📝 32 Things to Do Before Contacting PR Firms

How to get prepared for PR | Avoid burning 💰

Hiya! It’s me John delivering a PR Now Friday edition that will help you get ready for a PR partnership. But first, it’s likely:

Follow the Boy Scout Motto, “Be Prepared”

Being prepared for a relationship that directly impacts your brand’s reputation, narrative, sales, partnerships, recruitment, content and more is a no-brainer. Sadly, few tech companies know what to do before looking for a PR partner.

I believe the blame mainly falls on the shoulders of PR professionals for:

  1. not informing prospects about how to be prepared

  2. taking on clients that don’t have the necessary items in place

PR pros are responsible for telling prospects what they need at the beginning of the relationship or want them to know. What the public relations industry as a whole fails at is informing vendors of their “homework” to complete before approaching a potential PR partner. Still, there’s no reason for hordes of B2B tech companies to have PR horror stories.

When vendors aren’t prepared, the all-too-common scenario goes like this:

  1. Vendors hire a PR agency or solo practitioner

  2. Money is burnt the first few months 🔥

  3. Clients become frustrated with the lack of results 😡

  4. Clients say “PR doesn’t work” or "Where are the results?” 🙄

  5. The negative stigma of PR continues

Through some fault of their own, vendors regularly:

  • Go into PR engagements without knowing or accepting their duties

  • Choose the wrong point person to manage the relationship

  • Choose the wrong partner based on senseless factors like location or size

  • Do not have a compelling story to tell

  • Can’t deliver what the PR pros needed to be successful

When people say “PR doesn’t work,” it’s usually because of one or more of the reasons above.

Let’s get you what you came for!

32 Things for Tech Vendors to Do Before Contacting PR Firms

  1. Know what you want (launch company/product, promote an event, snag investment attention, adjust perception)

  2. Contact peers — ask how they evaluated and chose a firm, set budget, etc.

  3. Know that size doesn’t matter. Find a firm who ‘gets’ your business (and its jargon). Do you want junior people at “the safe choice” learning on your dime?

  4. Forget the idea that it is all about the ‘contacts’ PR people have

  5. Determine if you need ongoing or project support

  6. Research the benefits a PR partner can provide

  7. Find out what your customers read/consume/listen to

  8. Understand how to measure PR

  9. Identify the media outlets your competitor’s execs are appearing in and look for patterns in coverage

  10. Identify customers who will speak to media about their wins with you

  11. Set a budget range

  12. Choose someone who can manage the relationship and is open-minded about what PR can offer your business

  13. Start thinking about what type of data-led stories only you can tell

  14. Know your brand story (if not written down, it doesn’t exist)

  15. Know your founder's story (put it on paper!)

  16. Know your product-market fit (put it on paper!!)

  17. Know your value proposition (put it on paper!!)

  18. Know your target audience and their needs (put it on PAPER!!)

  19. Know your positioning

  20. Know how to quickly explain your differentiators

  21. Have consistent messaging

  22. Accept the fact that press releases are nearly useless

  23. Accept that a PR partner is a direct link to potential customers

  24. Accept that reporters don’t care about your features/widgets

  25. Choose in-house subject matter experts (SMEs)

  26. Make sure that SMEs can make the time

  27. Write 4-5 sentence bios for SMEs

  28. Get SME headshots (tight + wide) done

  29. Put company assets (hi-res logo variations, office pictures) in a folder

  30. Have 3-4 completed case studies

  31. Accept that all your story ideas might not be newsworthy

  32. Develop a batch of news angles to present to your PR partner


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-John