The Do-it-yourself approach to pr
You can go several directions with your PR:
- Expensive: Hire a PR firm to do all the work for you.
- Cheap: Do it yourself.
- In-between: Hire a service (e.g.: PressFriendly) to automate the processes for you, as well as give advice.
The advantage of doing the PR yourself -- or in conjunction with a PR service -- is that no one will speak about your business with as much heart and efficacy as you will.
Some other things to consider:
- PR is cheaper and easier than most people think. (But it does require grunt work.)
- Vanity placements (e.g.: in popular magazines) often don't move the needle. Think "measurable results." What's going to get you: customers in the door, app downloads, email addresses, etc.
- Bloggers and reporters want to write about you. You are here to solve their problem, which is: something to write about.
- It's okay to push people's buttons or take a stand for something. Or against something.
1. Create a list of bloggers who would possibly write about you.
Start with Alltop, which has already categorized the best blogs on many popular topics.
Use Google News to also find relevant blogs/bloggers.
2. Create a spreadsheet.
- Journalist Name
- Blog Name
- Journalist Email Address
- Blog Email Address
- Other contact info, e.g.: social media accounts
It's a good idea to start following these bloggers and journalists immediately -- and engaging with them -- so that they'll be receptive when it's time to pitch them.
3. Mail the bloggers and journalists.
You can do this manually or automate the process. PR services make the process easy.
An email sent to a person, instead of the "tips" email, will always be better received.
Remember to include a link in your email to your press kit. Journalists are busy, so if you can give them stats, quotes, photos, and anything else to help them along, they will be more apt to write about you. This press kit should not be attached to the email, as this will make people suspicious of viruses. Instead, just link to a zip file of the press kit on your own server.
4. Additional opportunities.
- Explore partnerships.
- Upload posts to Hacker News, Quora, or Reddit.
- Use a service like Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) to find reporters who are looking for people to include in stories they are already writing about your space.
- Host an event and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did).
- Bring on influential advisers and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money.
- Offer premium giveaways. Reach out to bloggers, influencers, and journalists and let them know we'll give them X number of haircuts to give away to readers.
- Create a viral/educational project. Code Academy created the Code Year program, which was just a simple landing page and drip-mail sequence that promised to teach you how to code for free. It was really successful.
Press Release Template
- Use cases
- Big picture
- Contact info and links
This is a first date with the journalist. The goal of the pitch is a second date - an expression of interest by the journalist to learn more, ideally on a call, and then to write.
You do a great job covering ride-sharing like Uber, Lyft, SideCar and the future of transportation networks. As such, our about-to-launch moped ridesharing network should definitely be interesting to you and your readers…”
This flows into the first piece of actual story content, which should be a paragraph-long version of your larger pitch. It should have the news hook in it. It should have more context. It’s going to look somewhat like the first meaningful paragraph of your press release. If you have an explainer video (here’s TalentBin’s), it should probably be linked in there too. And it should have a strong call to action at the end. “I would like to get on a call to tell you more.”
Story types (e.g.: App launch or product launch or milestone, like a new store opening)
Accomplishments (Success metrics)
- number of stores
- years in business
- number of customers per month/year
- Investors, funding
Possible Topics/Story Angles
Angles are the elements of a story that will create an emotional attachment in the reader. Focus on emotional appeal that helps tell a story about the technology in a human way. Use cases are good, but real world examples are better. 2-3 short sentences.
Screenshots, people. Deliver these as links.
Sample Press Releases
LuckiePennie, Founded By PhD and Musician Partners, Launches With Mission To Change Way We Discover Music
- At time when social platforms have annual revenues of $7b & concert promotion has annual revenue of $24B, startup launches to marry two services together
- With easy-to-use interface that allows individuals to discover music from tastemakers and more, individuals now have central location for music scene
- Despite services such as Spotify having enormous music libraries, the most reliable form of music discovery is still word of mouth
- According to study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, live music will expand at a 7% compound annual from $8.7 billion in 2011 to $12.2 billion in 2016
- LuckyPennie is brainchild of experienced team of startup founders, artists, designers, and doctors
January 13th, 2014 – PhD and musician partners announce the launch of the LuckyPennie iPhone app, available today on the iTunes App store for free. Taking the music industry by storm, the LuckyPennie application is designed to re-imagine the way we discover music.
A new product in a growing collection of music businesses by PhD John Wolanin, musician and serial founder Jonathan Lane, and developer Joe Landon, LuckyPennie is music discovery from local tastemakers. With LuckyPennie, individuals can discover new tracks, find local shows, and connect with like-minded people.
“Between the three founders, we have been involved with the music industry for over thirty years on both the artist and business side,” says Co-Founder John Wolanin. “However, even though we are based in Los Angeles, we still have difficulty finding new songs and events to attend. We built LuckyPennie to fulfill this need.”
“Social platforms have revenues in the billions and concert promotion and music-streaming services have annual revenue of $24B and $767M, yet there still lacks a platform to marry the two services”, adds the Los Angeles innovator. “Today we launch LuckiePennie to be this bridge.”
The new iPhone application — which launches today — offers a new vision for discovering music. With an easy-to-use interface, individuals can discover music from influential tastemakers, the people who know their local music best.
As Co-Founder Jonathan Lane explains, “Imagine visiting Los Angeles. Locals in the LA music scene, who are passionate about music, post songs and concerts that are relevant to their music scene. These are bands that you probably don’t know about. But once you fire up LuckyPennie, you can get a glimpse of the scene here in LA and get leads on what bands to see, where to see them and almost just as important, who to see them with, while in you’re in town.”
For the last decade or so, the way people access and connect to music has gone through dramatic and rapid changes,” says John, who earned his Doctorate in Psychology before co-founding LuckyPennie. “If you look at activity now, there is incredible diversity in the public’s interaction with live music.”
LuckyPennie’s true potential lies in the ways it can serve as a central music platform to “unify the social discovery experience”, he says.
With LuckyPennie, locals are the curators and the platform is leveraged to crowd source curation, with the most relevant users bubbling up to the top with its trending algorithm. Users are rewarded with “cred” for posting unique content, and individuals with more cred wield more influence through the app’s reputation system.
Registered users are encouraged to create “crews”, which are a user’s playlist of people, as opposed to a playlist of music. In contrast to the anonymous users that existed in the Napster era, LuckiePennie fosters a sense of community where people can get and share recommendations and even chat.
Says Co-Founder John Wolanin, “We believe people are just as important in the music scene as the music itself.”
With a greater number of people attending live concerts in the US, a bridge between mobile, social, and live events has become more important than ever. According to a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, live music will expand at a 7% compound annual rate from $8.7 billion in 2011 to $12.2 billion in 2016. Live music was earlier attributed as the leading factor for the U.S. music market’s 3.4% growth in 2011, with a return in concert ticket revenues making up for the declines in recorded music sales.
“I think many people underestimate how large the live music industry is,” Co-Founder Joe Landon adds. “This market is not decreasing, rather the opposite – studies expect it only to grow.”
LuckyPennie is the brainchild of an experienced team of startup founders, artists, designers, and doctors, with a repertoire of more than 100 startups between them. The crew boasts the designer to a number of Y Combinator startups and the developer to dozens of award-winning mobile apps. Together, they know all the ins and outs of the music industry.
Co-founder John Wolanin has a Doctorate in Psychology, and earlier worked as the lead designer in his own firm. With 10 years behind him as lead designer and advisor to more than 50 startups, John has been described as the “designer to startup CEOs”.
Jonathan Lane, also co-founder of LuckyPennie, is a serial entrepreneur in the music industry, and he is also the Co-Founder of the NextSpace coworking space in Los Angeles. Jonathan is known as a connector between both the music and startup industry.
Joe Landon is a developer that has published numerous award-winning mobile games with Atari and other brands. He has over 10 years of development experience and had earlier served as the lead mobile developer for Break Media. Joe graduated from Baylor with a degree in Computer Science and the California Institute of the Arts with a degree in both Music Technology and Music Theory.
LuckyPennie is the company behind your favorite music app for the iPhone. Launched in 2014 with the vision to re-imagine the way we discover music, LuckyPennie is music discovery from local tastemakers. With LuckyPennie, individuals can discover new tracks, find local shows and make friends with the cool kids. LuckiePennie was founded by John Wolanin, Jonathan Lane, and Joe Landon.
Name: Conrad Egusa
Phone Number: (203) 293-8941
500 Startups-Backed ZootRock Launches, Aims To Re-Imagine The Way Small Businesses Approach Social Media
- ZootRock clients benefit from adaptive, high-powered algorithms that scour the internet for the best content, using customizable automated settings to curate a social media feed with personality.
- Search streams according to author, source, or subject, with keyword and quote streaming capabilities to find the best viral content on the web. Filter out undesirable content and sources, and take advantage of automatic features like Twitter sourcing. Set ZootRock to run automatically to free up time, or manually approve content to ensure the highest quality branding.
- Clients can expect 240% increases in engagement or more, for less than $40 per month.
- “At this point, it really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you’re not active with social media, you are losing more business and opportunities for growth than you could possibly know.” — Founder Audrey Melnik.
June 16th, 2014 — Founded by serial entrepreneur Audrey Melnik and backed by 500 Startups, ZootRock is launching to change the way small businesses present themselves on social media platforms.
Now, small businesses in all fields have an affordable, personalized third-party option for maximizing their social media impact. ZootRock uses comprehensive, user-specified parameters to develop effective social media feeds with personality that engage customers and strengthen company branding. Clients benefit from adaptive, high-powered algorithms that scour the internet for the best content, saving them many hours each week. With a variety of competitive pricing options and a dedicated team of experts armed with advanced web tools, ZootRock is the flexible, adaptive option for small businesses everywhere.
“At this point, it really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do,” says CEO and Founder Audrey Melnik, who worked in IT before founding her first startup in 2011, “if you’re not active with social media, you are losing more business and opportunities for growth than you could possibly know.”
Small businesses, explains Melnik, are at a disadvantage in this respect, because of a lack of resources and know-how.
“The flip side to how ubiquitous all this stuff has become is that now, simply having an account is not enough. If your social media channels look empty and stale, or if your content is not compelling, you may as well not have them,” says Melnik. “Your average corporation might devote an entire mini-department of specialists to managing its social media presence, but if you’re a small company, there’s no room to set aside manpower just for Twitter and Facebook, not in the budget, nor in the schedule.”
For small businesses, that’s where ZootRock comes in. ZootRock assembles a carefully curated content stream of articles, blog posts, images and quotes, using high-powered algorithms to search out the most trending and relevant content available. Customizable settings allow clients to build their streams according to their goals for business marketing and customer engagement, and users can specify additional sources of content they’d like included and at what frequency, or select from 200 pre-existing streams that include quotes and other viral content. Streams, meanwhile, can be adjusted according to what mood and marketing messages users would like, and be set to work automatically or to submit themselves for user review.
A full dashboard helps users manage social media channels and streams, with search options that combine selective filters that screen for undesirable or inappropriate content — be it harmful to the brand or tied to a competitor — and keyword and quote streaming to bring in selective, trending content and establish authority. Automatic account coordination, hash-tagging, Twitter sourcing, and recurring content posts are powerful tools for users looking to save even more time on their social media accounts, ensuring tweets reach content authors and spur engagement and activity. An innovative sentiment filter ensures that all content keeps to the desired tone, and rotating marketing messages can be programmed to reinforce branding.
ZootRock web tools can be used individually or in conjunction with one another, giving users the high specificity of content needed to convey the desired brand image. All tools can be manipulated manually or set to run on autopilot, giving users as much control as they need and as much freedom as they want.
“We equip our clients with the most powerful web tools available that give them full control over their social media presence, with as much or as little direct involvement as they want,” says Melnik.
With pricing packages starting at $20 per month, customers can expect as much as a 240% increase in audience engagement, while spending 50% less time on their social media platforms.
“It’s difficult to quantify just how much those types of interactions can mean for a business, but what our clients have seen in the short term is more calls, more engagement, and a brand with a strong, consistent presence,” says Melnik.
“The other real benefit our services offer is that users can learn alongside their media performance to get a better sense of how things are supposed to work on social networks like Twitter. We’ve heard back from users who have even come to rely on their ZootRock feeds as a dependable source of cutting-edge content that keeps them tuned in to their respective fields.”
With a variety of competitive pricing options and array of advanced web tools, ZootRock is the flexible, affordable option for small businesses looking to expand and optimize their social media presence.
ZootRock generates automated curated content to populate your tweets and posts so you don’t have to spend the time sourcing relevant content to post. The company was founded in 2013 Audrey Melnik and is backed by 500 Startups.
Name: Eddie Arrieta
CRM and Marketing Automation Meet Technical Recruiting with Launch of "TalentBin 2.0"
Top talent search engine evolves into all-in-one recruiting platform, adds automation tools to simplify candidate communication, pipeline management and reporting
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- TalentBin, the market leader in open web talent search, today announced the launch of TalentBin 2.0. The new version incorporates automation and relationship management features into the existing TalentBin platform, allowing recruiters to efficiently manage the entire "pre-apply" recruiting process in one place.
"TalentBin's initial features solved a huge problem for recruiters by automating open web talent discovery, a previously frustrating manual process," said TalentBin co-founder Pete Kazanjy. "Now, we're automating the entire process by adding new features that make TalentBin a one-stop shop for managing the many steps it takes to hire qualified technical candidates."
TalentBin has aggregated more than 500 million profiles of potential candidates to date. Now, the platform provides automated tools centered around recruiting-centric communication, candidate management and prioritization, and collaboration for larger recruiting teams. TalentBin 2.0 can be used as a stand-alone solution, or integrated with existing CRM, ATS, or HRIS systems.
TalentBin 2.0 integrates directly with Gmail and Microsoft Outlook / Exchange, enabling recruiters to contact qualified candidates directly from the TalentBin platform using their own email address. Emails appear in the TalentBin platform as well as the recruiter's inbox.
Other features include:
• Templated messaging across both email and social channels
• Campaigning tools for reaching multiple candidates more efficiently
• All interactions, including emails, stage changes, approvals from hiring managers, notes, and tasks, are automatically stored in TalentBin 2.0's "Candidate History"
• Embedded open tracking and click-through tracking in outbound emails
"Successful technical recruiting is about finding the high-quality potential candidates, and going after them in an efficient, persistent fashion," said Gary Garceau, Director of Recruiting for Visible Measures. "I use TalentBin to quickly narrow down a list of the best technical talent, and keep all my interactions organized. The new features help me do my job more efficiently and accurately, and make me a better recruiter overall."
Collaboration, Management and Reporting:
TalentBin 2.0 also makes it easy for teams of recruiters and hiring managers to work together and stay organized. Recruiters can also track the stage of a candidate (i.e., promising, qualified, attempting to contact, interview, etc.), visualize their pipeline, and share this information with hiring managers.
Further, recruiters can set prompts within TalentBin to remind themselves to follow up with a candidate, which removes the additional step of creating a separate calendar task.
"Successfully managing a recruiting pipeline requires organizing and tracking information on hundreds of candidates," said Luke Beseda, Lead Recruiter at Flurry. "The useful relationship management tools that TalentBin offers have helped us communicate as a team and stay coordinated, ensuring that our candidates have the best possible experience in their first interactions with Flurry."
"Many of TalentBin 2.0's new features—like templating, open and click tracking and lead scoring—have existed in sales for a decade, and we're now applying the same capabilities to recruiting," added Kazanjy. "Recruiters shouldn't lose out on viable candidates just because they didn't realize someone opened their email but never replied. We went above and beyond to make sure that this new version of the product gives recruiters a competitive edge."
To find out more, visit http://talentbin.com.
TalentBin is a pioneer and market leader in open web talent search, turning the internet into a talent sourcing database for hiring managers and recruiters to discover hard-to-find technical talent. The TalentBin platform combines a powerful people search engine with automation tools to streamline communication, pipeline management, reporting, and collaboration among recruiting teams. TalentBin has aggregated over 500 million professional profiles to date, and provides user access from anywhere as a web application or within existing Recruiting CRM, ATS, or HRIS systems through an API.
Based in San Francisco, TalentBin staff hails from VMware, eBay, and LinkedIn, and the company is funded by First Round Capital, Lightbank, New Enterprise Associates, Foundation Capital, Charles River Ventures, and Ron Conway's SV Angel. TalentBin was named an "Awesome New Technology" at the prestigious 2012 HR Tech Conference and a "Recruiting Game Changer" at HR Tech Europe's iHR Awards, and recently recognized as a "Cool Vendor Supporting Multiple Nexus Forces" by Gartner. For more, visit www.talentbin.com.
CONTACT: Jackie Lampugnano, firstname.lastname@example.org