Israel: 054-321-6176 / USA - 210-820-3070 alan@weinkrantz.com

Israeli & U.S. Start-Ups: Maybe You Don’t Need a PR Firm (Yet.) Here’s Some Things You Can Do On Your Own

In the process of meeting with various start-ups in Israel this week I’m really gaining some great insights into their needs for PR services.

Tomorrow, I will speaking at the Israel Startup Network event and sharing the stage with other PR / Communications Pros, Josh ClineSharon Levy-Matzkin and Enon Landenberg.  

What’s clear to me is that either because of budget, or where they are in the life cycle of their company, be it in Israel or the U.S., they may not need a PR firm- yet.

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Here’s a few things you can do on your own, or just go through the following steps in order to prepare yourself for when you are ready to start looking for the agency that is right for you.

1.  What media do you think should pay attention to your company?  Why?

Make a list of the print and online media (journals, news outlets, blogs, etc) and dream big.  Imagine you could get in any five outlets on the planet (be realistic.)  What would they be?   Try writing a draft of a press release yourself.  Need help?  Use my template, here.

2.  Start reading the media you want to be in.

If you follow the journalists that write about your space, you’ll understand what they cover, their tone, and their voice.  

3.  Follow, wave, engage and comment on journalists work.

If there is a publication that you think you should be in, follow the journalist on twitter.  Here’s a list of tech journalists that could help – thank you Robert Scoble.  Follow them.  Wave hello on twitter and even comment on their articles if you have something to say.  It’s a great way to engage, seed the market and be found.

4.  Think about how you can be a great client.  

Come prepared.  Be reasonable.  Do your homework.  Don’t be ashamed of not having a huge budget.  If you are reasonable, and pay for an allotment of time with your agency, offer to take on some of the execution yourself.  If you slip and fall a few times, it’s ok.  As your budget grows, your agency can expand the range and depth of service.

This may seem like doing things in reverse, but as much as we are here to serve you, we are really here to help each other.  We want to see you be successful, exit, and hit it out of the ballpark 🙂

Translation:  Successful agencies / consultants are successful because they have successful clients.  

5.  Don’t haggle on price or ask for discounts with the promise of greater fees later.

This is what I call the shuk mentality. 

You’re not buying commodities.  

You’re investing in deep expertise that can help your company beyond just getting press.  If you are being led to believe that you are getting a special deal, run away.  Unless you let your agency make a fair profit, they won’t pay attention to you.  

You may be a hot company with promises of great potential, but the reality is that by virtue of the fact that there are now volumes of new start-ups, you are not only competing in a marketplace for business, you are competing for a marketplace of expert service providers.

There’s always going to be another hot company next week :).

6.  Buy local in Israel when you can. 

Connect with service providers like Donna Abraham, Arlene Maron, and Belinda Gerber.  They can help you on writing, messaging, positioning. Need social media, WordPress and SEO expertise?  Reach out to Miriam Schwab.  Need help on figuring out how to master WordPress so you can do this yourself?  Nadine Wildmann is a rock star.  They are all in Israel.  They are nice people and can service you well here- and locally. You can also check out the Divas at Digital Eve Israel – a great resource for locally based talent in PR and emerging media.  

7.  Consider blended services as a way to save money.

See Item 6 and invest your budget in strategy and agency outreach.  Ask your agency if they would be willing to team with your local writers and other service providers.  It’s worth a try.  Remember, you are not asking for discount.  You are asking to pay your agency for specific areas of expertise.

8.  Want to know what journalists are writing?  Check out HARO.  It’s free.

PR Whiz, Peter Shankman created a very useful and free service – HARO – Help A Reporter .  Journalists list requests for sources and if you check it daily, your company might have the story the journalist is working on.  I’ve used it with great success.  Thank you Peter.

9.  Want to know what journalists are writing?  Research editorial calendars.  Check out Cision.  It’s free.

Go back to step 1 and pick the top five media you think you belong in.  Go their site and check out their editorial calendar. Maybe there are getting ready to write on something that is specific to your space and your expertise.  Go here to Cision and do your own research.  It’s free.

10.  Need to figure out a media strategy?  

Easy.  See who writes about your competitors or companies peripheral to your space.  Go to the company’s press section on their site or just do a news.google.com search and start tracking who covers your competition or the key words in your space.  

11.  Thinking about briefing Industry Analysts?  

Depending on where you are in your life cycle, reaching out to Industry Analysts merit consideration.  Your mileage may vary, depending on where you are on this.  At the very least, and much like my recommendation in following and engaging with journalists you can do likewise with Industry Analysts.  Many have blogs and write free commentary.  I have an article here on my blog from the perspective of an industry analyst.

12.  Need a Director of Industry Analysts?   Check out Barbara French’s Blog.  It’s free.

Check out SWAY – Barbara French’s approach to Industry Analyst Relations, Influencer Marketing and the Business of Influence.

Big Time Take-Away:

Prepare yourself now for coverage.  

Rather than thinking you can shove your press releases down the throats of your favorite journalists, think about how you can become a trusted source of quality content.  This is where I go back to my point about why I believe every company should think of themselves as a media company,  a content curator, and story teller.

6 Comments

  1. Alan, your every word is worth it’s weight in gold!

    Reply
  2. Alan, your every word is worth it’s weight in gold!

    Reply
  3. Great advice – all of it. There is so much that can be done super-effectively without big budgets and without going to a big-name PR firm. And I write this not just because you mentioned me, though I do thank you for it.

    Reply
  4. Great advice – all of it. There is so much that can be done super-effectively without big budgets and without going to a big-name PR firm. And I write this not just because you mentioned me, though I do thank you for it.

    Reply
  5. Great advice – all of it. There is so much that can be done super-effectively without big budgets and without going to a big-name PR firm. And I write this not just because you mentioned me, though I do thank you for it.

    Reply
  6. Great advice – all of it. There is so much that can be done super-effectively without big budgets and without going to a big-name PR firm. And I write this not just because you mentioned me, though I do thank you for it.

    Reply

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