Tag Archives: Austin PR agency

When should you start a PR campaign?

PR is about timing, preparation & persistence.

PR is about timing, preparation & persistence.

There’s no right or wrong answer about when to start a PR campaign.

Actually, there’s definitely a wrong time. It’s after something newsworthy happens, something important for your brand with a degree of popular appeal or relevance to a trending topic, and you are two weeks late in getting the news to the local or national media and don’t have any timely pictures or video to share. When that happens, what you typically hear from most reporters and editors is “geez, I wish you had called us the day it happened or given us some prior notice.” Then all you hear are crickets, because you just blew it.

So when should you start a PR campaign? Is there a point in time in the build up to a big event or announcement when you should bring on outside PR help?

A lot depends upon the nature of the news itself (hard or soft), as well as what kind of media (print, TV, online) you want to pitch.

Soft News:

Soft news concerns itself with less urgent matters related to the community at large. Say, for example, you are small retailer in your hometown and you are opening up a 3rd store. You are planning a grand opening and ribbon cutting and have invited the mayor and town council to attend. In this case, your news is tied to an event and because it involves some VIPs like the mayor and is about a local business doing well and expanding then there’s a good chance it will be of interest to a local reporter.

Hard News:

If, however, there is an urgent news story about, say heavy rains and flooding Main Street, and it turns out your business was impacted by the flooding, then the media will be on the lookout for interviews with local business owners. Your chance for media coverage is immediate and requires prompt action.

Media Lead-Time:

When you should start a PR campaign also depends upon the kind of media you are targeting. If you own a specialty hearing aid store, then you would be smart to go after TV and print news rather than online media as many retirees tend to spend more time watching day-time TV and reading the newspaper compared to millennials.

Each media outlet, however, has its own lead-time when it comes to accepting suggested story pitches. Here are a few examples:

TV News: TV news is still a wonderful way to get your business or nonprofit noticed by thousands of viewers looking for what’s going on in the community. The lead-time it takes to pitch your story to a TV news reporter is typically not longer than a week, possibly even just a few days, as many TV stations don’t know what they will cover until each morning’s news meeting. [Radio is similar to TV.]

Newspaper: if it’s a daily newspaper, then plan on a lead-time of one to three weeks depending upon whether your news is tied to an actual event like a product launch or just an evergreen story that is tied to an annually reoccurring event like Spring Break, Labor Day or Halloween. If you want to be included in a list of tips like “Spring Cleaning Tips” or “Where to Plant a Tree on Arbor Day” then it pays to contact a reporter one to two months in advance depending upon how big the holiday is on the calendar – Christmas being the 900 lb. gorilla of holidays.

Blogs: blogs can be very nimble and turn out content fast, especially ones like Mashable and TechCrunch. But some smaller blogs are not as well staffed and may take longer. A typical lead-time on a submitted news pitch could be anywhere from 48 hours to two weeks. Best to err on the side of caution and at least give yourself a week.

Magazines: the bigger and glossier they are, the longer it takes to get published. I once heard of People Magazine taking over a year to publish a story. Now that’s an extreme case, to be sure, and there were some odd events surrounding it but what is true is that magazines source content for upcoming editions as far out as 4-5 months. If you have a nifty educational toy for tots and want to be included in a list of suggested Christmas gifts, then you would have to start pitching in June or July. If it’s a local magazine, the lead-time may be less, but not by much. Bottom-line: allow yourself a three-month margin when pitching local glossies.

Final Answer:

When considering how soon to start a PR campaign, you should clearly identify your target audience, where it resides and what media outlets serve it. Also, decide whether you will pitch locally, nationally, or a mix of both.

I always encourage my clients to start one month in advance of a major announcement or event to allow enough time for media research, message design and media outreach. After all, it can take several weeks to get an email answered by, or land a coveted phone call with, a busy reporter. Why, I just got off the phone with a business reporter in Dallas after three weeks of emails and voicemails. PR isn’t called “earned media” for nothing!

Moral of the story? Start early, don’t expect immediate results, and keep plugging away.

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded Manzer Communications, an Austin PR & content marketing agency for startups and fast-growth businesses in 2009. He specializes in highly integrated PR & inbound marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. If you have any PR questions about your startup or small biz, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)manzercommunications.com.

When to hire a PR agency

Uncle SamHiring the right PR agency to lead your communications initiative – both internal and external – can lead to many wonderful outcomes for a business. From more brand awareness and increased website traffic to more motivated employees and industry accolades, PR promotes the best of what a company represents and inspires others to rally to the brand.

Hiring a PR agency at the wrong time, however, can result in in a catastrophic failure amounting to lost money, wasted time and disillusionment in PR’s ability to grow a business and its brand capital.

So let’s just say it pays to know when the optimal time is to hire a PR agency. With that in mind, I have listed some scenarios below that could justify talking with, if not actually hiring, a PR agency.

Startup funding: I work extensively with startups in technology and consumer and very often a funding event occurs early on to help them scale rapidly. One of the best ways to reach a mass audience and motivate early adopters is through ongoing PR.

Ready, set, pitch: anytime a business launches, there is potential for media interest. Even small businesses — yogurt shops, pet groomers, cross fit gyms — can get covered in hyper-local media outlets.

Physical expansion: if you are a retail store expanding to more locations or a healthcare company like a dermatology clinic adding a new location and doctors to the practice then you should share the good news with local media outlets. A PR agency can refine your message, herd the media to your doorstep and keep you in the spotlight.

Merger or acquisition: when a company enters into a merger or decides to acquire another company then in all likelihood it has achieved a margin of success that deserves ongoing media outreach. The messaging around mergers and acquisitions needs to be managed so that the positives get emphasized while the possible negatives get put into proper perspective. The last thing you want is the media focused only on possible lay-offs or office shutdowns.

Best of best: if your company strives for quality and wants a reputation as a leader in the industry then PR can help immensely. By reaching out to key media outlets –- for example, influential restaurant blogs and magazines if you are an up-and-coming restaurateur –- you can improve your chances of getting into the “Best of” or “Top 10” lists that people pay so much attention to these days. How else do you think a relatively unknown barbecue pitmaster like Austin’s Aaron Franklin, founder of Franklin Barbecue, became an overnight sensation leading to a kind of rock-star status, appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel Live, a show on PBS, a successful cook book? To be the best of the best you have to do a little shake-and-bake with the media, and PR is your instrument of choice.

Rapid growth: your company has enjoyed rapid growth and all signs point to ongoing economic success in the form of hiring, investments and profitability. Now is the time to double-down on your overall marketing strategy with a PR campaign aimed at solidifying your reputation. Failing to do that means you give your competition dibs on snagging the glory and owning customer mindshare. In no business book I’ve ever read does it say to lose the battle of public opinion to your rival.

Million-dollar baby: there really isn’t a good line in the economic sand to determine the best time to hire a PR agency. I have seen companies earning less that $400 thousand annually pursue a robust PR initiative as part of a calculated strategy to grow revenue and market share. Generally speaking, however, if your company earns north of $1 million annually, then you can probably afford to spend some of your marketing budget on PR as part of an overall growth strategy.

Workforce effectiveness: another key objective of PR is to help with internal communications. When you have a workforce in excess of 250 then you are probably inching toward a critical mass that requires you to communicate with employees on a variety of topics: training, safety, hiring, benefits, productivity tips, etc. A PR agency can help you immensely by formalizing your communications with thoughtful, well-composed content. Need to lower workplace injuries, increase sales performance, locate more talent? PR can help with that!

Competitors: if your competition is eating your lunch in the media then it may be time to steal their lunch money with a PR strategy of your own. PR is often viewed as a branding exercise, and it does serve to promote a brand, but keep in mind that when consumers research their purchases, they often dip into their recent memories about brands that made a favorable impression. PR excels at winning hearts-and-minds, whipping up passion, and planting semi-conscious cravings in far less time and for much less money than most advertising or marketing campaigns.

Titanic: when something bad happens that impacts the general public, and media catches wind, you could easily have a reputation meltdown if you don’t take immediate and decisive action. PR agencies help companies navigate the dangerous waters of a crisis, help you keep from sinking under an ocean of media scrutiny and salvage your reputation with as little long-term damage as possible. Some agencies and PR consultants specialize in crisis communications, while others offer it as part of their overall strategy. Typically, crisis communications will cost more simply because it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation requiring around-the-clock reputation monitoring in all forms of media — print, TV, social, radio, digital.

These and many more scenarios justify using some of your hard-earned resources in a sustained PR initiative designed to grow your business, seed the market and generally dominate media buzz in a given industry or market.

Got some ideas worth sharing? Please feel free to tweet back at us at @PRoverCoffee or leave a comment below or on Facebook.

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded Manzer Communications, an Austin PR & content marketing agency for startups and fast-growth businesses in 2009. He specializes in highly integrated PR & inbound marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. If you have any PR questions about your startup or small biz, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)manzercommunications.com.

When to use a Media Alert?


With all that is written about PR and the media these days, one surprisingly effective PR communication device rarely gets attention: media alerts.

Part of the reason for the lack of attention is because press releases have grown in popularity as an SEO (search engine optimization) tool for companies seeking to improve their search engine rankings.

Media alerts truly are virtuous for their single-minded focus. They exist to inform media outlets of an organization’s plan to hold an event:

  • Press conferences
  • Demos at a tradeshows
  • Award ceremonies
  • Grand openings of entertainment venues like water parks, music halls, or theaters
  • Annual fundraisers benefitting charities like Susan G. Komen or Salvation Army

The format of a media alert is extremely formulaic – much more than a press release – and is limited to communicating the what, where, when, why & how of the event. In fact, the layout of a media alert should literally show each of those items in bold with a brief explanation indented to the right.

Not unlike this:

Media Alert
August 10, 2014

Fun Kart Lanes to Hold VIP & Media Day in Advance of Grand Opening

What:​ Fun Kart Lanes is holding a VIP & Media Day before its official grand opening on August 10. Media professionals and select guests will be able to get behind the wheel of a professional kart and live the dream of being an Indy driver while racing around Fun Kart Lanes’ half-mile winding track.

Who: We expect several community leaders to attend our VIP & Media Day including Mayor Dianne Sawyer, Congressman Samuel L. Jackson, State Senator George Lopez and Chamber of Commerce president Rick Grimes.

When: 12:00 – 4:00 PM Saturday, August 10

Where: 1001 Speedway Boulevard, Anytown

Why: Fun Kart Lanes gives a real-life feeling of what it’s like to be a professional driver in the IndyCar series in a safe, controlled kart. Fun Kart Lanes will also offer driving lessons for young, aspiring drivers with dreams to break into the IndyCar world.

How: Media are invited to experience and cover the exclusive event and are encouraged to arrive up to one hour in advance in order to set up equipment, arrange interview times with Fun kart Lanes Founder & CEO, Tom Brady, and take pictures of the karts.

Media Contact:
Serena Williams
(123) 456-7890

Some media alerts may start with an introductory paragraph or two then segue into the who, what, where, when… Some also drop the ‘how’ and keep it limited to the 5-w’s.

No matter what you decide works best for your organization, media alerts are a powerful PR tool when used for the right event call-to-actions.

Want to share how a media alert helped your organization grab some great publicity? Share your ideas below!

About Dave Manzer:  Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave directly about the PR over Coffee blog, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

What should tech startups pay for PR?

Check_writingOne thing many tech startups struggle with is how much to pay a PR agency in order to get valuable mentions in the news media.

Regardless of whether a tech startup receives millions in seed funding or is bootstrapped, the same conundrum arises when it comes time to select a PR agency to go after TechCrunch, VentureBeat and Mashable.

If you hire the big-name PR agency from San Francisco or NYC, what should you expect to pay for all the bells and whistles? Or, what will you pay if you hire a small local firm or an indie consultant? The options are nearly limitless, in part because what a PR agency can do to help promote a tech startup to the media (and world of social media) is constantly evolving.

To help make sense of the many options, here are some quick-and-dirty estimates you would normally expect to pay for PR:

Bootstrappers: $1,500 – 3,000 / month

  • If you are a tech startup in the classic bootstrapped, lean startup model, then you probably don’t have much cash on-hand for marketing and PR. That said, you still need to get the word out in order to inform the world about your new technology breakthrough. Honestly, PR is better suited than most other marketing activities at creating interest in your startup so you should be prepared to invest more up front to spark as much interest as possible.
  • Project duration: 3-6 months to get you rapid exposure and customer awareness for a possible future Angel round.
  • Media placement potential: local business news media, as well as national trades, with a long-shot attempt at TechCrunch.

Angel-backed startups: $3,000 – 7,500 / month

  • If you scored a round of seed funding in the low 7-figure range, then you obviously have more budget to pursue an aggressive PR campaign. You can (and should) combine your PR campaign with other marketing activities such as paid social media campaigns, SEO, and regular email marketing.
  • Project duration: 6 – 12 months to gain strategic market advantage and compete against other startups for a larger VC-backed investment.
  • Media placement potential: local business news media; tech blogs like TechCrunch or VentureBeat; national trades; possibly a pick-up or two in general business news outlet like Inc. or CNNMoney depending upon your target market.

VC-backed startups: $7,500 – 25,000 / month

  • Getting a VC round is tantamount to winning the funding lottery. Just because you snagged $5 – 25 million in funding, however, doesn’t mean you should overpay for PR. That said, don’t make the mistake and under invest either. You should be prepared to run a sophisticated, multi-layered marketing and PR plan. You will need your PR firm to be professional enough to be the first line of defense for any media inquiries. Your PR plan will probably need to target multiple demographics and therefore require different messaging and lots of interview logistics, so part of what you pay your PR firm will be in the form of capable project management.
  • Project duration: 12 months minimum to gain dominant market position, possibly as the first-to-market.
  • Media placement potential: local business news media; tech blogs like TechCrunch, Mashable and VentureBeat; national trades; likely pick-ups in general business news outlet like Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNNMoney and more.

Some PR firms even go so far as to work on a blended retainer / pay-for-performance PR basis, which can work well for bootstrapped tech startups or ones with seed funding of around $1-2 million. Be sure you understand the bonus structure for the pay-for-performance piece of compensation because you don’t want to find yourself owing more than you can afford.

Do you have any thoughts on how much to pay for PR? Have you overpaid and gotten lousy results? Did you score some great media coverage on a dime?

Let us know!

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer is one of the only agencies in the country specializing in technology, healthcare and energy PR to provide blended performance-based pricing. To contact Dave directly, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

How to (safely) use SEO in press releases

new-google-search-home-page6Let’s talk about the mystery machine taking over the way the world does business (heck the way the world does life.) Raise your hand if you immediately knew I was referring to Google!

Google recently changed their link schemes document, aka the way their search algorithm ranks content online. This means they have gotten smarter (yes, it’s possible) about the content they are displaying, and the newest update on their policy points specifically to press releases.

Here’s the bad news: Google can now tell when your press release is stuffed with key words or hyperlinks to increase your search results; therefore they will penalize your release by placing it lower in the search results. Not to worry! The key to circumventing this issue is, in its simplest form, creating quality content in your press release that highlights your service or product in the natural way you would write. See, that was simple!

A key you must know about Google’s new policy is that they will penalize people who excessively use anchor text to link to content through press releases, especially those distributed on wire services like Business Wire or News Wire, as well as online press release distribution websites like PRWeb.com.

“Creating links for the sole purpose of SEO on a press release is unnatural. Links should be placed on a press release to enhance the user experience, add information and be relevant to the content,” claims Google. Using anchor text to hyperlink to your website is not out of the question but you now need to limit links to ones that truly serve the nature of the content that you are writing about.

Please, don’t hear this as a reason to get scared about writing press releases. As PR professionals, this actually provides us more freedom to do what we are meant to do – tell relevant stories about clients that are educational and engaging – without  without having to worry about robot algorithms and getting the keyword recipe right. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure that your press release (aka your relevant, juicy, quality information) gets in the right hands through the Google search engine.

  • Press Release SEO Tip 1: Google and readers are looking for quality information so keep your content lean, get to the facts and don’t stuff it with unnatural words or writing for the sake of “searchability.” This information will likely be shared more and the more often your content (and links) are shared, the more value Google will give to your links and website.
  • Press Release SEO Tip 2: Add a ‘nofollow’ tag to anchor text link, so that Google will not give any SEO value to that particular link. The link will still be a functioning link to your content, but this is a way to avoid the negative fallback of including anchor text. A wire service like Business Wire will automatically do this for you, so you don’t have to learn anything about HTML coding.
  • Press Release SEO Tip 3: Limit the links you use to ones that truly add and serve your content: a good rule to follow is 3-5 links per release, or about one link for every 100 words.
  • Press Release SEO Tip 4: Anchor text is not completely out of the question! Some suggested anchor texts that are safe to use are: company/client name, social media handles, or event names.
  • Press Release SEO Tip 5: One time is enough: don’t worry about linking to the same site multiple times in your release.
  • Press Release SEO Tip 6: Consider adding multimedia such as video and pictures to your press release to dramatically increase the likelihood of it getting looked at and readers staying engaged with what you are talking about.

Don’t let this information scare you into thinking you have to revolutionize the way you write press releases. Focus on quality, honest content that isn’t chock full of anchor text and hyperlinks and your release will be well accepted by readers, reputable reporters AND Google.  The pressure is off to impress the machine and the pressure is on to impress readers through your valuable messaging.

Happy writing, PR pros!

This blog post was inspired by a previous guest blog post by Erika Shuckie of BusinessWire regarding the same topic that can be viewed here.

About Theresa Grillo: Theresa Grillo is a PR associate with Dave Manzer PR and Marketing, which was founded as a tech PR firm in Austin for tech startups in 2009. Theresa specializes in helping startups and emerging growth technology and consumer companies with their communication and media outreach needs. For more information about Theresa or PR over Coffee, email us at info(@)PRoverCoffee.com or tweet to @PROverCoffee.

When should a startup hire a PR agency?

It’s not always easy for startups to know when to hire a PR agency. Because startups are, well, just starting, they don’t have the cash flow that more established companies have in order to pursue a robust PR strategy.

Still, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, PR is one the single best investments you can make in getting the word out about your new business to a wide (and motivated!) audience.

So, regardless of whether you’re a startup in tech, food or services, you should be ready to fire up the PR machine to get the buzz going.

To help you know when it’s time to hire a PR agency, here are some hints about what kinds of events and milestones that normally indicate you are ready for prime-time:

PR Agency Tip: Patents. If you are a tech startup and have been granted a patent, then that is a great time to reach out to local and national trade media outlets. But don’t wait long to announce the patent – news is of interest only if it’s fresh!

PR Agency Tip: Funding. Some startups get an initial round of funding from Angel investors, also known as a Series A Round (click for PR tips on a startup Series A). A Series A is often a startup’s best shot at getting media mentions in local and national news outlets. Depending upon the funding amount, a tech firm could get picked up in tech blogs like TechCrunch or VentureBeat. But the amount has to be sizable – in excess of 7-figures – or it won’t impress the ‘all-star’ tech bloggers who regularly announce $10M capital raises. A PR agency will help line up interviews but enough time must be allotted to help the agency coordinate with the bloggers’ calendars.

PR Agency Tip: Real Estate. If you’re a bar, restaurant, or even a cross-fit gym, real estate is part of your startup. Whenever you negotiate a lease for your new location, be sure to let your PR person work up an announcement to share with the local news media. Real estate is still a big deal for media outlets because it’s their job to report on what’s new in the community.

PR Agency Tip: New Hires. Communities care about jobs. Depending upon the size of your community, hiring 5-10 new staff could be a big deal. If you’re in a large city like Houston or Chicago, then that number would need to be closer to 50-100, which is admittedly not an easy task for most startups but is still worth keeping in mind. If you are hiring, then a PR person should be working with your marketing team to leverage the hiring announcement and tie it to your broader business message.

PR Agency Tip: Product or Service Launch. Not all startups have a product or service to launch at first. When that time comes, however, be sure to have a PR agency on board to help you prepare for the announcement. A press release would be good to have, plus a media kit consisting of executive bios, company fact sheet and media Q&A – these are a minimum requirement for a successful product or service launch. You might also consider some media training for your company C-Suite so they are ready to go in front of the news cameras; when the camera is running, some people tend to get tongue-tied.

PR Agency Tip: Trade Show. Some startups decide to attend tradeshows in order to get directly in front of customers in hopes of generating leads and new revenue. Don’t forget to address the other side of the trade-show coin – media outlets! Plenty of trade pubs and bloggers regularly attend industry trade shows in order to find out what’s new and interesting in the industry they cover. That’s a perfect opportunity for a PR agency to a) determine which media are planning to attend, b) arrange face-to-face discussions with select media and c) maximize the exposure you receive in the industry media with pre and post-event media coordination. Allow a PR agency a good month to prepare for the event as it takes time to engage with the media and book time for face-to-face meetings.

PR Agency Tip: Awards & Accomplishments. Some startups win awards from recognized industry media. Think Paul Qui winning Top Chef on Bravo TV and all the accolades he won that eventually led to his startup – Qui Austin. Or consider the case of Thomas Brown, a homebuilder and realtor who appeared on Season 2 of Brother Vs. Brother (a spin-off of the wildly popular Property Brothers show on HGTV). Thomas was interviewed on Austin’s local ABC affiliate KVUE News the day of his first appearance on Brother Vs. Brother. He also received numerous mentions in local media outlets ranging from a business journal to a popular daily cultural blog called Culturemap Austin. Moral of the story? Work closely with your PR resource and start early enough to maximize the buzz!

Startups have plenty of opportunities to share with media outlets. The trick is working with the right PR resource early enough in the process of launching in order to create a smart, coordinated PR strategy that accomplishes your growth goals – both in brand awareness and revenue.

Got any questions about hiring a PR agency? Feel free to share them below or reach out to me at info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009 as one of the only PR agencies in the country to provide performance-based PR pricing. In 2010, Dave launched PR over Coffee to provide small business PR advice so that entrepreneurs and startups could practice “DIY” PR and promote themselves directly to media outlets. For more information about Dave or PR over Coffee, email info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.

6 Tech PR Tips for a Startup’s Series A Round Announcement

Congratulations, you’re a tech startup about to receive your Series A round! Now what to do about gaining media attention? It’s well known that a Series A may generate a bit of media buzz from industry reports, blogs and business press but there are huge gains that can be made if you allocate additional resources towards PR to make the most of your announcement. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors and get the most bang for your buck in terms of media attention upon launching, then follow these six tech PR tips.

Tech PR Tip 1: Decide how much you want to spend.

The choices available to firms when it comes to PR can often be overwhelming and not worth the work. It may be easier to choose a large agency in Silicon Valley or NYC, but be aware that you will be spending around $10,000 / month for quantity over quality, perception over substance. Sure, they may promise a highly experienced PR professional will work your account but there’s a reasonable chance that you will have a pretty “green” staffer doing most of the work. There are many options you should consider before signing on a major PR agency ranging from independent contractors to boutique PR firms staffed by highly experienced PR pros. Some smaller, local PR firms may charge a reasonable amount for services and are often well connected with the media you need to get in front of. Some independent PR consultants work on-demand at a fairly affordable hourly rate. There are even some PR firms who offer pay-for-performance pricing that blends lower up-front retainers with bonuses tied to actual media results. Whichever way you go, you should keep your options open and not assume that the highest priced agency equates to the best service and, more importantly, the best media results for your startup.

Tech PR Tip 2: Start early.

If you are announcing your Series A while your Series B is about to start, then you’re too late. Our advice is to get ready to plan your Series A announcement two months in advance in order to get the maximum buzz from tech blogs, industry publications and even local media outlets. Be sure to pick one influential tech blog like TechCrunch, VentureBeat or Gigaom and promise it the “exclusive” right to be the first to announce your Series A before all the others jump on the news. It will endear you to the blogger and make him or her look good in the eyes of the blog’s editors. Bottom-line, there are a lot of moving parts to a PR campaign so starting early will give your PR firm a better shot at maximizing the media impact of your launch.

Tech PR Tip 3. Pick an appropriate message design.

There are two main approaches when it comes to deciding on how to position your startup and Series A investment in the media. The first is focusing on the transaction itself. With this approach, you will provide information on the financial aspects of the investment including the amount raised and investor names. You should stick to facts about the investment but also make sure to include back-story on the creation of the technology including how it was inspired and what you plan to do with the money. Also make sure to include a link back to the company website.

The second approach is focusing on the technology. This message could include detailed points about the app or technology itself, the problem it solves, the targeted demographic, the number of downloads there have been (if it’s an app), whether any patents are involved, plus any interesting back-story on the founders (past startups or employers). Again, make sure to include a link to your website and/or a link for an app download.

Tech PR Tip 4: Create a lean and mean media list.

This point focuses on who you want to reach out to as you search for the right kinds of publicity. Does your technology reach a multitude of cities and demographics worldwide? Is it a service-based technology only available in few select cities like a grocery-delivery startup? These questions are important to ask when choosing the media publications you pitch to. No need to purchase an expensive media list. That’s like trying to kill a fly with an elephant gun. A little up-front research will reveal which blogs (and bloggers) and publications are covering your industry the most. Instead of blasting out your announcement to 100s of journalists, it’s far better to have between 10 to 25 solid leads and spend more time selling your story to them.

Tech PR Tip 5: More key words are NOT always better.

When it comes to press releases, companies are tempted to beef them up with key words in order to maximize search engine optimization (SEO). With recent changes made to Google’s search engine algorithm, this approach could actually harm you. Google has gotten keen to SEO practitioners who stuff press releases with key words to goose search rankings. Google will now penalize you if it feels your content is full of key words and embedded links rather than meaningful content. Our suggestion is to have no more than 2 -3% of a press release’s total word count dedicated to 1-2 key or “buzz” words. At the end of the day, getting highly reputable media outlets to “talk” about you and provide back-links is far more impactful on your search rankings and brand visibility than cheap SEO parlor tricks.

Tech PR Tip 6: Distribute smart.

Using the wire can be a very useful way to get your release into the hands of thought leaders and major trade publications. Our suggestion is to strongly consider using the wire if there is over $1 million in your Series A. Distributing your press release on PRWeb is good for SEO purposes but it’s not an actual wire service. A wire service like Business Wire or PR Newswire will let you target tech pubs, industry blogs and trade magazines. The cost of a wire distribution is not cheap and generally starts at $600 if you’re hoping to do a tech-focused release. Since you are announcing your Series A round of funding, there will probably be more interest in the wire than a standard product launch or upgrade.

There are undoubtedly more tech PR tips out there; heck, we’re even remembering a couple right now like be persistent (but not pesky!) when pitching a national tech blogger in advance of your Series A announcement and making sure to bend over backwards when lining up interviews with startup founders and major investors.

What other PR tips would you give tech startups? Let us know in the comments section below or by tweeting PR over Coffee at @PRoverCoffee.

About Theresa Grillo: Theresa Grillo is a PR associate with Dave Manzer PR and Marketing, which was founded as a PR firm in Austin for tech startups in 2009 and as one of the only PR firms in the country providing performance-based PR pricing options. Theresa specializes in helping startups and emerging growth technology and consumer companies with their communication and media outreach needs. For more information about Theresa or PR over Coffee, email us at info(@)PRoverCoffee.com.

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