Startup PR: Getting Press on a Tight Budget

Tech journalist Erica Swallow shares her public relation strategies for getting press for your startup.
  • Lectures 13
  • Video 3 Hours
  • Skill level all level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion

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Course Description

Join tech journalist Erica Swallow for an overview of public relations strategies to interact with journalists and ultimately gain press for your startup.

You'll learn the basics of public relations strategies for startups, including how to engage and build relationships with the media, how to craft an amazing pitch, what "exclusive" and "embargo" mean, which assets are useful for journalists, what not to do, and a boatload more.

This class will also include a number of case studies from recent pitches that Erica has received from fledgling startups. She will show you a behind-the-scenes look at how she was pitched and how each pitch panned out.

After taking this course, students should understand the basics of public relations strategies and engaging the press and be on their way to coverage!

What are the requirements?

  • No previous public relations experience is required and all materials, tools, or services referenced will be supplied or easily found on the Internet.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over 13 lectures and 2 hours of content!
  • In this course, you will learn how to perfect your startup's pitch and effectively communicate with the press.
  • By the end of the course, you will have the tools and knowledge needed to catch the attention of almost any journalist you're attempting to reach.

What is the target audience?

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Startup Employees
  • Public Relations Rookies


An introduction to the course, what you'll learn, and your instructor, Erica Swallow.
Before sending out any pitches, take time to craft your company’s message. Be able to explain your startup in one sentence so that anyone — techie or not — can understand its purpose. In this lesson, you'll learn how to craft a concise, value-driven message to explain what your startup does.
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.
Before you begin pitching your startup, stop to think about what is truly newsworthy, especially to the publications you’re targeting. A few starter ideas for newsworthy events: 
  1. The startup’s launch
  2. The launch of a new product, feature or offering
  3. The release of a compelling study or interesting data
  4. The company’s response to a current event
  5. News of a high profile partnership
By only pitching newsworthy events, you're more likely to get a higher response rate from journalists and you'll be ever so closer to getting a coveted press mention. The goal here is not to inundate writers, but to supply them with interesting, relevant news when it arises.
When pitching, include data and numbers that support your ideas when possible. In fact, an interesting study, infographic or other data sometimes warrants its own pitch. If your company has gathered proprietary information that tells a compelling story, pitch it.
Newsworthy Pitches
3 questions
Journalists are flooded with emails every day. If you want your messages to stand out, you'll need to approach them from a genuine place of common interest. It's all about making a connection. This lesson will introduce the concept of treating journalists like humans - an oddly little-known secret to dealing with the press - and arm you with some actionable tips for researching and getting to know journalists.
If you aren't well-versed on journalism lingo, there are at least two terms you should understand: exclusive and embargo.
Reporter Vocabulary
4 questions
A majority of startup pitching occurs via email, so your job is to become an Inbox Maven. This lesson will provide you with some of my best practices for engaging with journalists via email.
Emailing Like a Pro
4 questions
Because Twitter is a conversation-focused social network, many journalists seem to spend a lot of time on it, sharing and consuming news. The microblogging site is a great place to connect with writers and journalists of almost any stripe.
Instead of pitching reporters, let them pitch you. Sound like a dream? Nope. It's reality! Learn how you can benefit from reverse pitching.
Getting Press via Reverse Pitching
3 questions
You're just about finished with the course! Here are my final works of wisdom as you get ready to rock the startup PR world.
7 pages
As a final review for this course, read my article, "10 Essential PR Tips For Startups," as first seen on Mashable. It's a basic look at what you've learned in this course and should help tie everything together.
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, featuring the following speakers (titles and bios circa 2010): 

  • Nick SaintReporter, Business Insider/SAI.
  • Erica SwallowAssistant Editor, Mashable.
  • Devindra HardawarLead Mobile Writer, VentureBeat.
  • James Moran and Vin Vacanti, Founders at Yipit. Featured in over a dozen publications like The New York Times, Wired Magazine and national TV.
  • Ben Kessler, Director of Communications at SeatGeek. Ben previously worked at LaunchSquad PR, a boutique agency that serviced top-notch tech startups like SeetGeek.
  • Jordan Goldman, Founder at Unigo. Jordan is master of getting press and telling stories, with Uniqo covered in a New York Times Magazine expose and literally every other major outlet out there.
  • Adam Isserlis, Director of Digital Media at Rubenstein Communications. Although Rubenstein is famous for their account with the New York Yankees, Adam's led the agency's digital efforts in recent years with key relationships throughout the industry.
  • Dave Ambroseco-organizer of Hackers and Founders, knows a thing or two about getting buzz. He started his career at Burson-Marsteller, one of the largest PR agencies throughout the world and then transitioned into his own startup journey with his college roommate to create Scoop St. - helping New Yorkers discover their city with unbeatable deals powered by group buying. Scoop St.'s been featured in The New York Times, Time as well as The Business Insider, among others.
Raw and off-the-cuff, this video should be a real treat. Enjoy!

Instructor Biography

Erica Swallow , Tech Journalist and Director of Community at Contently

Erica Swallow is a New York City-based tech and lifestyle writer, owner of Southern Swallow Inc., and director of community at technology startup Contently. She contributes to ForbesMashable, and Entrepreneur, and her work has also appeared on CNNUSA TodayBusiness Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum, among other sites. Previously, Erica managed supported content at Mashable and before that, she helped develop and implement the social media marketing strategy for The New York Times


Average Rating
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    • Dan Seider

    Dan - Entrepreneur

    WOW. A must take course for someone that wants to understand how to get press properly.

    • Nikki M. Lee

    Great course for every entrepreneur!

    I'm so glad I found this course while I was preparing for a new business/product launch! Erica has some great things to teach and her course is a great investment for those of us starting out, as well as established businesses that wish to be more effective in communicating with the media.

    • Daniel Woolfolk

    Best info on dealing with journalist for any business, really.

    I'm a former news editor who is now in PR and I can say that every little nugget she gives about dealing with journalists in the present age is 100 percent true. A personalized pitch is way better than an email blast. She practices what she preaches when it comes to being clear and brief. The course is short and easy to understand. She has visuals that help and quizzes that reenforce the training. Thanks, Erica, for the course!

    • Pak Leung

    OH GOD. what's up with that cheesy beginning and ending music

    • Andrea Martins

    The Best Investment I've Made

    This could prove the best investment I've made in my startup. Thank you Erica, I loved it. Simple and to the point. Just brilliant.

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