NYC Publicist Shares Startup PR Tips For New Founders
By: Carli Evilsizer | August 6, 2019
Almost every new founder day dreams of the day their startup will get featured in a great news outlet. But as many new founders quickly realize, public relations is hard work! With so many startups launching everyday, journalists can be bombarded with pitch emails and some startups will never receive the type of PR coverage they dreamt about.
So how should a new founder approach public relations for their startup? We chatted with NYC publicist, Jenna Guarneri for a few tips! Jenna is the founder of JMG PR and has worked with many startups over the years such as Republic, FREY, Bubble, Hemster, buzzn and many more. Keep reading to learn how PR works, common PR myths, how to find the right PR agency for your startup. Jenna also shares her top tips new founders should keep in mind when creating a PR strategy for their startup.
WHAT SHOULD NEW STARTUP FOUNDERS KNOW ABOUT PUBLIC RELATIONS?
As a creative soul with the sheer desire to be constantly in the know, Jenna was fascinated by the allure New York City had to offer from a young age. Being a native New Yorker in the heart of the media world, Jenna worked non-stop to break into the industry that so perfectly united her talents. Having worked on top-named accounts at a luxury public relations agency, Jenna transitioned over to a boutique firm to specialize in personal public relations for the lifestyle and entertainment industries. It was here that Jenna found her true calling. “I love helping my clients design a pathway to their dreams. It is a beautiful thing to watch their careers blossom and to be apart of the ride is an experience I am eternally grateful for.” Having an a-ha moment in 2015, Jenna launched JMG Public Relations in New York City.
1. How Does PR Work?
Often times when we work with early-stage startups, we find that PR is commonly misconstrued for marketing. In marketing, you would work directly with publications to purchase advertisements in print, digital, and/or social media outlets.
On the other hand, public relations requires you and/or your brand to work with a publicist as a third-party messenger. Simply put, a publicist will pitch stories about your product and/or services to qualifying media outlets. Then, when an editor/producer features your story in a media outlet it is a truly unbiased opinion for the reader/viewer.
Marketing is the opposite. The reader/viewer knows the company is paying for that ad space, so from their perspective, it is a biased opinion which can seem less credible than when an editor is talking about your brand.
2. Common PR Myths Debunked
A common misconception we often hear is when startups think that hiring a publicist will guarantee them a feature story within a top-media outlet and by tomorrow. But PR is a long-term strategy and that’s why pitching stories takes time. There are many factors involved when securing a media placement and unfortunately media is not guaranteed simply because you hired a publicist.
As publicists, we are constantly pitching stories, developing news hooks and strategizing about how to best approach an editor/producer with a story. This aids their decision to engage, draws interest in the brand and eventually they will commit to a story.
It’s also important to know that more often than not, editors and producers already have a list of stories they are assigned to. This means as publicists we have to work with their schedule, understand what fits into what they are already working on and work together to find a time for them to cover a story.
New founders should also understand that working with media outlets requires daily engagement and consistent follow-ups which is one of the benefits of hiring a publicist.
3. Finding the Right Agency
The number one thing for a startup founder to consider when hiring a PR agency is whether or not you feel a connection to the people you would be working with. Generally, hiring a PR agency is going to be 6 to 12-month commitment.
You will want to be certain that the team you decide to bring on, is one you enjoy working with, one who understands your vision and believes in your startup. In any relationship, whether its business or personal, you usually know when the synergy is right.
4. Creating Your PR Strategy
When beginning any PR strategy, you want to evaluate what newsworthy events are happening within your company. Perhaps your product or service is so unique that it hasn’t been heard of before, or maybe you’ve recently launched new product. Maybe you even a big announcement you want to make. All of these events can be story angles you can use when drafting your PR strategy.
For startups I work with, I like to make sure they are aware of the fact that sometimes an announcement that is important to your company might not always be deemed “big” enough for a media outlet to cover. It’s important for startups to understand that media outlets receive tons of emails about announcements, launches, ideas, etc, so it’s important to be strategic when considering what is newsworthy about your startup.
Another key part of a startup PR strategy is utilizing the founders and positioning them in the media as expert voices. This opens up the amount of pitching topics and can strengthen the amount of media coverage you will receive.
Thanks Jenna for sharing your public relations tips for new startups! Founders; remember to be strategic when considering what is newsworthy about your startup and that PR is a long-term strategy.