• Content: anything you create and distribute on your own channels to attract a specific audience
  • PR: Pitching to independent media participants
  • It's the primary job of the founder to tell the story of your startup and it's best to start practicing early.
  • It needs to be clear and succinct so that other people can repeat your story easily.  This is a prerequisite for virality.
  • Make sure that what you're building is what people want.  Write code and talk to users.
  • Press is not a scalable strategy; it can help you get an initial inbound, but it's not something you can rely on long-term for growth.
  • If you've made something that people want, then you want to start producing content and telling the story.
  • Treat your content like you treat your product.  Make something your users want.
  • You want to target either engagement (for communities) or conversions (for products)
  • MixPanel is more precise than GA
  • Your objective is to share content that resonates with your audience directly to niches of your audience
  • You want to figure out what does well in these niches.  Essays do well on hacker news.  You want to make stuff that does well on your target platforms.
  • You want to brainstorm about how to make above-average, original content.
  • The Onion chooses headlines by having 10-15 people generate 10-15 headlines every week and send them to the editor and then the editor strips the names and sends them to everyone, and then they pick the top 10.
  • To make something good, you have to dedicate real time to it.  Brainstorming takes time.  It could take a whole day, even three days, to write a quality post.
  • Be prepared to edit a lot.  Your language should be very concise.  You will be killing a lot of weak content.
  • Promotion is boring but necessary.  You'll need a different version for each platform, and not everything works everywhere.
  • Text-based interviews work really well.
  • Later on, publishing books is an option too.
  • When should you focus on PR?
    • For most, it's best to wait to pitch until there's a clear call to action.
    • You generally want to wait until you have an active userbase before you pitch any press
    • Most media outlets don't cover early-stage startups anymore.
    • Think about what you're pitching objectively.  Why should they care about this?  Why now?
  • How?
    • Don't hire PR firms.
    • The relationships that you build with press now will persist throughout the lifetime of your company.  So you want to get it right.
    • The most interesting stories will come from you.  You know your mission better than anyone else.
    • PR firms have connections to reporters, but you can build those yourself.  Treat PR like business development.
    • Read about the news in your industry.
    • Keep a list of publications that cover your space, a list of media outlets that your users read, and a list of journalists that cover your vertical.
    • Think about milestones and things that are worthy of covering on a regular cadence.
    • Clearly define your goals: who are your users?  Where are they?  What's your vertical?
    • You then want to draft a one-sentence pitch, a 3-5 sentence pitch, and then FAQs that answer questions asked by reporters to early-stage startups
  • One-sentence pitch:
    • What are you building?
    • Who are you building it for?
    • This should be articulated in jargon-free terms that anyone can understand and repeat.
    • Example: "Orby is building flying robots that help businesses monitor inventory and do surveillance."
    • You want anyone to be able to easily remember your one-sentence pitch.
    • Example: "Smart, eco-friendly boxes for food delivery"
    • A one-sentence pitch isn't going to capture everything you're doing.  But you don't need to do that in a one-sentence pitch.  You want to make it clear and compelling enough that people will ask questions.
  • 3-5 sentence pitch:
    • What does your company do?
    • Who is the customer?
    • Why is it better than what's currently in the market?
    • Anything particularly notable?
    • Example: "Orby is building flying obots that hep businesses monitor inventory and do surveillance.  They were designed with safety in mind, and are outfitted with lightweight vision sensors that let them navigate autonomously alongside retail or warehouse employees.  Orby can save an employee hours of manual work per shift so that they can spend time on tasks that matter more -- like serving customers.  The company is currently in pilot talks with major US retailers."
    • You can even talk about the market that you're in, its trend
  • You want to be able to answer all of these questions:


  • Draft really succinct answers to these.
  • It's good to practice, but don't over-rehearse.  Think about the top three bullets you want to convey and then let everything else flow organically.
  • Once you've done these, you have to answer:
    • Why now?  If you can show that you're part of a trend, your job will be easier.
    • "Orby is giving brick and mortar stores a fighting chance against Amazon."
    • What's happening in the world?  Don't try to pitch during big news events.  You're competing for mind-share.
  • Then you can pick your target.  Who is your audience, what do they read?  Stack rank your top publications and be realistic.
  • Give an exclusive to your first choice.  Tell them that it's an exclusive.
  • The best way to get in touch with reporters is with warm introductions, just like business development.  Cold emailing maybe get 1 in 10 response; warm intros are better.  Look for someone who's been covered by them and ask them for a warm introduction.  Make it as easy as possible for them to introduce you.  Draft the email for them!


  • NO LONGER THAN THIS
  • If you get covered, promote it to all of your channels.  Let your users know!