Tools of PR for Startups

The tools of PR for startups out there in the marketplace are many and varied and it can be hard to know what’s essential and what’s a distraction.

In this blog, we’ll look at the ten most important tools of PR for startups in the tech space looking to build their business by getting press visibility.

None of them have to be expensive.

Even if you’ve secured your Series A funding, you should think twice about paying a pricey PR agency thousands a month on retainer to take your public relations problem out of your hands.

You’re a tech founder with an exciting startup.

Who in the world is more invested in your service and your business than you?

Sure — you have a thousand and one important things to focus on. Growing your business is surely one of them. And for startups, PR is a fantastic way of growing interest, demand and revenue by creating a buzz around what you’re doing👍.

Tools of PR for startups: start here
Tools of PR for startups: start here

The Top Ten Tools of PR for Startups

  1. A Great Story to Tell
  2. A Plan to Get It Out There
  3. A Targeted List of Publications
  4. A Targeted List of Journalists
  5. A Media Kit
  6. A High-Quality Website and Social Media Footprint
  7. Sparkling, Structured Writing
  8. The Know-How to Place Stories
  9. Press Release Distribution
  10. Media Monitoring

Now, let’s look at each one of these tools in turn.

Tools of PR for Startups #1: A Great Story to Tell

Tools of PR for startups: without a great story your campaign will never fly
Tools of PR for startups: without a great story your campaign will never fly

Try to build a PR campaign without a story that will catch journalists’ eyes and make them excited about your startup and all the tools and hard work in the world will never make it fly!

  1. Your product — it does something new or does something in a new way
  2. Your business — ditto!
  3. You, the founder — your story and how you ended up here

Then there are five things that influence the likelihood of a journalist covering your story:

  1. Timing — There needs to be a reason to bring your story to an audience now. That might be because you’re launching a product now, but can you tie it in with other trends and events that will make your launch resonate with a wider audience?
  2. Significance — Why should the public care? How does your news affect them? If you can tell the journalists why your story matters to their readers, they’ll pay more attention.
  3. Proximity — If your startup story is tied to a particular city or place, think about how it affects that location.
  4. Prominence — If you’re famous, what you have to say is more likely to get listened to. If not, it’s a harder sell.
  5. Human Interest — Emotion, triumph, tragedy, comedy… All these things can give the X-factor that turns yet another business story into gold.

So, don’t start your PR campaign until you’ve got a great story to tell or you’ll be wasting your time.

Tools of PR for Startups #2: A Plan to Get It Out There

  1. What your goals are — WHO you want to say WHAT about you and WHERE
  2. What your budget is — how much time and money you will dedicate to that
  3. How success will be measured — clarity on evaluating the results

Then you must decide what PR activity will accomplish that. A press release sent out to a wide pool of journalists? Or an exclusive directed to a contact you’ve been cultivating for a long time? An interview? A product demonstration? A white paper?

How will you follow contacts up? Do you have a response plan in place if your story goes viral or if it backfires and the coverage ends up negative? Are you ready to engage with readers on social media?

There are plenty of examples of successful “guerrilla PR” campaigns when a clever stunt — publicized in advance to the right people — has caused a stir that a press release alone could never achieve.

PR stunts
PR stunts

Tools of PR for Startups #3: A Targeted List of Publications

An essential tool for your startup PR activity is a comprehensive, tiered list of all the publications that you would like to be covered in — from the global tech press down to really niche individual blogs.

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You shouldn’t limit your outreach to the big publishers only or to a selected few.

And even if they do, your story just not make the cut compared to everything else they’ve been offered. Or it might not work around their deadlines for copy.

Your chances of a press release being picked up from cold outreach to any given publication are slim, even when it tells a great story 😢. So, maximize your chances by widening your reach.

There are lots of services out there providing databases of publications and their contact details, categorized by interest and coverage areas.

Some are very expensive because they come with fully-integrated suites of monitoring tools or because they boast global coverage.

Other, niche providers like Pressfarm can be much more reasonably-priced because they focus solely on the technology sector and don’t force you to pay for all the extras.

Check out our pricing here.

Tools of PR for Startups #4: A Targeted List of Journalists

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So, just as you need a list of target publications, you need a list of target journalists, bloggers, and influencers.

TOP TIP: Don’t forget, some of the top writers in tech are freelance. They’re not on the staff of any particular publication but take their stories around from outlet to outlet.

Freelance journalists are always on the lookout for something new and unusual to pitch to editors!

Names and contact lists can often be found on publications’ websites, but collecting enough to get a few hits with your outreach is very time-consuming. And just because someone has one article bylined to them doesn’t mean that’s their usual beat or a topic they’re interested in.

You can save yourself a lot of time and rejections by investing in a database of journalists, bloggers, and influencers that allows you to drill down into their specific specialties and target them on an individual level👍.

Pressfarm’s journalist database has up-to-date contact and biographical details for more than 50,000 working journalists.

Tools of PR for Startups #5: A Media Kit

A media kit is a preprepared set of assets for journalists to use when featuring your company or product.

It saves them time and effort in putting together their articles, and it ensures you have some control over how you appear. It should include:

  • High-resolution vector images of your logos and company name, suitable for print and online use
  • Bespoke photographs of yourself and other key people who may be featured in the copy
  • Background information on your services, history, finances, etc
  • Contact details for press
  • Testimonials, free samples or trial log-ins
  • Anything else that will be useful for the journalist covering your startup or that will make it more memorable

You can attach this to your media releases when you distribute them, or you can host them on your website in a Pressroom area for download👍. Media kits are relatively simple to create: services like Canva have loads of templates for a low price.

Tools of PR for Startups #6: A High-Quality Website and Social Media Footprint

  • Make sure your website looks professional and is up to date
  • Blog regularly to show your expertise
  • Engage with your social media followers — don’t just use it as a broadcast channel
Don't ignore social media in your PR plan
Don't ignore social media in your PR plan

Business reputations can be won and lost on social media by how you respond to complaints, problems, and criticism.

So remember to ensure that your entire online presence is consistent with your brand image before you start reaching out — or else the story that gets into the press could be different from the one you intended! 😱

Tools of PR for Startups #7: Sparkling, Structured Writing

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Whatever. They want the content you supply them with to be well-written and clearly structured so that the lead is obvious, the relevance is apparent and there is enough material available to craft something interesting.

The easier you make it for your release to be incorporated into a journalist’s copy, the more likely they are to use it.

  • Write an opening paragraph that effectively explains what the story is
  • Provide quotations from key people
  • Provide stats and numbers
  • Be witty, clear and above all concise

It’s worth spending some money on professional press release writing services like those offered by Pressfarm to get the tone just right.

Tools of PR for Startups #8: The Know-How to Place Stories

  • Network with them at events
  • Share information and tips, even if there’s nothing in it directly for you
  • Engage with them on social media and comment on their posts

TOP TIP: journalists and bloggers on lower tiers of the media pyramid are always looking to get coverage in the bigger outlets.

They can be invaluable agents for you in getting noticed by the big players through their own promotional work.

Tools of PR for Startups #9: Press Release Distribution

Tools of PR for startups: press release distributors
Tools of PR for startups: press release distributors

It’s important to choose the right distributors for your news because these services vary widely in price and reach.

Tools of PR for Startups #10: Media Monitoring

So that’s our top ten tools of PR for startups!

We’ve shown how you can do everything the big PR agencies do yourself, at a fraction of the price when you’ve got a great story to tell.

If you want to find out more, get in touch with Pressfarm today!

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