Knowing where to start PR Start-up culture


Whether you’re working for yourself or a company, working on your personal PR is as important as working on your finances. But getting the media’s attention can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have the budget to pay someone to do it for you. Good news, it’s not that hard to do it by yourself! Here are 8 tips to get you press coverage without spending a penny:

20 February 2023 • 5 min read

Photo by Waz Lght on Unsplash


Before you reach out to journalists, you need to build your profile to show your credibility so that journalists take you seriously. You may not have achieved much to date but in the world of business, it’s all about perceptions. You need to become someone of interest, someone worth listening to.

The first step is to create your own brand and be consistent with your graphic chart, core messages, and values. This also means having an online and offline presence, posting content on social media regularly, and connect with your network. It can be hard to know what to share about but seize any opportunity you can get. Awards applications, public speaking, events attendance, charity work, clients’ testimonials… And if you can’t find any, make it happen! Meet-ups are a great way of building credibility, making your own connects you with your network, and also, makes you appear as an expert and authority in your field. Even with no budget, organising small gatherings won’t cost you more than a few beers, some nibbles, and a PowerPoint presentation… It’s your turn to drop the mic!


Everybody has a story to tell. And guess what, people love stories, especially the ones they can identify with. First define what differentiates you from the rest. It could be the challenges you’ve overcome, your background, ethnicity, niche expertise, superpowers, or an acquaintance who was on the third season of Love Island… Whoever you are and whatever you do, you can always find an interesting angle to captivate the audience’s interest. Find your story and get ready to tell the world.


Ask yourself where you’d like to be featured, and above all, where you should be featured. There is a difference here, and it’s important.

You might want to get published in a publication because you think it’s prestigious or an industry benchmark, but it will only serve your pride, not your business. To find the right publications, answer these 3 questions:

  • What is your objective? Finding new clients? Raising some funds? Finding new partners to work with? Get into the habit of setting up SMART objectives (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound)
  • What do you need to achieve it? Building credibility? Dancing on Trafalgar Square wearing sparkly pink tutus? Raising awareness?
  • What does your target audience read? Business to business media? Consumer publications? Financial news?


Much like the marshmallow experiment conducted by Walter Mischel, if you’re the kid that can’t wait for the extra marshmallow, you won’t stand a chance in the PR world. You have to be at peace with delayed gratification.

To increase your chances of being featured, start by signing up to platforms such as HARO (Help A Reporter Out) or Qwoted. These are free of charge and easy to use. HARO connects journalists seeking expertise with subject experts. Once you have selected your topic of interest, you will receive daily queries from journalists depending on the preferences selected. This is a great starting point as you are sharing your expertise, experience and opinions with journalists who may quote your statements in their articles. It’s a win-win situation, you get free coverage and the journalist gets quality content.

In my experience, when pitching yourself on these platforms, make sure it is impactful, interesting, educational, bold and to the point. Avoid self-promotion and you are looking at a 50% chance of being featured. Some journalists post queries regularly so it’s a good way for you to get in touch with them and slowly build a relationship.

Alternatively, you can also look at guest writing for a publication. Although this isn’t usually a fee-paying job, it’s a great way of getting coverage and building your credibility.


Press pack, Press kit, Magic Doc, call it whatever you want, as long as you’ve got one. In simple words, a press pack is a file containing all information about you and your company collated for someone who has never heard about you or what you do (let’s imagine you’re not that famous, yet). This press pack will be used to pitch yourself and your business to journalists, bloggers, editors, podcasters, events’ organiser, the list is endless.
There are a few key pieces of information to include in your press pack. These are:

  • A presentation of you/your business
  • A portrait of the Founder
  • Some case studies, clients’ testimonials and industry facts (if relevant)
  • Your latest press releases and a few HD pictures/visuals

When writing your press pack, remember to stay objective, use the 3rd pronoun to tell your story, add quotes, sources, and keep it structured and easy to read (unless you’re in a very niche industry pitching very niche media). Don’t forget that it’s NOT a piece of advertisement, so stick to the facts.


Journalists’ mailboxes are crowded. That’s a fact. They get hundreds of emails every morning. So, if you want to make the cut, your pitch has to be interesting, impactful, and straight to the point.

  • Use bullet points
  • Highlight important information
  • Make your email easy to read with all the essential information

Pitch to the journalists you think could be interested in your story. Do some prior research and study what type of content they write. If you pitched and received no response, then send out a follow up email and ask for feedback (this may get you the response you seek). The last thing you want to do is waste their time and yours. Some people use PR distribution platforms to send out their press releases,  but in my experience, it’s not very effective and there’s nothing better than a personalised email.


Publications can have months of waiting lists, so you have to anticipate the topics they will cover. You can ask publications to access their editorial calendars. This will tell you what topics are planned to be covered each month (or week). Look at the topics and deadlines, and see how you could fit in. If you’re pitching something newsworthy, do it early in the mornings (6 to 8 am) and preferably from Monday to Thursday. If you’re launching a new service, send your press release one/two days before the date of the official launch to give journalists some time to schedule their article on the D-day.

Keep Bank Holidays in mind (in your country & abroad), including time zones, and don’t forget to watch the news; you’re less likely to get the media’s attention if all they’re covering is a new vaccine or an alien cat on Mars.


What matters is to start somewhere. PR can have a domino effect and the first goal is to get a foot in the door. You can start by reaching out to your local newspapers and radios who might be interested in having success stories and entrepreneurs featured. Apply for awards (most of them are free of charge) and don’t hesitate to ask your network. We all know someone who has a friend, whose cousin has a brother-in-law whose best friend works in the media (and if you’re lucky this sentence will be shorter). You’d be surprised how much people actually like to help out!

Finally, if you’d like support with your PR, there are many consultants out there that can support you without you having to contact an agency. For example, I specialise in PR for start-ups that don’t have significant budgets to spend in the area. Feel free to contact me if you’ve got any questions.


Knowing where to start PR Start-up culture

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