GETTING MAJOR PR HITS...ON A STARTUP BUDGET

THE COMPANY

A B2B Software-as-a-Service Startup

THE PROBLEM

Every young company would kill to be in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur and a whole host of other popular national and local publications. But they probably don’t have an extra $8,000 per month just sitting in their back pocket to pay for an experienced PR agency. And, they likely don’t have a ready-made contact list of top-notch journalists they can just call up for exclusives.

Adding to the challenge: long gone are the days of sending out a press release and successfully reaching the right person at just the right time.

THE APPROACH

We know journalists need interesting things to write about everyday. So we created interesting content that they couldn’t help but want to share out. Here’s how we did it:

Get Our Brainstorming Hats On With a company focused on winning the employee engagement category, we came up with a host of white paper ideas spanning topics like employee retention, employee recognition and engagement trends in unique industries. Essentially, topics that we knew the press would love and that aligned 100% with what the company’s product could do.

Gather Up The Data You can’t have white papers without data, so we had to go out and get it. To keep things cheap, we leveraged the company’s internal database on employee sentiment as much as possible. When that wasn’t sufficient, we developed our own surveys and fielded them with a 3rd party online market research firm who we knew could keep costs in check.

Write It Up How do you make a white paper look different from everything else that’s out there? You make it fun to read! We married sound data and analysis with a conversational tone and style that made it easy for anyone to understand. Our white papers could be appreciated by a statistician and the average business person alike.

Begin The Pitch Once armed with compelling white papers we reached out directly to business journalists. That’s right. We pitched it ourselves. We found the right reporters at the right publications, hunted down their contact information and sent them a pitch. We knew great content could overcome any lack of rolodex or name brand.

From there, it was a matter of waiting for the great PR hits to come rolling in.

THE RESULTS

What’s a good marketing play without results? Let’s take a look….

  • PR Palooza Getting major PR hits was a major goal, and PR hits they received. The company got their name (and URL link) in publications like USA Today, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc, Fortune and Forbes as well as niche HR publications to better target their core customer.

  • Sales Team Ammunition How’s this for an added bonus? A sales team that looks like the most educated, knowledgeable consultants around. Armed with a host of data-rich white papers, the sales team could pick and choose data seemingly tailored for customer prospects. It made the sales team into subject matter experts and helped them justify the value of the company’s product to prospects.

Adding even more fuel to the marketing fire was that these white papers lived long after the initial pitches. Publications big and small alike continued to cite the reports’ data for over a year after they were first released.
 

Did You Know? A major long-term benefit of PR hits is that they make your website look way more credible to Google. When reputable publications link to your website Google gets the signal that you know what you’re talking about and starts ranking your pages higher and higher. Nothing like a little SEO love!