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11 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. A Concise Value-Driven Message

    • 3. Know What Is Newsworthy

    • 4. Offer Up Unique Data

    • 5. Under the Journalist's Coverage Area

    • 6. Know the Lingo

    • 7. Send Awesome Emails

    • 8. Tweet It Up

    • 9. Behold the Power of Reverse Pitching

    • 10. Final Tips for Success

    • 11. Wrap-up and Feedback Session


Project Description

Build a press kit

Concise Message and Pitch

  1. Assess your message

    Take a look at your website, app, project, and anything else that has your startup's messaging on it, and assess the situation. Does your company portray a consistent message? If not, how many different messages are you throwing at consumers? What are the key takeaways? 

    Happy planning!

  2. Write a one sentence pitch

    For starter's, create a one-sentence pitch for your company. Review the Founder Institute’s one-sentence pitch formula.

    Then compose your own one-sentence pitch to describe what your startup is all about!

    Remember, the formula is: My company (company name), is developing (a defined offering) to help (a target audience) (solve a problem) (with secret sauce).

  3. Share your pitch

    Share your pitch on your project page.

    Ask three people for feedback on your pitch. 

    Offer critical feedback on other pitches.

Know What is News

  1. Make a list of new ideas

    Taking note of what you've learned in this unit, make a list of 10 news ideas for your startup.

  2. Create some buzz

    Share your news ideas on your project page.

    Provide feedback on your classmates news ideas.

Unique Data

  1. Utilize Your Data

    If your company has useful data that may be able to be used to generate press or a unique report, brainstorm topics that could be of interest, as extrapolated from this data. Consider infographic, white paper, and report options that could be of interest.

    Share your data with your classmates.

Understand the Journalist

  1. Narrow your audience area

    Make a list of the types of journalists you're hoping to reach. Include the following information: 

    • Outlet types. Magazines, Newspapers, Trade journals, Blogs, Corporate newsletters, etc.)

    • The "beat" or "vertical" a journalist writes in. Such as Technology, Fashion, or Metro News)

    • Specific publications. Such as Wired, Mashable, CNETCosmopolitanNew York MagazineNat Geo, etc.)

    • Journalists. Research publications and verticals that you want to reach and narrow down your audience to specific journalists. Begin following these journalists online in whatever way you prefer -- add their RSS feed to your reader, follow them on Twitter, etc. You'll need to get to know these journalists, their interests, and how you can add value to their work.

Journalism Lingo

  1. Create exclusives

    Brainstorm ideas that your startup may be able to offer up as exclusive stories. During your brainstorm, also consider the top news outlets you'd want to pitch. Make a list and take action!

Emailing Etiquette

  1. Compose a pitch email

    After you've completed your one-sentence pitch, compose an email, pitching your product or service. Make sure you use your one-sentence pitch in the email.

    Bonus: If you're feeling ambitious, make a list of assets you have on hand to send to journalists, including screenshots, company logos, demo videos, and upload them to Dropbox or Google Docs. In the future, you can refer journalists to your cloud-stored press kit with a simple link.


  1. Follow a reporter

    Spend 15 minutes researching journalists in your field on Twitter. Use MuckRack to do your research, and follow at least one journalist on Twitter. 

    Bonus credit: If you're feeling ambitious, create a Twitter list of journalists in your field.  

Reverse Pitching

  1. Sign up for HARO

    Sign up for reverse-pitching site, Help a Reporter Out, so that you can start receiving pitches from journalists, instead of doing all the work yourself!

Final Tips for Success

  1. Read this article

    As a final review for this course, read my article, "10 Essential PR Tips For Startups" on Mashable. It's a basic look at what you've learned in this course and should help tie everything together.

Build an Effective Press Kit

  1. Share your press kit

    Your one-sentence pitch, email pitch and assets make up your Press Kit.

    Post your Press Kit to the "Student Gallery" tab on Skillshare, so that you can get feedback from other students. Feel free to link to Google Docs or other assets on the web.

    Congratulations on finishing the course! I hope you feel confident. You're on your way to Internet fame!



Additional Resources

  • The One-Sentence Pitch

    It's important that startups have a go-to, one-sentence pitch that explains what they do. Founder Institute's Adeo Ressi explains his "Madlibs for Pitching" approach for creating this one-sentence pitch. After watching this video, take some time to craft a one-sentence pitch for your startup, using this formula.

  • As a final review for this course, read my article, "10 Essential PR Tips For Startups" on Mashable. It's a basic look at what you've learned in this course and should help tie everything together.

  • Check out Erica's "Selection of Startup Pitches with Flair."

    Like you, these startups took her "Getting Press on a Tight Budget" course and submitted their press kits via the Projects tab. Erica chose some of the top performers to highlight, so that future students could use those great examples to build their very own press kits during the class.

  • Demystifying PR for Startups.

    The following video is from a panel on Demystifying PR for Startups.

    While this video may be a few years old, the commentary is as relevant as ever. This is one of my favorite panels on the subject of startup PR and is perhaps the most informative panel I've ever sat on or been a part of.


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