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Startup guide to PR: How to find your story

Startup guide to PR: How to find your story

31st March 2017 by Tessa Bryant

In the last post of our ‘Startup guide to PR’ series, we talked about drafting a press release and how to pitch it to journalists. This time we will be looking into what the type of content forms an interesting narrative can be and how to find your story.

Getting news coverage about raising capital is no longer as simple as pushing out a story about an equity crowdfunding round. Alternative finance is no longer niche, and consequently the press are well versed about the sector. You can see business after business raising money on equity crowdfunding platforms, so with this no longer a stand-out announcement, the way to land engaging coverage is to focus on a different angle. If you’re not raising any money at the moment, the same tips apply: the best way to get coverage is to curate interesting narrative around your brand and its story.

Finding a narrative to frame your story is key to catching a journalist’s attention. You can have the most interesting business in the world, but what makes for a good read is the background narrative about the founders, other key team members and the company’s journey so far. All these things frame the business’s success in context: The founder used to work in X industry which led him to believe that Y was needed in Z market’ or perhaps ‘Key team member Joe Bloggs has a history of building startups and leading them to great things: he was the COO at the helm of X, Y, and Z’.

Your backstory is key. As founders, you have such interesting stories to tell already. The tricky part is that it is your job to ensure you shout about it. Without a PR person or an agency, nobody will know about you and your brilliant journey unless you speak up yourself. The key is to not be too humble; if you’ve had success before, or have done something out of the ordinary, then talk about it. This is because it validates why your current startup, though maybe only a fledgling, can go on to do great things and achieve meaningful success with you leading the way. Naturally, there’s an art to balance being humbling enough to warm yourself to the national newspapers and their journalists, but being bolshy enough to reach out, tell your story and chase them if you get no reply. Journalists get a great deal of emails whizzing through their inboxes on a daily basis, if yours has been missed, there is no harm in drawing attention to it a couple of days later.

Finding this narrative can be quite difficult. Something that you might think isn’t interesting at all, might well be a headline to someone else. Use your family, friends and other people that operate in the space as sounding boards, they can give you their honest opinion on what they think jumps out as interesting and what doesn’t. Here are some examples of key points that can help you define your narrative:

  • Inspiring, positive stories of businesses overcoming stumbling blocks and adversity: what have you had to overcome to get to where you are?
  • A problem you encountered that you decided to solve head on: by creating the solution!
  • What you did before this startup: ex-UN Lawyer turned coconut seller, ex-VC turned beauty brand entrepreneur, mum of four turned kitchen table entrepreneur, depressed city boy turned social enterprise entrepreneur…you get the gist!
  • Why is your brand unique, exciting, innovative, data driven etc.? What is happening right now that makes your company relevant?
  • Any past achievements by key team members that are either directly related to the sector or space you are now operating in, or, have taught certain skills that can be used to scale the startup they’ve moved onto.
  • Stories that have a social enterprise element and are not entirely self-serving can help form your story as well

This post only covers the basics of finding your story. We want to help businesses spread their message, so we have put together a series of monthly workshops called “Disruptive Startups Hijack UK News Agenda” where we discuss topics around PR for your business.

At these events, we share key tips to maximising awareness of your startup with a special guest appearance from a different leading national journalist who will share first-hand advice on successful press engagement. Keep your eyes peeled for details of our next event!

If you want to learn more about PR for your business check out the rest of our Startup guide to PR series here.

Tessa Bryant

Tessa Bryant

Digital Agency Kent