Digital PR

Digital PR For Tech Startups | 5 Proven Tips For Founders And Marketers

Orian Tal September 12th, 2021

Developing a proper PR strategy for startups is a mission that’s often overlooked.

As a tech startup marketer, I’ve seen numerous brilliant products fail only because of not having a carefully planned digital PR strategy.

It’s hard to drive leads and sales when people don’t know about your product or when you don’t proactively build a positive brand image around your business.

A carefully designed PR strategy helps your startup gain early momentum, find backers, and persuade users to sign-up.

Here’s how you can build a digital PR strategy for your tech startup.

PR Strategy For Tech Startups – The Building Blocks Explained

Digital PR for tech startups has the same goal as conventional PR for regular businesses:

  • Build a positive reputation
  • Spread word of mouth
  • Generate sales

However, the building blocks of a digital PR strategy are significantly different.

There are so many startups and SaaS products emerging in all industries. That’s why your brand needs to stand out to capture the attention of popular journalists, media platforms, and common users.

Here are several proven tips to help you do that.

Tip #1: Craft a Unique Brand Story

A powerful and persuasive digital PR strategy starts with a compelling brand story. To properly do PR in the age of startups, your company cannot make headlines purely on its features and functionality.

It needs to have a context to its story that resonates with its target audience. It needs to emotionally motivate them to use your product.

Superhuman, one of the fastest-growing email services, is an excellent example of how to cut through the noise and claim your market share in a saturated industry using a great story.

Superhuman branded itself as the solution to the biggest problem of an average email user – speed and clutter. Its story resonated with busy entrepreneurs and professionals who had no choice but to labor through their email inbox every day to find important emails.

This made Superhuman a newsworthy product and helped the brand gain priceless media coverage in some of the biggest tech publications.

For example, this Forbes article featured detailed quotes by Superhuman CEO about email fatigue.

Since Superhuman is all about making email more productive, their CEO was a natural choice for insights on this topic.

Here’s another example of its coverage in Business Insider.

And here’s an article covering Superhuman in The New York Times.

All of these PR hits go to show that if startups find a compelling brand story, they open a lot of doors to increasing their brand awareness and authority.

So how do you build a compelling brand story? You need to identify a major pain point of your target audience and find a unique angle to connect your product with it.

If you need help doing that, feel free to pick our brains.

Tip #2: Know Your Digital PR Starting Point 

To determine your digital PR strategy goals, you first need to understand where your brand’s online reputation currently stands.

There are a couple of ways of looking at it.

What comes up when you search Google for your brand name or your founders? Do you have any existing brand assets like a website, landing page, social media profiles, or a founder’s LinkedIn profile ranking on Google’s first page?

If not, you need to start from scratch and secure your brand name first.

Because in this scenario, your brand doesn’t exist online. Even if someone hears about it through word of mouth, they won’t be able to find it through Google Search.

The other angle to consider is how much media coverage your brand currently has.

Do you have enough media mentions, interviews, backlinks, or guest posts, to create an “As Seen On” or “Featured In” section on your site’s homepage?

Having these fancy brand logos on your site won’t open floodgates of users to your product. But they’ll make you look more credible to anyone who visits your site and make it easier for you to convert them into leads.

This is digital PR 101 stuff, but it’s crucial for your brand’s reputation. Once you have these things in place, you can aim for bigger PR goals.

Tip #3: Identify Relevant Journalists, Publishers, And Media Outlets

“If you build it, they’ll come” sounds like great advice in a utopia. But in the real world, you have to go out there and spread the word about your brand no matter how good it is.

Because if you don’t, no one would know it even exists.

The best way to start building digital PR assets for your tech startup? Find relevant journalists and publications who can help your brand reach wider audiences through articles, blog posts, news stories, and other editorially approved content.

Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Search for the top blogs and websites in your niche on Google Search. For example, if your SaaS is a social media marketing tool, search for “Facebook advertising tips,” “Twitter marketing strategy,” etc.
  • Use HARO, a platform that connects journalists looking with content creators. Different journalists post their niche-specific questions on HARO that you can answer. In return, your answer gets featured in their article/blog post along with a brand mention/backlink.
  • Help A B2B Writer is another service that connects B2B SaaS bloggers with marketers and experts looking for brand mentions and backlinks. Register for free as a source to get email requests like this one.
  • Search for the top journalists and content creators in your niche on Twitter.

This is an ongoing process. You’ll need to invest several hours every month to build connections with the right content creators and publications in your niche.

What’s the benefit? Your PR pitches have a much higher chance of getting accepted when a journalist already knows you.

Don’t Rely Solely On Wire Services In Your Startup PR Strategy

When attempting to do PR, many startups are under the misconception that writing a press release and submitting it to a wire service is the only way to spread the news about their startup.

That’s not true.

You can also draft a concise, accurate pitch depicting your story and send it to journalists you already know.

This dramatically increases your chances of widening your exposure and securing powerful, organic, high-authority digital PR assets on publications such as TechCrunch, VentureBeat etc.

Since we built our PR agency more than a decade ago, you can also leverage our existing network of journalists instead of building one from scratch.

Tip #4: Write Concise, Relevant Email Pitches to Journalists

Knowing the right journalists and publications isn’t enough.

You also need to actively reach out with newsworthy content pitches and story angles to get featured in their articles and stories.

It could be an original research report you’ve published or a customer success story with extraordinary results.

You could also tie in your product with an event or trend and show how consumers use it differently.

Zoom’s exponential growth during COVID-19 is a great example.

Some of the world’s biggest publications covered Zoom and how it simplified communication during the pandemic.

Similarly, Trello and many other SaaS companies also used this angle to gain valuable PR.

But riding on extraordinary global events isn’t the only way to get a journalist’s attention.

You only need to align your product with the topics a publication or a content creator covers to get on their radar.

For example, suppose a site regularly covers topics like freelancing and entrepreneurship. In that case, you can pitch a story on how your document management SaaS helps freelancers and digital nomads work more efficiently.

If the angle is persuasive enough, you can get featured in their stories. 

Like this article on Entrepreneur.com that shares how Grammarly helps freelance writers.

Most of the time, you don’t even need a dedicated article for your brand like the example above. Instead, you can simply pitch your product to an already published and indexed list post.

For example, if you’re marketing a project management tool, this list article is an ideal target to pitch your product.

In short, if you reach out with an angle that helps in making a content creator’s piece more valuable, you’ll get a positive response more often than not.

If you want to learn more about this topic specifically, we wrote an entire guide on how to write a pitch that will help your startup stand out from the rest.

Tip #5: Invest In SEO And Content Marketing For Long-Term PR Gains

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just about getting traffic to your site. It’s a crucial building block of your long-term digital PR strategy.

If you invest in SEO you can ensure that your product shows up on all your key brand searches. Similarly, identify the most common questions of your target audience and create high-quality content to answer them comprehensively.

This would help you dominate the relevant long-tail keywords and build your authority as a credible source of knowledge in your niche.

Ahrefs is an excellent example of this strategy. Because of their product lead content marketing approach, they dominate some of the most high-traffic keywords in the SEO and internet marketing niche. 

For instance, they’re ranking in the top three results for a high traffic keyword “how to rank for featured snippet”

As a result, it was picked up by several leading publications including Techcrunch.

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This approach won’t yield immediate results, but if you silently build your content library and SEO strength for at least a year, you’ll start seeing visible and sustainable growth in your online reputation and website traffic.

Ready To Build A Digital PR Strategy For Your Tech Startup?

Gaining traction as a new tech startup is challenging in today’s highly competitive market. However, with the right digital PR approach, you can connect with the right media influencers and create newsworthy content that earns you valuable PR in some of the highest authority sites in your niche.

If you need help developing a PR strategy for your startup, take a look at the PR services we have to offer, and contact us for a free consultation call.