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PR Strategy_ How I Took a Startup From Anonymity to 740 Million Impressions in One Year-2.png

Today I'm going to show you how you can go from little known to industry icon in one year.

YOU can do this even if your company is a startup — as long as you have a viable product or service. And I'm sure you wouldn't be in business if you didn't.

And you can do this if you’re an established company. In fact, it can make your job easier.

If you’re serious about putting your company on the map, you need to be very methodical in how you create and execute your PR strategy.

Otherwise you’re taking the “spray-and-pray” approach, bombarding media with information and hoping someone bites. 

Well I’m going to share a PR storytelling technique that almost guarantees you get high quality press for your company.

It has 5 foolproof steps that if followed will explode your company's brand.

Keep reading to learn how….

 

 

How to Use The StoryPress Technique to Take a Company From Anonymity to 740 Million Impressions

Here's a brief case study to illustrate what I mean. It's a powerful tool for PR for startups as well as established companies.

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  • Within a year, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Venture Beat, The Courant, Technically Brooklyn, Finance Yahoo, Mobile Marketer, and Inside Mobile Apps wrote about it.
  •  In a little over a year, the company was cited as a best Android App by Google.
  •  In its first year, the company raised $1.5. million.
  •  In its first year, its platform was used in 174 countries in 80 languages and generated 740 million impressions.

The cool part?

You can do the same thing for your business… without a big marketing budget, connections with media, or a brand name. You don't need to embrace all PR trends and PR strategies. You do need to follow one PR strategy: The StoryPress Technique.

 

 

The StoryPress Technique has 5 key steps_1. Step #1. Develop a hook that turns ho hum facts into an irresistible story2. Step #2. Give journalists everything they need to make a story come alive3. Step #3. Pick the r-2.png

  

Download the 5 Key Steps as a pdf 

 

Here’s why this PR strategy works so well.

Have you ever read a book or watched a TV show that you couldn’t stop thinking about? The story was so compelling you were glued to your seat.

What you’re doing here is finding a story so enticing that your target media outlets have no choice but to write about it. Who would turn down a powerful story that’s relevant to the outlet’s readers?

Suddenly, you have a story the media you care about want to hear.

Now: The StoryPress Strategy is one of many PR strategies we use to get our clients visibility, credibility and leads. But it’s a powerful one. I reveal the others in my 90-day Proof-Of-Concept program.

 


 

 

book glasses.jpgStep 1: Develop a hook that turns ho hum facts into irresistible PR storytelling

 

Harrison Monarth.jpegLife happens in the narratives we tell one another... Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act. To do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.

--Harrison Monarth, author, The Confident Speaker

 

Let's face it. Most stories on the face of it are compelling to the story teller but not necessarily to others. However, nothing beats a powerful story in grabbing us. That is why PR storytelling is one of the powerful PR trends.

Your first step is to take your everyday story and make it remarkable and relatable. ClickNoBack.png

 

Here’s how you elevate your story:

Find a description or phase that frames your story.

The company, lettrs, has a platform and application that allows people to publicly share letters.

We centered lettrs’ story around Reinventing the Concept of Old-Fashioned Letter Writing for the Digital Age. 

Positioning the company that way let us pull some emotional strings since letters (at least for the media) are fraught with feeling.

We knew we did something right….

Our message was perfectly enunciated in the headline of a story for the Wall Street Journal: “Sending Letters in The Digital Age.” As did this headline from Mashable: “Lettrs Brings Snail Mail Back to the Future:

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 11.07.31 AM.png

Here is another example.

For the movement solutions company, Accuride ® International, which recently launched an electronic locking system, Senseon (™) Secure Access, we created a story about The Smart Alternative to Traditional Locks and Keys.

Our PR storytelling exploited the fact that the traditional lock and key was more than a hundred year’s old and ripe for reinvention.

If you can take an ordinary story and dress it up with some emotion, you’ve got a winner. 

For example, with Senseon, we talked about all the problems associated with locks and keys, including lost keys and keys that don’t work.

Have you ever tried to open the door to your house and the key broke? Or you’ve come home only to find you left your key inside and you’re locked out?

We’ve all been there.

And what you’re doing here is finding the message that connects with media…and with prospects. That makes it something people want to hear and talk about. 

Instead of being self-promotional, gushing about how great what you’re doing is, you’re recasting your product or service’s benefits as an engaging story.

Instead of reciting a boring list of features, you’re incorporating them into a defining story.

The writer E.F. Forrester brilliantly distinguished between dull facts and a story.

This is Forrester’s example of the facts: 

“The king died and then the queen died.”

This is how Forrester described a story: 

“The king died and then the queen died because of grief.” 

The second adds emotion and power and pulls on our heart strings a little. 

And that’s what you need to do in your PR strategies. 

 

 

Julia McCoy.jpg"In the world of content marketing (and PR), the worst thing you can be is boring"

-- Julia McCoy, CEO, Express Writers

 

Another way to make your story come alive is to exploit a hot news topic, especially if you can offer a contrarian opinion.ClickNoBack.png

We did that for our client, sales intelligence company, DiscoverOrg. 

We piggybacked on the popular movie and book of the time: The Wolf of Wall Street. 

While the accepted viewpoint was that the actual Wolf of Wall Street was an unredeemable cad, we showed a positive side. That the scoundrel was a master cold caller. 

Since DiscoverOrg’s intelligence warms up cold calling, we tied that into the Wolf of Wall Street story.

The result? A byline in Forbes that was viewed over 43,000 times.

Important Note: I recommend that you spend some time brainstorming your story. Don’t take the first idea that pops in your head. Keep at it till you have the very best story possible.


 

book alive.jpg

Step 2: Give journalists and bloggers everything they need to make a story come alive

Your next step is to make it as easy as possible for a journalist or blogger to tell your story.

With all the newsroom cutbacks, journalists may be the busiest people on the planet. 

Journalists are bombarded by pitches and need a reason to tell YOUR story rather than the zillions of others they could tell. Here are some things to make that happen:

How To Get Journalists to Write About Your Company
  •  Give free access to your product or service.
  •  Provide photos, an infographic, or a video that make your story come alive.
  •  Share a fact sheet with statistics and other meaty information.
  •  Provide a ready-to-publish summary of your story.
  •  Offer customers for interviews.
  •  Provide outside third party experts for interviews, such as an academic or influencer.
  •  Offer story ideas for a guest post to outlets that take them. We find that offering three topics works best. It’s harder to turn     down three, than one.

 

The Pitch

Here is an actual pitch note we used to launch an Indian-based jobs assessment company that was entering the United States.

It uses four key selling points.

  1. The Attention Grabber: Get them interested
  2. The Hook: The reason to care
  3. Credibility: Persuasion 
  4. Easy: Everything a reporter needs

(Let’s mark this up) ATTENTION GRABBER (arrow to world’s largest) _ Heads Up_ World’s Largest Job Assessment Company Launches in USI am giving you a heads up that Aspiring Minds, the creator of the world’s largest em-2.png

Click image above to download as a pdf 

 

The Results

As a result of that pitch, we secured:

 

  • Briefings with The Wall Street Journal and InformationWeek
  • Byline article published in Fast Company
  • Interviews with Staffing Industry Review
  • Byline opportunities with:
    • Inside Higher Ed
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education
    • HR.com
    • Research in Higher Education
    • EdTech Digest
    • Ere.net

 

Important Note: Don’t just pitch once and be done with it. It often takes more than one email to get the media interested. We recommend emailing at least twice (the 2nd time with some additional information). You can also reach out on Twitter.


 

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Step 3: Reach the Right Media

 

Marian Salzman.jpgReports of the death of media relations are greatly exaggerated. It needs some tweaking, but it’s still a valuable part of a communications tool kit

--Marian Salzman, Chairman, Global Collective and CEO, North America, Havas PR at Havas Worldwide

 

An important part of the StoryPress technique is getting the right media in your camp. 

Just as you target prospects, so too do you target media outletsClickNoBack.png

Weed out the ones that don’t make sense to contact. 

For example, it would have been folly for lettrs, if we reached out to reporters covering foreign affairs or business. Instead, as part of our PR strategy, we contacted reporters writing about applications and doing technology feature stories. We also contacted any reporters who had written about letter writing. 

 

How do you find the right media?

There are media databases like Cision that PR professionals use. If you don’t have access to that, there are other ways to find the right media. Here are some PR tactics to try:

 

  • Check who has written about your competitors. The same people may be interested in covering your company especially if you have a novel angle.
  • See who has written about complementary companies. For example, if you have a sales database company, determine what coverage companies in the sales consulting space have achieved. 
  • Research your topic on Google to see who has written about it.
  • Check relevant hashtags on social media
  • Check associations in your industry that may curate articles

Check who has written about your competitors. The same people may be interested in covering your company especially if you have a novel angle.See who has written about complementary companies. For example, if you hav-3.png

Click image above to download as a pdf 

Now, you may be thinking, “Why should a reporter pay attention to me?” But remember, it’s about your story, not YOU. 

Having a compelling story is more important than having a relationship with a reporter. Having both though is awesome. ClickNoBack.png

 

But even the chummiest reporter won’t run a story just because he’s friends with you. It has to offer news value.

Work on making your story the very best it can be. All that hard word will pay off for you. 

Once you find the right media, reach out to reporters with a pitch note as we did with the Aspiring Minds example above. Most reporters prefer email. Don’t try to be cute in your email but just share the facts. 

Give reporters advance notice of your story, especially if it’s a noteworthy one.  

If you plan to issue a press release announcing your news, reach out to reporters first. 

We recommend at least 1 1/2 weeks before your formal announcement. 

That gives reporters a sense of exclusivity — you’re letting them have first dibs on it before officially announcing it. It also gives them a chance to vet your story, and if you’re releasing a new product or service, to try it out. And it provides time for an editor to approve the story. 


PRESS CONFERENCE.jpg 

 

Step 4: Coach Your Spokesperson

You can do everything right up to this point and still get no press. 

A poor spokesperson who can’t articulate your story to the media will kill any chances you had of getting coverageClickNoBack.png

Your spokesperson needs to be a master at PR storytelling, someone who can crisply and succinctly state your key messages, while wrapping them into a unified story.

Here are ways to ensure your spokesperson does just that:

Begin with the messages you want conveyed

We often tell our clients to visualize their ideal headline and first paragraph. Those become your key points. 

To ensure these stay top of mind, write down your perfect headline and three or four key points you want to make. 

For lettrs, the ideal headline was its reinventing letters for the digital age. 

Key messages included: 

  • Lettrs gives you all the joy and pleasure of a hand-written letter using digital means. 
  • Write beautiful digital letters to anyone in the world and publish, share, and save your letters for posterity.

 

Use memorable, easy-to-understand language

Eliminate all jargon. Use words and sentence structures that make your story easy to follow. Don’t lose someone in long, tangled sentences.

Pack a punch with your language. Use word pictures that make a story come alive.

For lettrs, we talked about turning an iPhone into a mobile writing desk and post office wherever you are.

For Senseon, we talked about locks and keys being over a hundred years old and antiquated for today’s security needs.

 

Anchor your messages with stories, stats and soundbitesClickNoBack.png

 

  • A brief customer case study is an excellent way to enliven your facts and enhance your message. 
  • Make your stats memorable. You’ll often hear journalists refer to something as the equivalent of a football field or some other image you can visualize. Do the same thing.
  • Use soundbites. These are phrases that stand out and are memorable. Politicians often are masters of this. Think “Yes, we can,” or “Make America Great Again.” 

Steve Jobs understood the importance of soundbites. 

When he introduced the iPod he captured its essence in just a few words: “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

When he launched the first iPad, he called it “Holding the Internet in your hands.”

 

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

 

A successful interview is all about preparation. 

As Steve Jobs once said, “It’s not easy. You have to work darn hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” 

  • Anticipate questions and plan your responses. Ask for interview questions in advance. Most reporters will provide some idea of the thrust of their questions, if not the actual questions. 
  • Research the reporter’s work so you can casually refer to it in the interview.

Has the reporter interviewed someone at your company before — or a competitor? What type of stories does he write? How does she write about your industry? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you anticipate the slant of the interview. 

  • If this is a first-time interview, don’t assume the reporter is familiar with your business. Offer to provide a brief overview to set the stage for your discussion. 

 

You have more control over an interview than you might think. 

Good politicians use that fact to their advantage, steering questions back to their key points. You can do the same thing. 

If a question is asked that moves the topic away from your message, gently steer it back by using bridging phrases such as, “As I was saying,” or “I think what’s key here,” or “This brings me back to my earlier point.”

 man interested.jpg

Don’t bury the lead… and repeat.

Start with the most important information first. Otherwise, it may get lost in the interview — or the reporter may lose interest. Expand on your key points throughout the interview. 

 

Repeat your key points. 

Martin Luther King repeated the phrase “I have a dream” at least eight times in his famous speech to end racism delivered at the March in Washington in 1963. 

A study from Microsoft confirms that you need to repeat a message 6 to 20 times before you achieve your desired result. I don’t suggest repeating your message 20 times in an interview (that will only annoy the interviewer) but do so at least 3 times in different ways. 

End an interview by going full circle, repeating the key points you want the reporter to remember. Set the stage for future interviews by letting the reporter know that you expect to have more news about something you discussed, or a related topic, in the future. 

 

Important Note: I recommend that you do a practice interview. That will ensure you smooth out any bumps. And it will help you steer the actual interview. 

Which is really important when you interview….


 

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Step 5. Create Measurable Assets

 

Giles Peddy.jpg"The increasing recognition of the strategic value of communications in the boardroom has seen measurement become more important."

-- Giles Peddy, Group Managing Director, LEWIS

82% of marketers report they have no way to evaluate the return they receive from their PR strategies, according to a survey by phone.

What’s the hitch?

Unlike its sibling marketing, PR efforts can be difficult to track because they often are intangible and deliver results over time. For example, say you publish an article and someone gives it to a friend to read. A year later the friend calls. How do you track that?

Yet, all is not lost.

Thanks to the web, the value PR delivers is increasing along with more ways to measure it. PR today can impact awareness, web traffic, search engine ranking, referrals, leads, and sales. Hence measurement has become one of the top PR trends you need to embrace.

While PR measurements may never be as rigorous as financials, they can be quantified by measuring the following:Hello.png

 

  • Awareness: The number of people that saw your earned media
  • Share of voice: The portion of the overall press in your industry you received
  • Sentiment analysis: The extent of your press that’s positive and hits on your message
  • Qualified web traffic: Number of referrals from earned media
  • Search rank: Boosts in search rank from earned media mentions
  • Target terms and hashtags: Use of target keywords and hashtags on social media
  • Leads: Number of downloads, registrations or form requests via earned media
  • Sales: The number of leads PR brings in that are converted to sales

Ensure you can measure the results of your PR tactics. We typically have our clients create an asset, such as a landing page or infographic, especially for a launch initiative, so they can measure downloads from a media campaign.


 

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you can see the power of The StoryPress Technique. 

Using the StoryPress Technique, we took a startup from Anonymity to the Wall Street Journal, Time, Mashable and other major media — producing a media bonanza of top tier stories.

No, it’s not simple and requires hard work. But with this approach, you know your efforts will pay off unlike wasting reporters’ time with self-promotional, boring content. 

So ready to get started?

To make it easy, click the link below and get the PDF StoryPress Technique Checklist 

From Anonymity to 740m Impressions in Just One Year - the B2B PR Storypress Technique. 

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