReachOut has a feature which allows users to search specific websites for a particular topic that pertains to your business. By participating in a Quora or Reddit discussion, you gain a presence in the field you are in. Then, contacting members of the press with information pertaining to a piece they are writing about becomes easier. During no point in this process should you mention your company or product. Instead, you should wait until you have formed a relationship with the journalist before bringing your company into the conversation.
3. Guest writing.
The strategy of ghost writing articles has the main advantage of being very contained. You control what the world sees of your company or product, rather than relying on the press to give you a good review and promote your company. By writing a guest article, your expertise will impress people and will put your company in a very beneficial light.
“Instead of pitching press about how great your service is, show off your skills to people with these guest articles.”
4. Using data to your advantage.
Data is incredible. It can show us more than words can describe in much less time. You should use it to your advantage. Dmitry worked for a company called Polis, which was a mobile polling tool. By creating polls, or other types of user-driven data, he created a relationship between himself and what the poll is discussing. For example, he created a poll about which Foursquare logo users preferred. Once data was compiled, it became easy for this data to be used by many journalists or Foursquare itself, creating many good relationships that gave the company a big boost in press, even without having to deal much with anyone outside of the company. Many startups can use this strategy.
Interviews, even short ones, can give your company a massive boost. Each person interviewed, even if they are barely mentioned, will share wherever your interview is featured. This causes a fast influx of viewers to your company and it gives a lot of positive press to your company. Beyond that, Dmitry has seen that outside journalists use the interview in their own pieces, which brings the readers of that article to your company. Dmitry believes this lets you gain traction from multiple angles and reach twice the amount of viewers with the same amount of effort.
6. The skyscraper technique.
This technique is simple, but it can have a great effect on your company. Dmitry describes this technique as the following: “You find the highest ranking content for your keyword, write a more thorough and up-to-date version of that same content and get everyone who linked to the original piece of content to link to your newly published one.” The steps are rather simple. First, you find a keyword that you want to capture, but has rather outdated results. Then you write a more updated and better article and publish it. Next, you find what websites were linking to the old articles and have them link to yours instead. Eventually you will rise through the ranks on results and find your article on the top of the search results.
Each of these tips can be applied in different ways and used in different circumstances. They should act as weapons in your arsenal, rather than strict and individual strategies. Try using more than one of them to see what works and what does not for your company. These tips from Dmitry will help kick your company’s PR into gear and before you know it you’ll be on your way to the top! Read more on NYC PR here.