How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
March 20th, 2019
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The power of PR Hacking is crazy.

When I was young, I wanted to be a famous musician. I reached out to many publications to cover my music, but no one would. At the same time, one of my closest friends, Connor, got a ton of his music covered.

The difference?

Connor personalized his outreach to the bloggers. He’d write about previous posts they’d published and pitch stories around his music.

That’s when I realized there was a systematic way to get PR placements. How to get press for your startup?

Let’s break it down.

Table of Contents

Types of PR Placements

Why Does It Matter?

Start With Data

Personalize It

How to Structure Your Email in Terms of PR

How to Get Press For Your Startup? Start the Process!

Types of PR Placements

  • Interviews

This can be an interview on a podcast or a full-fledge write-up like we do on the BAMF Media blog. It can even be in the form of a short video or a snippet of a webinar.

You can also take a video of the interview being done during a podcast and use this as extra content down the line or to promote the interview.

  • Featured Stories

This is more of a “Hey, check out the story of this team or product.” You can do this by connecting with other influencers in the industry or utilizing your current network.

  • Paid Placements

This is when a blogger, fan page, or influencer responds, “Hey, it will cost this much for a shout out.” These are alright, but you should first exhaust the ways you’ll get placements for free.

  • Product Reviews / Testimonials

These are great for building social proof for your product. We’re all familiar with how many times we check out reviews before we cop anything from Amazon.

In this day and age, people look at reviews as an indicator of your product.

how to get press for your startup

YouTube videos rank on Google Search, too. If they link out to you, you also get the benefit of a backlink.

This is a good SEO benefit because when they search for a keyword that you are trying to rank for or your brand name, you get a lot of people linking out to you and providing multiple results.

It adds to your credibility.

However, we don’t advise that you use fake reviews such as the ones prevalent in places like Amazon or Google, these can get penalized and people will know.

Why Does it Matter?

By getting PR placements, you can build on third-party credibility.

It’s the difference between you saying you’re great vs. the opposing team’s coach calling you a star player. Not only does is build credibility, but it can often send a wave of traffic to your site.

In our case, we use the third-party credibility to warm cold audiences with Facebook ads.

This way when we run an ad later to the same audience to visit our page, we get much more positive feedback. There are even more benefits, including building your site authority with Google.

The more content you have from well-renowned sources linking to your site, the better Google will treat your site when it comes to ranking content.
People want to be able to trust you without you telling them to trust you.

Think about it this way, aren’t you more intrigued about a product when another party – that is not related to the producer – is telling you that it’s the bomb? It adds proof to your capabilities.

Using the tool, Alexa, we can see all the websites linking into BAMF.Media.

how to do pr for a startup

Depending on the placement, you can get upwards to thousands of visitors from one article.

If you have a story worth sharing, often you can get it placed many times from tutorials, reviews, and features which can turn PR into a scalable marketing channel.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there is also added traffic coming in from sources such as Facebook.

Some of these mediums might post their content on social platforms where more people can click on it, from there, their readers can also potentially click on your link.

Start with Data

To get placements, you need the contact info of journalists, podcasters, and fan pages.

An easy way to get this data is to download it from BuzzSumo for journalists, have a virtual assistant scrape iTunes for podcasters, or use Socialbakers for fan pages.

However, BuzzSumo isn’t the only application available that allows you options to connect with influencers. There are other ones out there such as Social Animal that provide you with this option.

For BuzzSumo, we search for content relevant to our subject matter.

If we’re a tea company, then we may search “tea.” This will bring up every article about tea. We can set preferences for when these articles were written from the last 24 hours to 5 years.

PR, How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

The next step is to click the Export button and download this data.

Here’s what it looks like:

PR, How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

Once you have this data, make sure to clean it up. All you need is the author’s name and website URL. From there, break apart the company name from the website URL by using the Power Tools’ Google Sheet add-on.

Once you do that, you can now process this data through to get their emails using the Email Finder feature.

PR, How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

You can do the same with Anyleads.

PR, How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

Better yet, you can use Phantombuster to get the LinkedIn URLs of the people you have in your Google Sheet using their LinkedIn Profile URL Finder API.

Then you can process this into Anyleads to get their personal emails.

Contactout will also give you their personal emails. From there, you can upload this list io Facebook as a custom audience.

This will give you the ability to remarket to these journalists about your company before they even get your pitch.

The same process works with Facebook fan pages using Socialbakers.

PR, How to Get Press for Your Startup in 2020 with PR Hacking

Here’s the resulting data.


There a couple of ways to do this one. You can either DM their page or use to pull employee emails from each company’s marketing department at scale.


For podcasts, select a category and/or subcategory of podcasts you want to scrape using the iTunes desktop podcast library.


Copy and paste the podcast list to Column A in a new Google sheet. Since the list is separated by alphabetical page, you will need to get a virtual assistant to copy and paste the list 27 times (A-Z, #) in order to get a complete list.

Or have them use Listly’s bulk URL processor to get all the data from each page in one click.


Remove “(MP3)” and “(HD)” words from column one by using the Power Tools add-on (Add-ons > Power Tools > Remove > Remove a substring: > “(MP3)”, “(HD)” > Remove).

Alternatively, you can use the Replace functionality on Google Sheets.


Update the Google sheet settings so that anyone with the shareable link can view it. Run the Google Sheet through Phantombuster’s Domain Name Finder.

  1. Spreadsheet URL: [shareable Google sheet URL]
  2. Column name… : [*no text*]
  3. Ignored domains: []





how to do pr for a startup

Save, then launch Phantombuster. Depending on your list size, this may take a few minutes to a few hours. Export the list and upload to a new Google Sheet.


Run the Domain Name Finder worksheet through Phantombuster’s LinkedIn Company URL Finder. Export the results to a new Google Sheet.

Next, run this worksheet through Phantombuster’s LinkedIn Companies Employees.

Export the results to a new Google Sheet. Format “currentJob” column so all rows contain the string “host.”

From here, filter by relevant job title. Then use Linked Helper to LinkedIn message them at scale based on their LinkedIn URL and Hunter to bulk process the filtered list into emails.

Personalize it

This part is a bit harder. You need a virtual assistant to check out the post from each blogger and description from each podcaster. Then use a piece of it in the email or LinkedIn message.

The idea here is to make it feel natural.


If the recipient feels like you sent that message only to them, then they’ll be more likely to respond to your emails and messages.

Remember, personalization is one of the most effective ways of reaching out to your prospects. It makes them feel special, and everyone wants to feel that you’ve taken the time to reach out to them.

This is the reason why you can’t just rely on autofill fields on your marketing automation suite to do the customization for you.

A lot of people are aware of autofill fields and they know that some marketers are just using a machine to fill out their first name or their job title.

By putting in just a little bit of effort into your outreach, you can connect with people on a more personal level. This helps push for a proper relationship.

How to Structure Your Email in Terms of PR

Personalized Intro

  • Example: Pre-written personal blogger statements
  • 1-2 sentence pitch
  • 3-4 value props / topics of interest
    • buzzworthy stories related to brand
    • thought leadership / subject-matter expertise
    • how we did XYZ to achieve X
    • notable milestones / accomplishments
  • Define Clear Call to Action (CTA)
    • “Scheduling a call, interview, next steps, let’s chat”
  • Sender Persona + Profile Pic

You can switch this out depending on your needs and it also isn’t advisable to keep reusing the same template over and over again.

There are different methods to start a conversation, you can compliment them, ask them for help or follow our powerful template above to start a discussion.

Also, remember this:

Make sure that you don’t accidentally email bloggers from the same organization the same outreach template.

If you can, just contact them one at a time. If you send a group of bloggers in an organization the same message, it may come off as desperate.

How to Get Press For Your Startup? Start the Process!

I’d recommend using the tool Mailshake to send emails in – there are other tools, too, – ideally, in five-stage sequences. Sync Mailshake with Calendly using  Zapier.

If your main call to action is to book a call using Calendly, then you can use this Zap to take the recipient out of the sequence if they book.

Mailshake can also be used to automate various marketing and outreach functions that you may have.

Here’s an example email:


The results?


There are still a couple of additional things that you have to do to streamline your process and automate it for maximum outreach effectiveness.

First of all, make sure that you’ve set up methods to follow-up on an email that wasn’t opened. MailShake has functions that will enable you to automatically send follow-up emails unless they reply to your email.

Simple messages with subject lines that indicate you’re following up can go a long way.

A lot of leads are lost when marketers fail to send a message to follow up on their query and it’s the same case with outreach emails such as these.

Some people won’t respond at all, but there are still those who have genuinely missed your emails. Email automation platforms such as MailShake eliminate these issues.

Another thing that you have to consider is your metrics when it comes to these cold emails.

You have to take note of how many people are opening or clicking through an email based on the points that you’re delivering with your message.

It takes constant tweaking in order for you to achieve a perfect template that you can send out regularly.

Lastly, make sure that you practice good email habits. Don’t send way too many emails in one day, it’s considered spammy and so are highly identical emails. This is the reason we advise you spend some time customizing each email. Not only does it work great for what you’re doing, but it also drives the message home on a personal level.

Keep track of what you’re doing and keep tweaking until you’re outperforming yourself.


Use Your Powers Wisely

With the right story and the right recipients, you can seed the next viral story.

So, how to get press for your startup?

Strategize properly.

Imagine your product being talked about across many publications from TechCrunch to Time. Traffic. Backlinks. Customers. All at your fingertips.

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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