12 Effective Press Release Topics To KICKSTART TECH CompanIES’ PUBLIC RELATIONS OUTREACH
By Lisa Sheeran
Hen House Ventures
When entrepreneurs launch a new startup they often question the timing and the value of beginning public relations efforts early in the company’s life. Having spent decades as a media communications pro, much of it advising tech startups on PR, I’ve learned that using press releases is an essential tool for communicating new innovative products and services, burgeoning relationships and other news born out of these early startup PR efforts.
Startups should rev up the PR engine by employing press releases as soon as the company is out of “stealth mode”. Key hires are now on board, headway has been made in final coding, and perhaps some early-stage funding is in the bank.
These twelve examples of press release topics startups should consider using to begin external communications with media and thought leaders, market analysts, prospects and customers. In emerging tech markets the proverbial early bird gets the worm, so if you don’t make a stake in the ground your competitors will beat you to it.
Leveraging press releases entails conceptualizing and writing a press release, distributing the news over a leading wire service to journalists, print and online media organizations. Combine this with personal outreach to a curated list of press and analysts. This encourages interviews with the CEO or executives that can lead to new coverage Most of all connecting with media sources opens up new relationships that are important to your market.
1. The introduction of your startup and your first commercial product
This all-important press release should be issued when your website content and design are ready and your company’s product or service is commercially available. Include the founding team and experience that makes the company and product introduction relevant and interesting.
2. The introduction of your startup and the beta version of your first product
Note that some tech startups opt to begin the PR process earlier than might be expected by issuing their first press release to introduce the company and the beta version of its first product. Startups developing open source products, for example, will choose this avenue at times to attract beta users who will provide technical input and point out bugs in the software prior to the startup’s gold version release.
3. The announcement of venture capital funding for your startup
Many startups want to see their news published in TechCrunch, VentureBeat, or in the business press. When your company receives venture capital funding it is easier to capture the attention of those specific popular publications. The bigger the funding the more likely your startup will win the attention of media that look for new startup funding in emerging tech markets.
4. Partnership news
Another way to garner attention from TechCrunch and similar business publications is to announce a partnership with a name brand company like Google, Microsoft, Apple or Amazon. These tech giants always attract the attention of the press, especially when they partner with startups. Startups gain instant credibility because reporters are impressed when they see these leading vendors choose a newcomer for a partner.
But you do not need to partner with a megalithic vendor to announce strategic partnerships. Many tech startups are part of an ecosystem of companies that work together to solve problems one company alone cannot do. Aligning with important players demonstrates to the market that your company is part of a bigger system of solutions.
5. New product and services announcements
Always use press releases to announce new innovative products, game-changing technologies and new services. This is the time to solidify relationships with beat reporters who follow your industry. This is also the time to pitch product demos with technical publications and sites that love to look under the hood to give readers a first look at what is new and innovative.
6. Major product updates and analyst recognition
Sure, go ahead and issue a press release when your flagship or a major product is updated with significant improvements. However, minor product upgrades should be reserved for the company blog. If your product is recognized by a third-party analyst, even if the recognition is not timed with your release schedule, take this opportunity to publish this announcement and ask for supportive quotes about the research intention. Often these third-party analysts will not endorse products, rather provide a quote about the market need for their work.
7. Key executive hires
Startups should use press releases to announce VP or higher newly-hired executives. Most local business journals, such as the Silicon Business Journal, and newspapers are happy to run photos of these execs to highlight the news so make sure you include a head shot of the executive when sending the press release over the wire. These opportunities, mostly in local business journals or newspapers may require a fee for publication.
8. Major customer wins
Whenever your startup strikes a home run and adds a brand name business to its customer list it’s time to issue a press release. Even if you are unable to name the customer, your company can gain industry credibility when readers know about big-name companies becoming your customers.
9. Important innovations and patents
If your company earns a patent for unique and innovative technology you can crow about it using a press release. This news demonstrates technology leadership and while it may not result in a major news story, it sure looks good posted in your website’s press room.
10. Industry and other company awards
Anytime your startup is highlighted in key market analyst industry reports it merits some PR by issuing a press release. Doing startup PR is also in order whenever the company wins coveted industry awards. These types of press releases lend credibility to the company as the commendation comes from esteemed third-parties. While this type of PR for startups doesn’t often result in new articles, they are good tools to use to encourage executive interviews, profiles, Q&As and other editorial coverage.
11. Major speaking engagements
Announcing public relations via a press release is in order when the CEO or another key executive wins a keynote or speaker slot at major industry and business conferences. Speaking engagements provide opportunities for these executives to gain thought leadership status and the upcoming date of the event is in itself a news-driven event. This announcement can also be used to connect with media who are attending the event for follow-up conversations.
12. Year-end momentum wrap-ups
Momentum press releases provide startups with a press-release driven PR opportunity because it underscores all major accomplishments throughout the year all in one place. This press release is welcomed by the reporters and analysts who you regularly work with because it reminds them of your startup’s achievements. This press release is also a great way to make headway with new press and analyst relationships.
PRESS RELEASE CREATION FAQs
How does a press release kickstart public relations?
Press releases are a factual documents that are dated and verified as a reputable information source, creating accountability within the media ecosystem. These documents are used as introduction communication points to media and journalist resources who pay attention to the field of interest the press release is published about.
Does every message point in a press release need to be factual?
Absolutely. Every data point including names, titles, companies, numerical amounts, relationship types, and context will be used as public record from that point forward. It is critical that press releases receive approval by every party mentioned.
What is a press release boilerplate?
Boilerplates provide the aformentioned companies the ability to express their corporate strategy and success, in a more marketing-like perspective. Boilerplates allow readers, search engine spiders, and media to continue to research the company or entity, so it is important to include the company contact information.
Why is there a press contact on a press release?
The person listed on the press release is authorized to speak to media resources on behalf of the company, as well as issue any modifications to the press release in case there were any stated errors. This person is basically the publishing company's representative to the media and to the public.
Hen House Ventures offers value-based packaged public relations programs for startups, entrepreneurs, and established companies entering high-tech and emerging tech markets. Our two PR package offerings provide exactly what companies need to quickly establish and differentiate their businesses within noisy tech markets -- with no long-term retainers or junior account executives working on your behalf.
With decades of experience, Hen House communications pros have launched technology companies spanning the full range of enterprise technologies. We work closely with our clients to develop and implement creative news-based projects and we take care of it all. Clients receive insight into their program progress via analytics that measure the traction and results of our program.
What are your favorite press release topics? Contribute comments, below.
HEN HOUSE VENTURES’ TECH STARTUP
PRESS RELEASE CASE STUDY
Learn how Hen House Ventures crafted, launched and marketed three back-to-back press releases covering corporate leadership moves and partnership wins to successfully position a startup in a $1B emerging technology market, and made the world take notice.