PR ON THE GO October 15, 2023

12 Essential Tips for Your Startup's First Official Press Release

As you embark on crafting your startup's first official press release, we've gathered twelve pieces of advice from seasoned PR Managers and Founders. From understanding the importance of crafting a compelling UVP to evoking human connection with quotes, this expert panel provides a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this crucial task.

  • Highlight a Significant Milestone
  • Check It For Useful Information
  • Craft a Compelling UVP
  • Evaluate the Newsworthiness of Information
  • Keep It Sharp and Straightforward
  • Pitch Your Story, Not a Release
  • Target Effectively and Provide Social Proof
  • Take the Time to Ensure Press Release Success
  • Start Strong and Include Visuals
  • Focus On the Narrative and Conciseness
  • Plan a Timing and Distribution Strategy
  • Evoke Human Connection With Quotes

1) Highlight a Significant Milestone

Emily Reynolds-Bergh, R Public Relations

"For your first press release, ensure the copy is newsworthy, not overly promotional. Highlight a significant milestone, product launch, or partnership that offers value to readers. Craft a compelling headline and include key details early in the release. Don’t forget to introduce your brand to new readers! Personalize your pitches to relevant journalists or publications, then follow up politely but persistently, and be prepared to provide additional information and photos when requested. Building relationships with media professionals is vital for long-term PR success."

2) Check It For Useful Information

Julia Voloshchenko, Usetech

"Answer a few questions for yourself:

1) Will this press release be of interest to a wide audience?

2) Does it contain useful information?

3) Is it not overloaded with data?

4) Is the headline of your press release informative and attention-grabbing enough?

The press release should be no longer than 1-1.5 pages and should contain company information and contact information at the end."

3) Craft a Compelling UVP

Daniela Sliva, Casino Guru

"A valuable piece of advice for someone planning their startup's first official press release is to focus on crafting an interesting and clear Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Drawing from extensive experience working with startups, a well-defined UVP can make all the difference in capturing media attention and engaging your target audience.

The UVP should succinctly convey what sets the startup apart from the competition and why the product or service is a game-changer. It should address the pain points of the target customers and highlight the benefits they can expect from the solution. Emphasizing the impact and real-world results the startup has achieved, if applicable, is crucial.

Leading with a strong UVP not only grabs the attention of journalists but also provides a reason for potential customers and investors to take notice. This approach has proven effective in many startup press releases."

PR ON THE GO Media Lists: Carefully curated journalist contacts and verified email addresses.

4) Evaluate the Newsworthiness of Information

Yuliia Antoniuk, Jooble

"When planning the startup's first press release, evaluating the newsworthiness of the information you intend to share with the public is crucial. What kind of information is newsworthy? For instance, focus on introducing a groundbreaking product using the latest technology that addresses user problems faster than competitors, or highlight securing substantial investments.

Provide value to both journalists and readers by incorporating compelling numbers, facts, and statistics. Give an honest reason why someone beyond your company should pay attention to your story and craft your release accordingly. A press release should address these fundamental questions: who, what, when, and why.

Enhance it with an engaging quote from the founder or CEO, visuals of your product/service, infographics, links to your website, and contact information for journalists seeking further details. Remember the golden rule that one press release should equate to one captivating news story."

5) Keep It Sharp and Straightforward

Bastien Rambert, Click&Boat

"Keep it sharp and straight to the point, with the key information (could this be the answer to how this launch is a game-changer?) and side information.

There's always the urge to add as much detail as possible, but complicating a subject that's clear from the outset is counterproductive, given that the interested journalist is bound to ask for further details and to speak to a spokesperson.

The pitch must be very clear to everyone, from the journalist who receives it to an outsider who has never heard of the service in question."

6) Pitch Your Story, Not a Release

Ebony Bowden, Eden Communications

"I encourage my clients to stay away from press releases entirely. The era of the press release is over. If you're a relatively unknown start-up, no one is going to pay attention to you.

You'll have more success if you create a killer pitch based on your company's story or the issue your start-up is trying to solve, and then offer it as an exclusive to a reporter who covers that beat.

Not only will you build a relationship with that reporter, which will be useful in the future, but you'll create a feeling of scarcity; something that always piques a reporter's attention. Keep pitching it one-on-one to outlets you want to be in until you receive a yes.

It can be slow going at first, but this is a much better approach than a poorly targeted "spray and pray" method, which will yield zero press coverage."

7) Target Effectively and Provide Social Proof

Kate Derkach, Alty

"As the PR Manager of Alty IT, I'd like to share these tips for planning your startup's press release:

1) Target the Right Audience: Customize your press release to align with their interests and writing style.

2) Incorporate Data and Quotes: Back your claims with data, statistics, or user testimonials. Quotes from your startup's leaders or experts will add credibility and a personal touch to your press release."

8) Take the Time to Ensure Press Release Success

Tori Bell, PR With Tori

"I always advise clients to consider if the press release will be notable. If it won't appeal to the masses or your target audience, then you need to rethink. Often, start-ups believe they need to announce they are here, so to speak.

However, distributing a generic press release will generate little interest. Either wait until you have a newsworthy story or create one. Using data sets to spark interest in your startup typically results in coverage. So, my advice is not to rush in and simply send a press release too early."

9) Start Strong and Include Visuals

Shari Ajayi, Saatva

"1. Start strong. Engage your reader with a captivating headline and an attention-grabbing opening paragraph.

To capture readers' attention and rank on search engines like Google, include SEO keywords in the first 60 characters of your headline. In the initial paragraph, be concise and intriguing to pique their interest. This will either encourage them to read on or leave them with a positive and lasting impression of your brand if they don't.

2. Include pictures and videos to make your release enjoyable and give visual recognition to your brand or products.

To make your press release visually appealing, add videos, images, and your logo to make plain, text-only press releases less boring. Including links to your website and social channels can help keep your release brief yet informative, while encouraging readers to learn more about your brand, products, and services on other platforms."

10) Focus On the Narrative and Conciseness

Anastasia Chernenko, Belkins

"The foremost advice for a startup's inaugural press release is to focus on a compelling narrative. Your story should highlight what your product or service does and why it matters. Start with a catchy headline that encapsulates your unique value proposition.

Keep the press release concise, ideally under 500 words. Highlight the problem your startup aims to solve, and how your solution is innovative or disruptive. Include key details like your target market and any notable partnerships or investments.

Ensure the release is well-structured, with an attention-grabbing lead paragraph followed by supporting information. Include quotes from key team members to add a human touch and credibility. Distribute the press release strategically to relevant media outlets, industry blogs, and influential journalists.

Consider personalized pitches to select reporters who cover your niche. Provide contact information for media inquiries to make it easy for journalists to reach out."

11) Plan a Timing and Distribution Strategy

Rameez Usmani, Solar Panel Installation

"Timing is critical in public relations. Choose the best moment to make your press statement. Public relations pros frequently advise avoiding significant holidays or competing news events that could overshadow your story.

Have a well-thought-out distribution strategy as well. Use online press release distribution services, tap into your own network, and think about reaching out to industry influencers or bloggers who may help you spread the word.

Make your press release easy to find on your website and social media networks. The more intentional your timing and distribution, the more likely your startup's news will reach its intended audience."

12) Evoke Human Connection With Quotes

Neil Hodgson Coyle, PRLab

"The press releases that truly resonate are those that evoke a human connection. For startups making their first impression, incorporating quotes from team members can be a game-changer. It's not just about information; it's about creating a narrative.

These quotes breathe life into the release, offering a glimpse into the passion and drive behind your venture. But remember, the art is in the balance. Ensure quotes are succinct and in harmony with your central message to maintain clarity and impact."


This expert panel was published in collaboration with Featured.

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