OnStartups

Startup PR: Tips For Getting Publicity Without A PR Firm

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on August 22, 2008 in marketing 18 Comments

I came across a great article today by Jason Calacanis on the topic of PR for startups.  Jason Calacanis is founder and CEO of Mahalo, but you probably would better know him as the the guy behing Weblogs, Inc.  In any case, he’s accomplished, and knows a thing or two about getting visibility for a startup.Startup PR

I’ve always thought of myself as being really different from Jason (note: I’ve never actually met him).  He seems to be the classic extrovert and seems capable of really putting himself “out there” for his startup.  Though I don’t think of myself as lacking in passion, I just don’t have the gumption he does.

In any case, If you’re involved in a startup (particularly if you happen to be venture-backed), the article is worth the read.  However, the original article is over 4,500 words and on the off-chance that you’re lazy like me, here are some of my favorite points from the article:

1.  “My philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real.”

2.  First time I’ve ever the heard of the term ceWebrities.  clever.  With regards to these ceWebrities, “these overnight successes are 10 years in the making.”. 

3.  “Be the brand…you must be in love with your brand and inspired by your brand’s mission to have any hope of getting press.”

4.  “Be everywhere…every single night I would go out and meet folks in the internet industry…while other folks went home to their families, I went out and made a family.”

5.  “Your job is to transfer the enthusiasm you feel for your brand to everyone you meet.”

6.  “Always pick up the check — always…everyone remembers who picked up the check

7.  “Set a goal of creating deep relationships with a small number of folks as opposed to running around trying to trade business cards with as many folks as possible.”

8.  “Be a human being.  The best way to get PR is not to sell someone on your company or product — it’s by being a human being.  Journalists hate being pitched…journalists and bloggers are, in fact, humans.”

9.  “Before meeting with a journalist, it is your job (as CEO) to read their last five articles in full…”

10.  “Your job as the CEO/founder is to create direct, honest and personal relationships with journalists.”

11.  “Attach your brand to a movement.” 

12.  “PR is, by definition a reflection of what you’ve done.  When a startup hits, it’s not one thing that does it, it’s typically many things working in concer.”

I'd summarize the advice and change the 6 words of advice to:  Be amazing, be passionate, be human.  What's your 6-word version?