How To Hack Your Own PR and Never Pay an Agency!

I’ve been in early-stage startup marketing/growth roles for over 15 years (with 3 exits as HoM) and I  can tell you without a doubt that if you’re an early-stage startup you need to learn how to hack PR yourself because Agencies can charge about $5000-$10,000 a month and you should always test channels before big spend if you can. I thought it would be super helpful if I wrote out here exactly how to do your own PR. This comes from 15+ years of experience and my new startup growth book covers this and many more strategies. What I’m about to teach you is a long-term process, that you only unleash once you have data proving that your product/market has been at least somewhat attained.  

Hacking PR is all about building relationships with the media related to your industry and getting them to tell your story. Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked with startups all over the world and at all different budgetary constraints and you’ll hear me say this over and over again, I believe that early-stage stage startups should NEVER hire a PR agency if they’re cash-strapped.

PR & How to Get in Targeted Media for Free

“Online PR,” as I call it, is also known as public relations, press marketing, PR marketing, or just PR. The reason we will start here is that I want to lead with as much value as possible, right away. So rather than make you wait until the end for the biggest “value bombs,” I want to go in, straight from the get-go. PR is SO vital to any early-stage startup because one good article can get you in front of the best investors, can bring you to the forefront of your industry, or give you the growth spurt you need to fund another six months of runway. It’s also one of the single most powerful marketing strategies because there’s no ceiling, you can get as much PR as you’re willing to work for, and it doesn’t necessarily cost anything; that’s why it’s called “earned media” in a lot of marketing circles. Think about that name: “earned media.” Even if you’re brand new, you can still get a lot of free growth out of targeted earned media placements, and it’s widely applicable to nearly every business, vertical, industry, etc., so if you’re reading this, and as long as you’re working on a business with a target demographic, then you need to do PR to get in front of them! The startup growth book 16 The basic idea of PR is getting your company and your project into key content that your target demographic consumes via targeted media placements. Now, the reason I love this so much is that we’re about to go over exactly how to hack it, and it doesn’t take anything but your time and a relentless focus on creating value for others. That’s it. But then why do so many startups pay between $5,000 and $20,000 a month for quality PR services? The reasons are simple: because it pays good ROI consistently and it is very time-consuming to do on your own. Just because you’re about to learn exactly how to do it yourself doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Everything I will teach you in this book will take weeks, if not months, to see any value from, and you’ll need to keep doing it to see the benefits, trusting me that it will indeed pay of, as it has for dozens of clients of mine like Tinder, Different, Zedge, HitList, Matt’s Flights, RoadTrippers,, Hushly and more! Having said that, PR is not only great for branding, thought leadership, partnerships, and hiring, but more than that, it’s also a solid user-acquisition strategy, and it does indeed bring increased revenue rather quickly. Beyond absolutely increasing your sales, PR also adds social proof as well. So even if your podcast interviews and magazine features don’t immediately drive tons of direct sales in your analytics, you should see other metrics get a solid boost, like website conversion rate, for instance (assuming you put your recent press articles on your site in a prominent spot), organic search traffic, and more. For a second, just imagine how valuable it would be for your business to get a nationwide or global article all about your solution/product somewhere that your target demographic reads. I estimate the value of a solid PR placement to be $40,000 to $50,000 on average for B2C (business to consumer) and up to three times that for B2B (business to business), depending on ACLTV (average customer lifetime value – the average of the value of a new user over their lifetime of interacting with your business), and that’s based on pr & how to get in targeted media for free 17 several experiences getting my startups in Forbes, TechCrunch, INC, USAToday, GQ, Bustle, and more. So you know that you need PR, and you know that working with an agency like GrowthExpertz, or another Startup PR frm, is expensive because it shortens the learning curve for your PR campaign by about 5 to 12 months. The job of an agency is to save you time. What you could probably do in six months, a good PR firm could do in 30 – 60 days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it done on your own. I taught myself all of this, after all, so I know that if I can do it successfully, then you can as well. The beauty of being an early-stage startup is that you’ve got time. I know you may be reading that saying in your head that you’re super busy and have no time at all, but what I mean is unlike a big company, you’ve got time to continue testing new strategies, with no outside influences pushing you, and with scaling your PR, that’s all this takes. No matter how competitive your world may seem, you have far fewer eyes on you than a marketer at a big corporation, so you’ve got time on your side. No one is going to freak out on social media if you push out a bad press release; you can just keep iterating quietly until you get it just right. To start, there are three main parts to becoming a startup PR master, and we’re going deep on all three: Building Your Press List, Crafting Your Story(ies), and Distributing Your PR Effectively.

Step 1: Build Your Press List 

The first key part of a successful PR campaign is learning to build your own targeted press list of people you want to contact about your business. What is a press list? Essentially, it’s going to be your running tab of all the different people telling a story to your target demographic. In this list, you’re going to include their name, email address, and if you’re an overachiever like me, the publications they write for, and even some example articles they’ve written about your industry. This will all help you connect with them in the future. The more you jot down, the better, but names and emails are what is essential. With this list, you’ll eventually have direct, unfettered access to all the people who can promote your business, at scale and for free, to your potential customers. 

I’m going to teach you how to passively build this list over time, with very low time investment, so that when you’re ready to scream from the rooftop about your business, you’ll already have the contact info of all the most prominent creators, writers, reporters, and YouTubers you need to tell your story. That way, when the time comes that you’ve got something potentially valuable for them, you can reach out, effortlessly, at scale, and drive a ton of interest in promoting your new product/service!

Think about what most early-stage companies are probably like 30 days away from their launch of a big shiny new product. I can tell you they’re often scrambling, doing a million things at once without properly finishing any of them. Next, think how different that situation would be if, for six to eight months before launch, they had been casually adding 5 to 50 email addresses a week to a list of people to promote their launch. That way, they could have dozens of valuable opportunities lined up to promote their launch and would already be much better off in regard to marketing. 

The next step is to figure out how to build your press list. Please take a moment to pause here for a small exercise that will point you in the right direction. I want you to think about all the industries, locations, or keywords that your project, you, your company, your industry, and your market are potentially relevant to. Next, you’re going to jot down a few potential keyword focuses for your searches you’ll follow online when looking for targeted media personalities you can engage. If you’re on or near a computer, you can go to Google Alerts or Google News directly for this, or feel free to use the below jot spot below to write with a pen.




The idea here is to think of all the potential “story arcs” or boxes that your company is relevant to so you can test pitching your company’s story to reporters, writers, and hosts with all those different angles and see what sticks. So you’re going to come up with this list of terms to follow, and I’ll share an example of a good list of potential terms to brainstorm from a project I did that was successful. This PR campaign was for an Android app launch in the travel space, for a female-founded startup. I say those specifics because when I started building a press list for this campaign, I utilized this exact strategy. I thought of all the potential news angles for this launch, then searched for people writing articles around “travel apps” and “travel startups” but also “female founders,” “Android apps,” “Android startups,” and “Android travel apps,” as I wanted to tell anyone who may care about my project and what we’re launching. I then took all of these terms and I entered them into Google Alerts so I’d get notified about writers publishing new articles with these key terms. 

Now if you don’t know Google Alerts already, please stop reading the book right now, open your laptop, and go to Once there, I want you to enter your name + the company name that you work with, and then at least you’ll be notified ANYTIME someone writes about you on the internet (outside of social posts). That’s how you are going to find out whenever someone important covers something related to your company, and then you’re going to want to find their contact info and add them to your list because next, I’m going to teach you how you can chat with them about your project and potentially get them to cover/promote you. 

So for this Android app project I mentioned, I immediately started getting emails from Google Alerts anytime someone created new content on the internet with those keywords I mentioned above. This then brought me lots of potential reporters’ email addresses, and eventually, that startup got 30,000-plus installs in the first 30 days after launch, without spending any money. Here’s an example PR list-building campaign Google Alert for a wellness-focused bootstrapped startup coaching client of mine. 

After you set up the keyword search terms you plotted out from the previous exercise, you’ll start to see the emails come in like the above. The content of the alert emails is usually several relevant articles you’ll need to peruse through like the below image. I know this seems extremely simple, and therefore you may be thinking it’s not that valuable, but I promise you, these emails will become game changers for not only your PR campaigns, but you will soon find all the relevant upcoming conferences, events, and big happenings in your industry as well. The bottom line is, instead of you having to research constantly to stay abreast of who is talking about the things your target users care about, you’ll get it emailed to you daily, and all you need to do is take the time to glean the best articles out of the emails. 

Once you start to find relevant articles, you’ll immediately notice something incredible: Most content creators, reporters, writers, and hosts are very easy to find on the internet! The sheer nature of their business forces them to be discoverable and approachable so they can get inbound opportunities, such as collaborations, story tips, introductions to sources, etc. With that, if you go to any article that Google Alerts sends you about your keywords we came up with above, then you’re going to see usually the author’s name is right there on the publication, and it’s usually hyperlinked too, so you click on that, and what comes up? Usually their email address. And if you click the email address, it’ll instantly open up a tab with a new email ready for you to reach out to them. Now, I don’t want you to email them right away. What I want you to do is grab their name and email and put it in that press list we just discussed. When reading through each of the Google Alerts emails (I usually recommend doing this during the first 10 minutes of your workday or whenever you finally get around checking your emails), you’ll be able to find the email addresses of target potential PR partners. In the image above, I clicked on the third article on the list and quickly noticed the reporter’s email was just right there, ripe for the taking. See the image below. 

Great, so then we’re going to add Joshua’s name and email to our PR list and keep going about our day. If you’ve found a great article that’s super relevant to your business but you’re unable to find the reporter’s email, there is no need to worry, as there are almost always some social links if nothing else. In this case, I suggest you explore the reporter’s social media and check for their email there. See some examples below of how reporters and writers publicly post their contact information because they desperately want to be contacted about potential stories. 

If they don’t have their email on their social media profile, then, being relentless in the pursuit of success, you can easily tweet or message them on any social media platform and say something along the lines of what I said in the below image for a recent client: 

If you’re reading this and thinking you don’t have the time to be doing this, fret not; if you start this process a few months before you’re ready to launch, you can grab new PR emails like this for literally just 30 minutes a week, and I promise you, after a few months, you’ll have a 100 to 300-plus targeted PR list that you can reuse for so many marketing activities, partnerships, and launches. Stick with me. I want you to consider this a passive time investment, as it’s a marathon marketing activity, not a sprint. You’re just casually going to keep building your press list while also working on product development, finalizing your investment, building out your team, and getting ready to scale the rest of your marketing. 

Every day, when you read the news related to your industry, you’ll start to become hyper-aware of PR list opportunities, subconsciously looking out for reporter email addresses, even on social media. Eventually, you’ll become obsessed with adding them into your press list every day. I honestly keep my own PR list open in a pinned Chrome tab throughout the year. If you’re not sure when you’re going to launch, that’s fine too; you don’t need to be ready to launch or even have a definitive product in mind to start doing this. The goal I want you to set for your PR list is to get about 500 to 1,000 email addresses before you’re ready to launch so that

you can be ready to push it out to the masses and get tons of free promotion. Also, keep in mind that this list will pay dividends for you for years to come. You can use this large PR list to barter, to promote events, to launch new features, to announce when you hit future milestones, to promote large giveaway competitions, or even to announce your exit (someday!), so do not doubt the value of building your own PR list. My PR list hovers around 3,000-plus reporters (because of churn, layoffs, and unsubscribes), and I started it in 2012 with nothing but 10 to 30 minutes per week, using this exact strategy. I have used this personal list to get clients massive exposure over and over again, to land new partners, attract new employees and interns, secure prizes for giveaways, and much more. Now, af er a Grab my super simple press list template and start your list here: few years, I have even started to get inbound requests from reporters who know me by now, so, please, add this task to your to-do list and keep in mind that it can easily fit into the rest of your workday via calculated 30-minute bursts. 

It’s my hope that every morning when you start your day, you’ll naturally begin by checking your Google Alerts emails, or by just going to Google News yourself, and manually searching to discover new people writing stories about your business and your industry, and then adding new emails daily, to your evergrowing press contact list. If you do that simple exercise every day, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll have 30% of the Public Relations machine handled, and the best part is, you’ll be able to use and reuse that list for years to come.

Step 2: Create the Perfect Press Release

The next major section of becoming your very own PR agency is all about what to do with that very list you’ve been building once you’re ready to start getting eyeballs on your business. In PR, you have to be able to turn what you’re working on into powerful and valuable stories for the media to regurgitate to their audience. There are tons of secret hacks here, and this is where creativity comes in. We’re going to fex our marketing muscles much more now because I’m going to teach you how to craft a perfect press release for each individual category or theme of email addresses you’ve been gathering. The reason we do this is that as the “PR consultant” for your own business, your job will be to come up with various ways your story can be valuable to reporters, writers, and bloggers and test what gets their attention and what doesn’t. 

Just as in several other areas of marketing, and even life, testing multiple strategies will equal a better chance of finding success. The truth is you never truly know what’s going to be valuable for any audience until you test it, so you’ve got to create a few stories in “tracks,” then run with them and see what sticks. So we are going to do just that, for your business, right now, and you might be reading this and thinking that PR couldn’t possibly apply to your early-stage business because “we haven’t helped a million people yet” or “we haven’t made a million dollars, Andrew, so we don’t have a story to tell yet.” It’s in quotations here because I have heard this dozen of times when working with new clients. I think that most people consider “newsworthy” to be synonymous with “famous,” and that’s simply not true when it comes to the press. You can absolutely get in the media without being famous or having made millions of dollars yet. Let me state that unequivocally here. Yet, I hear it over and over again from companies that have just started that they can’t do PR because they haven’t hit any huge milestones, like raising a ton of money or helping end poverty for a million people. The truth is that every company has something to say, and even simply launching can be newsworthy. If you

are truly solving a problem, you are part of the story around that big problem, even if you haven’t solved it yet. I’ve gotten dozens of brand-new startups in the media, and you just need to realize that no matter what phase you’re at, you’re a relevant source for a writer covering your industry. 

Furthermore, if you’re working on a business that isn’t part of solving a larger problem, then you may be working on the wrong business altogether. Maybe you’re a big data company that’s mapping a billion data points regarding hotels; there are niche media that would eat that up. Maybe you’re a brand-new SaaS company that’s helping make remote work easier; well, that’s a huge trending topic in 2021. Maybe you’re a DTC skincare line that’s the first ever to use a certain ingredient. There’s a story in every company that’s doing something to change even a small part of our world. Perhaps you have some amazing history behind your product’s genesis that you can leverage, or maybe you’re just a solution to a big trend in the media right now, and you’re relevant that way. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that here, like with many early-stage startup marketing strategies, you’re going to need to fake it till you make it a bit, but that’s a great “muscle” to exercise as much as possible as a founder, anyways. As an early-stage startup marketer or brand representative, you’ve always got to be speaking about your business, thinking 6 to 12 months ahead of where you are today so that others will follow your vision and believe in the company. That same rule applies when dealing with the media. So, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a reporter and think about what is interesting, exciting, or newsworthy about what you’re doing as a business. That’s what we’re going to focus on for your press release, and we’re going to start by crafting the perfect press release title/subtitle. 

You’re going to open up a new Google Doc (that’s in the same folder as the PR list you just created to keep things organized), and you’re going to start by brainstorming several potential press release titles for your story. I’ve noticed in the past that when I help new companies, the best place to start is with a solid brainstorming session around PR titles, and then the rest seems to flow from there. To make it even easier for you, I’ve placed a few screen grabs from successful PR launches we’ve done in the past three to five years at Growth Experts using these exact methods. These were ALL 100-percent early-stage startups, so don’t get discouraged by how difficult this may feel because these articles DID, indeed, end up landing my clients in Forbes, TechCrunch, INC Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of smaller publications, and they all started with a brainstorm like this. Check these out, then jot down a few of your own ideas below.

Some tips on writing press release good titles: 

1. Keep it short, one line for the title and one line for the subtitle (and no small print)! 

2. Make it interesting but quite vague so they keep reading. 

3. Mention the company name at least once between the title/subtitle. 

4. Use buzz words you believe will be deemed valuable to the reader. 

5. Ask yourself: “Is this valuable to their audience?” If not, start over. 

6. Monetary figures and numbers do well in titles if you’ve got them. 

The most important thing here is that you’re going to want the receiver to be intrigued enough to keep reading, and you want to try and be blatantly obvious so that your message is relevant to the person, so they know you’re not wasting their time. Even though I often say “fake it till you make it,” it’s important that you distinguish the difference between what I encourage around truly existing in the future a bit with your vision for your business and lying. PLEASE do not lie in your press release (or marketing at all for that matter)! It’s going to do more harm than good. Trust me. The last thing you want is to ruin your reputation as a young business before you even truly have one. Instead, just create a bunch of honest but exciting potential titles and ask your close circle of advisors and/or friends to vote on which one(s) they like best. As a rule, you should always get as much feedback as possible on ALL the creatives and marketing campaigns you plan to go public with, beforehand. Your press release is no exception. With that, I’ve actually lined up some free feedback and advice for you in the form of a private discussion group. There you’ll be able to pause and get deeper clarification from me (occasionally, in the form of live office hours) and help from other badass readers of the book on this lesson and all that follow. So, this is a great time to put the book down and join the online discussion via the link on the back of the book. We would all love to see what your PR headlines are and give you our feedback in the group, and even if I’m not available, there will be other members willing to help and be helped with PR. 

That headline that you eventually settle on is also likely going to be the subject of your email when you reach out to your target press list later on, so take the time to get it right. After you feel you’ve gotten the headline you believe will attract the most attention, you’ll go deeper into the problem that you’re solving—writing the rest of your press release. On the next page, you’ll see a breakdown of the core elements that go into a successful press release, and I’ve also attached an entire press release example at the end of this section that you can use as a reference for length and flow. 

One of the most common mistakes I see when people write their first few press releases is that they tend to subconsciously write them like a blog post or article. A press release is different; you are not crafting the final product for the end reader. It doesn’t need to tell a complete story; it needs to convey compelling details to a reporter who will then investigate, embellish, and put a final spin on the topic to make the facts that you sent over into a great read. Notice I said facts. Stick to facts in your release; no opinions. Look at the example above. Underneath your headline, you’ll see that you start with your date and your city where you’re launching from and an introductory paragraph that explains more about what you’re doing. After that introductory paragraph, it’s time to start giving them real value. I am not worried about putting this in print: REPORTERS ARE LAZY!

I have done public speaking on PR hacking in over a dozen countries, and when I ask the audience if anyone is attending with a PR background, there are often a few hands that come up. I then ask the corresponding humans to stop me if I say anything that’s overtly incorrect about PR, or reporters, and every single time, without fail, I see them agree and nod their heads in approval when I say that the press is lazy. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a hard job to do, with constant deadlines, often massive layoffs, and tons of noise to sift through, so I don’t blame them. Because of all of that, reporters are indeed just looking for you to give them everything in the release they would need to tell your story and interest readers/listeners/viewers. So you want to make it as easy for them as possible to have everything they need for their piece of your business, with as few touchpoints and as little time investment from you as possible. 

While trying to give them everything, I still suggest you try and keep your press release to under two pages because just like any other marketing message, there’s a TLDR factor. Just beware of that. As highlighted in the above image, be sure to include a few good quotes about your story as well. An example of an ideal quote could be one from the founder, or the CEO discussing the milestone, the company’s vision, how excited she or he (or you) is to be solving this larger problem, what the company’s success or launch means to the world, etc. Another great quote you could use is a testimonial you have from an early customer or user that explains how amazing the product or service was for transforming this larger problem in their life. If you have investors or advisors that have a big name or notoriety behind them, I suggest you get a quote from them for the release as well. If they are super busy and hard to reach, offer to write a quote for them and get their sign-off on it instead of asking them to create one for you. That will save them some time and make it more likely you’ll get one from them. 

After you get your quotes in there, it’s time to go a bit deeper and add another paragraph about the problem you’re solving, using a few cited large/famous sources or statistics if you can, and that’s pretty much it. There’s no reason to be adding stuff that isn’t valuable just to fuf it up. If your press release turns out to be just a single page but has all of the above info (from the image), that’s fine. 

The last few parts of the press release are to include a detailed company bio, your media representative contact info for the company, and a digital media kit so that reporters have all the images they could ever need without bothering you. 

For the media kit, you’ll simply go and make a Google Drive Folder called Your Company Name Media Kit. Here you’ll want to drop all of your various logos, pictures of your team, product screenshots, maybe your office, or customer-generated content you may want to include in there. Just again, be thinking about anything that could be valuable to a reporter trying to tell your story, like your founder’s headshot(s), images of your product or your team working, etc. With regards to your media contact person, if you’re a one-woman or one-man show, don’t put yourself, the CEO, down as the media contact. I’ve noticed that this makes the company look small and therefore possibly less attractive as a source to the media. Instead, make an alias email, or a fake team member (like, and use that email as your contact person as well as later when you reach out to the press. This will make it look like you’ve got someone handling your PR for you. 

Remember a while back when I said we’d be making a different press release for each story arc? Well, now is the time for you to A/B test a few different releases. Create different press releases for different audiences; the more applicable it is, the better. You’re going to focus on changing the title and subtitle and about 20 percent or so of the text in between each version. In the next section, we will discuss outreach, but you’ll quickly see which release has the “most legs” and stop using the other variations. If you want to start with just one press release, and story, that’s completely fine as well. It all depends on how big you want your PR campaign to be. If you reach out to a sportswriter about your AI startup, you’ve got to make the release talk about how your AI helps people in the sports industry, so just keep it as relevant and valuable as possible and you’ll do great. 

Step 3: Properly Distribute Your Story to the Media, for FREE!

Now it’s GO time. You’ve just spent the last few months working on your product, tightening your message, and taking care of your early customers, and you’re finally ready to make some noise in the media. Epic! By now, I hope you’ve created a powerful story (or stories) about your business, and you’ve lined up at least a few hundred people you want to share said story with, so the last part of your PR puzzle is to effectively and efficiently send your story out and start getting some traction and conversations going. You may be thinking at this point that you can just blast out a big group email and call it a day, and you could. I will include a similar strategy at the end of this section with best practices as a go-to final task in your PR campaign, but first, I’m going to give you some optimal ways to start outreach that will indeed lead to better open rates, better responses, and, in turn, more PR opportunities than just blasting it out with a huge BCC list, so stick with me here. 

First, I want to go over a few scenarios of what will likely happen as you start your PR outreach in order to help you manage your expectations and then give you best practices of how to deal with each one to set you up for maximum success in PR. There are only really three potential positive outcomes from every reporter/writer/ media personality you reach out to: They’re either going to write back saying they’re interested in including a quote or a bit about your company in an already existing story they’re working on; they’re going to copy-paste what you wrote and write a story about you without even telling you (most common); or the third, and the most ideal situation is they want an exclusive interview to create a story just about you and your business (least common, but stay positive!). Granted, another potential outcome is they do absolutely nothing, and you don’t hear back, which is an easy problem to solve—we just automate checking back in with them (more on that later) until they respond. Remember, part of being a great early-stage marketer is going the extra mile and never giving up. Continued focused effort = success in this game. 

The key to your PR outreach success is leading with VALUE. If you take only one thing away from this book, I hope it’s this: more value offered = more success. Because of that, I need you to understand how your business’ story is going to be valuable to each individual person you’re reaching out to and make sure you focus on that in your outreach message. When you do that, with at least some customization between each message, you win 10 times more than the girl or guy who just copy-pastes and spams reporters. They get that a lot, so be different, be relevant, and be valuable. Please keep that in mind—that you are OFFERING value when you’re messaging them; you are not ASKING for value. If you write to a reporter asking or even begging them to cover your story, you will likely never get a response, but if you reframe your message and instead offer them the “chance of a lifetime” to interview this amazing source who’s an expert on XYZ story, you’ll be surprised at how many people really will respond, asking to learn more. 

Next, I want you to split your press list that you’ve just built into two major sections: the high-value people, or the “moonshot opportunities” as I like to call them, and then the rest of the list—the smaller, less powerful opportunities, which are more likely outlets to respond. We do this because we’re going to start by reaching out to the biggest publications first, and I am going to walk you through exactly how to create extra value for them before we message anyone else. I normally recommend that people simply highlight the top 10 percent of people on their PR lists based on potential opportunities. These are the ones who are the biggest potential opportunities, the game-changers, the dream-scenario media placements, and the people that have a huge audience of your target demographic and reach out to those people first. We start there because if we get a few of them to cover us, we’re already set up for a really large launch, plus with regards to the extra value we’re going to offer them, we will promise them exclusives that mean we have to start there, but I will explain that in more detail shortly. 

So there are going to be two major ways that we’re going to reach out to your list, one, for those high-value people, who I’m going to walk you through how to email them directly, and then the bulk email-blast way for all the hundreds of smaller opportunities, using some cool automation to ensure that they see our mails without us spending tons of time on them. 

Starting with that top 10 percent that you’ve just highlighted, you’re going to begin by emailing them individually, one at a time, with a message that’s as customized as possible. See the very short, personalized message below. Now we will go super deep on cold outreach in the email marketing chapter, but I at least want to mention that when cold emailing for your PR efforts, you need to keep your email about half the size you think is acceptable. That means that I want you to reduce your email by 50% before you send it out. In general the shorter the email, the more it’ll get read. I very often review new teams’ cold outreach templates and am blown away at how much info they try to give the receiver on the very first email touchpoint. It’s a failure because the overwhelming majority of your receivers are going to be reading the email on their phone, and what happens when we see a huge email on our phone? We skip it entirely, as it’s just too much of an ask to even read the thing. With that being said, my first piece of advice on cold email outreach for PR is to always remove 50 percent of the message before actually sending it out. Even if this feels too short, it’s probably the right length, as vagueness also draws a better response rate. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the number one tip for cold emailing is to use “vague, short headlines get the most open,” and the same goes for your email body too. 

When it comes to email marketing, headlines have one key objective: to get the recipient to open the email. But what happens after they open the email is based on the size of the message as much as the content itself. TLDR applies to cold outreach as well, so keep your messages insanely short at first and just focus on saying three things:

1. Who you are. 

2. What you’ve got for them. 3. Your call to action.

3. Your call to action.

Ok, as you can probably surmise there is lots more to learn when it comes to PR hacking but I had to cut the blog post a little bit s little short due to character limits but here’s the link to the book I wrote:

If you are interested in working with me check out: to learn more about how I help startups!

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