In the past four months we have talked with over 200 founders about their interactions with public relations. Not a single one of them had a good experience with PR. “Overpriced” was the number one complaint we heard. “Difficult” was the number two complaint. Many of the founders who’d raised money had chosen to work with an agency and all of them told us they regretted it.

PressFriendly logo

Founder complaints about working with agencies were voluminous: charged too much; didn’t deliver; passed me off to junior people; didn’t understand our business, et cetera. The most common complaint was that the ROI wasn’t there. For early-stage founders, the lack of ROI was the real deal-breaker.

Founders who did their own PR had different complaints, mostly that they didn’t know what to do and weren’t able to connect with the reporters they wanted to. They also complained about excel spreadsheets and unreliable data.

None of these complaints were new to us, because I have hired and fired 5 agencies at previous startups and had taken PR in-house at HelloSign. The simple fact of the matter is that PR is difficult and no one has succeeded in making it an easier experience. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

Think about how difficult email marketing was before MailChimp.
Think about how what it took to run an A-B test before Optimizely.
Think about what customer support looked like before UserVoice.
Think about doing content marketing before the myriad of publishing tools became available.

During customer development we were able to identify what PR software should look like. It would be instructive. It would be intuitive. It would help you plan and build. So that’s how we built PressFriendly. There are four primary components of our service:

Pitch-builder The pitch-builder walks you through the process of getting your pitch ready for reporters. It’s filled with examples and explanations to teach startups to tell stories in a way that makes them newsworthy

Consultation It’s always helpful to have someone review your pitch and give you feedback. PressFriendly has a team of PR consultants to walk through your pitch and make constructive comments. We also have plans that include additional consulting services for startups looking for campaign planning assistance or a full agency replacement.

Reporter Lists The list of media targets is automatically generated after completing the pitch-builder. This list is built using machine learning techniques to compare your pitch to what reporters are likely to write based on their post history. This goes far beyond simple keyword matching. We also allow you to email to reporters directly through the tool, so you don’t have to leave the site to send your pitches.

Editorial Calendar This is automatically generated after completing the pitch-builder as well. The editorial calendar provides story opportunities throughout the year. Want to be included in “best workplaces” list? Need to know when to begin planning your April Fool’s pitch? The editorial calendar will proactively identify the opportunities for your company.

We’re excited to be opening up PressFriendly to more users and we look forward to helping you get press.

About The Author

Joel is the CEO of PressFriendly. He is an enthusiast of startups, his three sons, Scotch and Philadelphia sports teams.

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