The public relations process is an ongoing conversation between your startup, journalists and your customers.
On this episode of the podcast we speak with Flatiron Communications founder Peter Himler, a 35-year veteran of public relations and marketing, who works with startups in New York City. Himler contributes to Forbes, publishes on his on own blog, The Flack, and is president of the Publicity Club of New York.
“Startups don’t realize they’re sitting on stories,” Himler says. Startups get their big announcement published in TechCrunch, or other coveted media outlets, and then they often because they didn’t think ahead to how to keep the momentum going, he says.
It’s the job of the PR professional to help startups find the most provocative and engaging elements of their story that will keep their company in the public eye after their initial splash.
Himler shares with us his most successful strategies for pitching stories to the media, surveying the entire media landscape for additional story opportunities, and how
Paid owned and earned media (P.O.E.M.)
We also discuss how the media has changed over time, and what has remained the same over the years. One important opportunity for startups is the emergence of hybrid “paid, owned and earned media.”
Traditional PR was about pitching story ideas to journalists in the hope of landing a big writeup. Startups and small businesses have the ability to submit articles to publications, which is “earned” and “owned” because they still have to supply the content. Native advertising is an emerging opportunity, where businesses pay for content that is consistent with the types of stories that regularly appear in the publication’s mix, and often are written by staff journalists.
Public relations tools for startups
Peter also shares some of the most useful tools for startups and public relations professionals to thrive in today’s media landscape.
Muckrack Pro allows you to build targeted media lists based on beats, and to see what journalists are tweeting. Twitter is a great way to “cut the line,” and get journalists attention that is underutilized. While everyone uses email to pitch, not as many people are communicating through Twitter.
Tout is an email template and email tracking software originally designed for salespeople. Tout allows you to create one email, and send it to multiple recipients with custom fields that are auto-filled with a journalist’s name. Tout also allows you to easily track who has opened your email, or clicked on links. Peter says that a handy trick for using Tout is to write a new headline and resend the same email to a journalist who hasn’t read your original email.
GroupHi is another tool that allows you to group bloggers and influencers by subject. I’m unfamiliar with it, but if you have experience, I’d love to know what you think.
If you have questions for Peter you can reach him on Twitter: @PeterHimler
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