PR for Startups: Get Media Coverage Without Spending Money

startup pr

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Public relations (PR) is a crucial aspect of any successful business, and this is especially true for startups. PR is a critical tool for building and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, and the wider community. Exposure is essential for startups. For a brand to take off, it needs to attract the attention of customers and investors. Businesses that do not get noticed rarely survive the startup phase.


Press coverage is a great way for startups to get exposure. Landing your name in the right outlet holds the potential to reach millions of readers. In addition, press coverage also helps to boost a brand’s credibility. Whereas advertising says you have money to spend, press coverage says you have a story worth telling.


PR for startups is also a better option than advertising for startups because it costs a lot less money. In fact, getting major press coverage in a top tier publication is something that can be achieved for free.


Why is PR important for startups?

  1. Building credibility and trust: PR helps startups establish credibility and build trust with stakeholders. By sharing relevant and accurate information, startups can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and accountability, which is essential for building trust and credibility in the eyes of stakeholders.

  2. Improving brand awareness: PR helps startups reach a wider audience and build brand awareness. This is particularly important for startups, who often face challenges in gaining visibility and standing out in a crowded marketplace.

  3. Managing reputation: PR is essential for managing a startup’s reputation. By proactively sharing positive news and information about the company, startups can mitigate negative publicity and maintain a positive image in the eyes of stakeholders.

  4. Attracting investment: PR can help startups attract investment by demonstrating their commitment to growth and success. This can help startups secure funding and support from investors, which is crucial for long-term success.


Steps to Get Media Coverage for Startups:

  1. Define your target audience: Before you start reaching out to journalists, it’s essential to know who your target audience is and what media outlets they read, watch, or listen to. This will help you identify the right journalists to target and ensure that your message is being seen by the right people.

  2. Build relationships with journalists: Building relationships with journalists is key to getting media coverage. This can be done by attending events, reaching out to journalists on social media, and inviting them to your events or product launches. The more you interact with journalists, the more likely they are to be familiar with your startup and consider writing about you in the future.

  3. Create a compelling pitch: A pitch is a powerful tool for getting media coverage. It should be concise, informative, and highlight the key information about your startup. Be sure to include a clear and compelling headline, a short and informative summary, and a detailed description of your product or service.

  4. Utilize social media: Social media can be a powerful tool for getting media coverage. By sharing your press releases, updates, and news on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, you can reach a wider audience and increase your chances of getting media coverage.

  5. Offer exclusive content or access: Offering exclusive content or access to journalists can be an effective way to get media coverage. For example, you can offer a journalist an exclusive look at your product or service before it launches, or provide them with unique insights into your company’s strategy.

  6. Be timely and relevant: Timing is key when it comes to getting media coverage. If your startup has news or updates that are relevant to current events or trends, be sure to reach out to journalists quickly and take advantage of the opportunity to get media coverage.

  7. Follow up: Finally, don’t be afraid to follow up with journalists after you’ve sent your press release. A polite follow-up can help keep your startup top of mind and increase your chances of getting media coverage.


Unlocking top tier coverage requires: 

A great pitch

A pitch is a brief message that communicates to a media outlet who you are and why you deserve media coverage. The pitch can get to the reporter in a variety of ways: via email, text message, direct message on Twitter, etc. The best way to send a pitch will vary based on the outlet. The key is that it communicates clearly and succinctly that your brand has a story that people will love reading.

One of the keys to crafting a great pitch is thinking of yourself as the reporter’s assistant. Reporters often receive hundreds of pitches per day. Many of these pitches are from brands like yours looking for some free promotion from a top tier publication.

The reporter, on the other hand, is not looking for an opportunity to promote a business. He or she is looking for a great story to share that is inspirational or educational. A great assistant will help that reporter by pointing them toward a great story. Information on what your company sells or the service that it offers is not a great story. Rather, share the unique way that your company came into existence or the unique problem it is solving. Telling a reporter that you just launched a startup delivery service will probably not catch his attention. Telling him that your startup will be the first net-zero carbon delivery service in your state will definitely get his attention.


Research to find the right reporter

Getting a great story into the media is easier when you find the right reporter. You can start your search by determining what publications would be the best fit for the story you have to tell. If you are a crypto startup, explore crypto and blockchain publications. If you are a fashion brand, develop a list of top tier fashion publications.

Once you set your sights on a publication, make yourself familiar with the reporters who write for it. Determine if there is one who focuses on the type of business you offer. Find him or her on Twitter or other social media channels and begin to engage. Let them know that you appreciate the work that they are doing. If you can make a connection before you pitch, you will have a much better chance of catching their attention.

Here’s a bonus tip: If a reporter tells you they are not interested, ask them what kind of story is interesting to them. You might discover that you have that story but just did not pitch it right. Or you might learn something that will help you to craft a better pitch next time.



When most startups envision getting press coverage, they see themselves in a feature article. These focus on what the company offers and why it is superior to its competition. It could be thought of as a company brochure that a publication is willing to publish.

A feature is a great goal, but it is not the only pathway to top tier media coverage. When it comes to landing your brand in a top tier publication, any type of coverage is beneficial. Rather than strictly pitching a story about your brand, offer yourself as an expert who can comment on relevant news. Reporters who cover timely news are always looking for expert comments to include in their stories. While this may not help to get out information about your brand, it is exposure. Someone reading your quote might do a search and find your website.

Another option is offering a reporter some type of media element that can be attributed to your company. For example, an infographic that shows how interest rates affect home buyers is great for an article on real estate. Not only will it be featured in an article, but it also could become a social post for the outlet. Either way, it is more exposure for you.

Each of these steps are doable for a startup that has some passion and is willing to be persistent. Still, if you would rather not devote the time to it, there are professionals who can help. Public relations firms are experts at crafting pitches and getting them into the right hands. 


Hiring a publicist for startup

Should you choose to hire a PR firm, keep your costs low by working with a firm that guarantees media placement and that allows you to pay month-to-month. If they truly have the skills and connections, one month should be enough time for you to start getting exposure.


Picture of Nik Korba

Nik Korba

Nik has been a screenwriter, ghostwriter, novel writer, song writer, and blog writer with a degree from the University of Miami. He has prepared communications for thousands online and on social platforms, as well as being involved in the production of more than 1,000 videos.
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About Otter PR

Rated the #1 PR Firm in the US by Clutch and International Business Times, Otter PR adds a modern spin to traditional PR. As the only Tier-1 PR firm the guarantees coverage every month, and offers month-to-month service, it no wonder that companies like Alibaba, Boomers, and Bitcoin of America trust Otter PR.

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