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Don't make these common PR mistakes

If you're an early company not getting the PR traction you want, make sure you're not making these mistakes.

Like many parts of a business, navigating PR is an art, not a science. The tech industry moves and changes at such a rapid pace, and it is important that your entire marketing, comms, and PR strategy keep up. However, there are still some foundational "rules" that every team should know. While it may seem like common sense, over the last 12 years, I find myself repeating this advice. If you're an early company not getting the PR traction you want, make sure you're not making these mistakes.

It’s not newsworthy.

If you are not getting traction or interest from reporters, make sure you have a strong news angle. Is there an official launch, announcement, or something you are speaking to that is unique and relevant to the time? Publishing proprietary data that is directly linked to a trend is often a successful way to show your expertise and inside knowledge. Think about announcing news when it has more momentum behind it, such as a product launch only once you have several big customers who are willing to go on the record or share data. Remember, what is news to your users and your community is not always news for a reporter.

Be clear about why your intended audience should care.

Don't feel you have to rely on heavy industry jargon to sound official, instead, be very clear on what your company does. Make sure to always emphasize the "why." What is the problem you are solving? What is your value proposition and how are you different? What makes your company and team uniquely suited to solve the problem/build the solution.

Really understand who you are pitching.

Emailing the wrong writers means your email will be ignored or get you blocked. Do not rely on mass emailing a media list as they quickly become outdated. Find the best fit by following reporters on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletters, and this is often the most surprising mistake...actually read their work regularly. If they cover $150M+ rounds, they will likely not cover $2M. Read, comment, share, send them thoughts. Don't only go to them when you are asking for a story. How many cold emails do you delete every day? They feel the same way.

Be concise and don't fall into the generic pitch trap.

Early in my career, we had to write generic email pitches for our team. But the intended purpose was for each person to simply use it as a guide and extract the most relevant data for the reporter they were working with. However, to this day, I continue to see hilarious emails like these posted by reporters on Twitter. To my earlier point, make sure you are concise, have the most important information at the top, and get personal. Also, I recommend using bullets for important points or data as it quickly draws the eyes in. Most importantly, do not make your pitch an ad.

Do not repeatedly "follow-up."

Long ago, I've made the mistake of "following-up" with a reporter too many times at the insistence of my client. It never resulted in the outcome we had hoped for. Reporters are on a deadline, have calendars full of meetings, and inboxes/DMs jammed with messages just like you do. If they did not respond, depending on your relationship, one brief note is all that is necessary. If they are someone who is really relevant to your industry or company, wait a while and find another way to connect with them. Some nice ways are to be sure you are posting thoughtful comments on their Twitter or under their articleswho doesn't love engagement? Next time you host an event, invite them to co-host or moderate a panel.

I would love to discuss additional ways your company can approach PR and hear your top tips for successful campaigns, feel free to reach me at caitlin@emcap.com.

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