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I learned how to do PR in 36h, now in the 10 things you need to know in Australia

I'm quite excited today because we got our first proper bit of press in Business Insider — and we're in their daily briefing.

I thought I'd share a summary of how we got there, hopefully it might be helpful.

Part 1: Doing it wrong

The truth is that I tried to get some press last month and it was all weird. I found this great post by Austen Allred and I tried to copy his method.

I created a PR doc, built a list of 50+ news outlets and sent emails to their contact address.

Got zero response. Rien du tout. Nada.

I got my head down and was like "at least I tried"

Part 2: Making it personal - the 36h challenge

A couple of weeks after that first experience I decided to look back at what I did. I followed the steps but the whole thing felt very foreign to me. I'm bad at sales and marketing. I'm awful in crowds. I can definitely get a great conversation going, but I'm not the guy who can just walk to anyone and say "Hi, we should chat". I need things to feel personal.

So I went back to the drawing board and changed my approach.

First I needed help, so I posted my plan on Twitter. I thought we had a good story and a new approach to the problem of focus and accountability. I drafted a new PR, and a friend of mine helped me craft the message.

Then I went back to my list of 50+ websites and decided to focus on journalists instead. Making it personal. I looked for articles that were talking about new startups being launched, or OKRs/goal-setting. I read them all and got the details of the journalists.

Finally I reached out to them via email or Twitter with a short, personal message. I was clear to them I had no idea how to do PR, but pitched the story.

Hi <person>, my name is Sten and I'm a co-founder of https://tability.io. We're 2 ex-Atlassian building an accountability platform for teams. So far 500+ orgs have signed up and we have customers ranging from dozens of people to thousands — I believe it's the first of its kind and I thought you might be interested.

I sent perhaps 5 messages and got 2 people interested. I was super happy when I got the first email saying that we had an interesting story. Fast forward to today and we're in the press.

Anyway, I keep my expectations low because it's a marathon, but it's been a great experience. Top things I learned:

  1. Always read prior art.
  2. But, focus on your strengths.
  3. Seek help.
  4. Stay human.
  5. Be thankful.

It sounds very wishy-washy but it's hard to do well when you're juggling several hats and feel always behind your backlog.

Good luck y'all, and keep sharing your journey.

  1. 1

    Great insight that a personal approach can have better results than a generic blast out.

  2. 1

    Nice, do you think this would scale?
    If you has a list of 30 outlets do you think you'd still get 40% response?

    Product looks great!

    1. 1

      My approach would be to find 50 writers interested in a story we have. And I believe that it’s what makes a difference at our size.

      We are not funded, just getting started, not having a huge social media presence. So I banker on other things: I looked for people that would either be interested in where we came from (Atlassian, aussie) what we were doing (future of work, productivity) or how we operated (remote teams).

      This is how I found 5 people to get in touch with.

      The scaled version of that would be doing more research to find more people interested. From now on I’ll stay away from scrapping and bulk emailing techniques. It may work for others but not for me.

      Hope that makes sense.

  3. 1

    Thanks for these tips!

  4. 1

    Great insights, congratulations on your success!

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