Why Startups Should Forget PR Firms & How You Can Do Your Own PR | PR Outreach and Cold Email Strategies - Criminally Prolific

Why Startups Should Forget PR Firms & How You Can Do Your Own PR

Dima s
Dmitry Dragilev Last updated on October 26, 2016 6 Comments

Back about a year ago Kevin Leu wrote a an article on VentureBeat titled 5 reasons you’ll regret hiring a PR firm for your startup sharing his personal frustrations with hiring a PR firm. As I read that post I could not help but smile since in my 8 years working at startups I found PR Firms just as disappointing as Kevin did. Most of the times PR Firms:

  • Don’t know how to tell a story.
  • Rip you off.
  • Act like they know everything.
  • Take more credit than they deserve.
  • Free Access: My video course with a Guide to Getting Free Press for Your Startup

    Instead of using PR Firms I urge startups to take control of their own PR, this way startups build their own relationships with reporters, the interaction is much more genuine, and startups control the message and information communicated to the reporter. In the long run this will be much more valuable to them. Here is how to do it:

    1. Search for a relevant reporter

    The first thing is to find a reporter who is interested in what you are pitching. Go to JustReachOut.io and enter a topic you’d like to search recent news about. The idea is that you are looking for reporters who have written something related to your topic. In my case I enter “Amazon Drones”:


    Hit search and you get a search result listing the article title, the date it was written, publication, and sometimes it shows the name of the reporter. Now scan through these results to see which article title looks relevant to what you’re pitching. You can click on the title to navigate over and read the actual article to be sure it’s relevant to what you’re pitching. The next step is to compose an email pitch, click “Reach out” link.

    Free Access: My video course with a Guide to Getting Free Press for Your Startup

    2. Compose an Email Pitch

    After you click “reach out” the tool helps you write an email pitch, it asks you five questions to really make sure this reporter is interested in what you’re trying to pitch them. After you’re done answering the questions it will generate an email pitch draft for you. The tool will ask you the following questions:


    The headline is the main draw, this will potentially be your email subject for the pitch. You should spend some time playing around with it to make sure it’s witty, surprising, yet personal and interesting. Pretend this will be the actual headline a reporter will use for an article, will they actually use what you write here? How does it compare with the article you found in step #1? You can click “peek at article” button to see the article once more if need be.

    The next question zeros in on a basic fact of how does this article relate to what you’re pitching. If you can’t answer this question in one line, chances are you should find a different reporter.


    Now we dig a bit deeper, can you list two quick reasons a reporter would be interested in what you’re pitching. This is a simple question, so again it deserves a simple answer. If you can’t answer this in two lines or less chances are you should find a different reporter.


    Now going even deeper and summing it up, can you formulate a 15 sec pitch which you could tell the reporter in person? Pretend you’re standing next to them at a conference, they’ve probably met hundreds of people that day, how can you stand out based on what you say to them?


    3. Reach Out to the Reporter

    Finally the tool gives you an email pitch draft and email contact info for the reporter. You can modify this pitch, copy paste it into Gmail or whatever you use for your email and send it away.

    Click here: My video course with a Guide to Getting Free Press for Your Startup

    6 thoughts on “Why Startups Should Forget PR Firms & How You Can Do Your Own PR

    1. reply

      Violeta Nedkova

      Interesting! I’ve been using HARO for that, but HARO goes the other way – reporters reaching out to journalists and writers. I like the related content option. It pretty much outlines the process of pitching.

      So yeah, very interested in seeing how this goes! Good luck, Dmitry!

      • dmitry

        Thanks Violeta! I’ve used HARO myself as well, great product. Would love to hear any feedback you have about JustReachOut. Thanks again.

    2. reply

      Johnc91

      Appreciate it for helping out, great information.

    3. reply

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