PR strategy exists for a reason

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PR strategy exists for a reason

Recently we got an email from an entrepreneur pitching us an interesting startup. It wasn’t by any means something disruptive or incredible but it definitely had value for the community. Sadly, he failed to understand the basic tenant of PR strategy: you can’t spam everyone.

So the story went as follows, the startup decided to went live and started reaching out to everyone that writes about tech in Europe. I got an email with the press release and they asked for some help reaching out to the same mediums they had previously pinged without me knowing it. So I did, without any warning that one of the blogs had already posted it and the other one had been notified but hadn’t answered. I got shit from both sides

PR strategy

So the entrepreneur asked me what had he done wrong. So here are some lessons about what went wrong:

  1. Brute force isn’t a strategy. Strategy is about achieving a goal while marshalling resources for their most efficient and effective use. Spamming and burning contacts isn’t efficient or effective.
  2. Know your enemies. Some blogs compete for news. Such is the case for the players of this story. That means, either you know both players and you’re very clear about who you’re reaching to, or there is going to be blood. Get to know them and how and what they write about.
  3. Be transparent when you’re asking for help. If I had known the back story I would have approach my contacts way differently.
  4. Give them time. As one of the players told me, and I’m quoting here: “It’s much easier if people give us some warning. THEN we can help.”. Most startups, either consciously or unconsciously bully the media. You can’t set the release date or time, they do. You can’t send them the info 10h before and then expect them to publish when you want. You can’t ask for help, give them no time to get ready and then be surprised that they’re pissed at you.

All in all, most of the tips are pretty straight forward. There is no magic here. People writing for the media are humans, like any entrepreneur. In the same way you can’t spam developers to join your startup, or startups to attend your conference, you can’t do that with the media either.

You can’t spam startups requesting information from them when maybe they just closed their round, it’s lame. In the same way investors or providers need to know when startups are ready, the same applies the other way around.

So please, next time you work on a PR strategy, make sure you’re not doing something that you wouldn’t like to be done to you.


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