Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair and serial violator of the ‘don’t be a d**k’ rule of PR.
We’ve collected PR advice for startups from some of tech’s leading founders and thinkers, covering everything from being true to your brand to…..not being a d**k. With a combined net worth of over £10bn, there’s weight to this wisdom.
*we’ve **starred** the sources which link to particularly amazing PR advice for startups, our top picks are from Facebook’s Caryn Marooney and Upfront Venture’s Mark Suster
Doug Monro, Co-Founder at Adzuna
On being true to your brand:
“Focus on stories that are right for your brand. The stories we release about national trends in vacancies – stories that only we have the data to provide – help to position us as an authority on the UK job market.”
Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures
On helping journalists:
“I’ve always been a big believer that relationships with journalists are a long-term investment. You need to deposit in their bank first. Get to know them when you don’t have a story that is running. Offer to help them with stories they’re working on. Be willing to go on the record with quotes / sound bites.”
“If you’re helpful to journalists they are far more likely to want to cover you when you have news to share. It’s that simple.”
Alexandra Chong, founder of Lulu
On knowing why you want PR:
“Press is great for many things, but it’s primarily really helpful in giving you that first push, with investors, recruiting, customer awareness… People always ask how we got such great PR, and I feel like asking back: Why do you want PR? You have to know your reasons, and what you need — otherwise it’s not really helpful.”
Dave McClure, Founding Partner of 500 Startups
On the limitations of the tech press:
“Techcrunch don’t pay the rent”
Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator
On thinking a PR blitz will magic up growth:
“Mediocre founders focus on big PR launches to answer their growth prayers.”
Cathy White, Head of Communications for Tech City UK
On not being a phallus:
“Don’t be a dick- that is the single most important thing I can tell you if you want to PR your startup. Impressions count, and someone who is a “dick” will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.”
Glenn Kelman, CEO at Redfin
On ignoring the agencies:
“When you need help, hire a person, not an agency. The three best questions to ask when interviewing a publicist are “Who are your favourite writers in journalism?” Why are they your favourites?”—so you can find someone who actually cares about the craft of journalism—and “What is an example of a feature story that you’ve pitched?”—so you can find someone excited about ideas”
Kevin Rose, CEO at Hodinkee
“Really get to know the reporters and customers who matter to your company. Start an ongoing conversation (not a sales pitch), show them demos”
Caryn Marooney, VP Technology Communications for Facebook
On keeping it simple:
“Take your messaging and edit it down. Get it to its essence. What is the one line you want people to remember? You only get one”
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group
On making a fool of yourself:
“I’ve been thinking up fun ways to stand out from the crowd and draw the media’s attention to our company ever since [starting], from breaking world records to pulling pranks.”
Enjoyed our PR advice for startups?
Some of the above have visited Runway East. You could too.
Special thanks to Casey Bunda, who did the heavy lifting on this article.