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Trouble Promoting Your Startup? Don’t Blame Your Agency

shutterstock_137747492Here’s a must-read for anyone in tech PR: Medium writer Amy Westervelt tells struggling startups that agencies and journalists are rarely to blame for their inability to dominate headlines. One question she gets far too often:

“Can we review and edit quotes before the piece is published?”

That quote alone tells us that the solution to the “blame PR” problem is to get to know a little better what it is, exactly, that your hacks and flacks do.

Click through for some choice quotes from Westervelt’s list:

If you’re on staff and you find a cool product or company to write about, you write about it once. Maaaaybe you include it in a roundup a year later.

You can’t expect to successfully follow up on a story with an “our company fits within that trend too!” message. And if journalists don’t cover your product launch or—even better—concept, it’s not because you didn’t push hard enough.

Sometimes when I meet with a company about what they’re doing, I don’t write a story right away.

Implied: if your fidgety client doesn’t understand the value of waiting for coverage, it might be time for a sit-down.

I mean figure out what I actually write about and how, and pitch me something that fits.

That’s important for PR and clients to remember. People understandably get a little irrational when they’re paying others to promote their own “babies”, but they need to understand that not every story is going to be a keeper and that journalists have to pitch their editors for approval, too.

Oh, also: stop obsessing over print mentions, because they may look fancier but they rarely reach more readers. And stop sending generic press releases, because:

No one in the media reads press releases.

It’s true—we’re an industry blog, and we only remember press releases when they’re really bad. Sorry.

(H/T to the writer and John McCartney)

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