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Guest Post: 4 Things to Mention When Counseling Your Portfolio Companies on Public Relations

With offices in Seattle, Denver, and Detroit, 2017 Bronze Service Provider Member, Barokas PR works with entrepreneurs in emerging and high-growth industries. In this exclusive guest post, Director of Barokas PR’s Detroit office, Rachel Fukaya shares her insights on how startups in the community can jump-start their PR programs and share the great activity happening in Michigan’s entrepreneurial and investment community.


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Rachel Fukaya, Director of Barokas PR Detroit Office

As many of you in the MVCA community already know, Barokas PR opened up shop in Detroit last month, launching its Midwest presence at a wildly successful Detroit Startup Week. To kick things off, our team moderated a panel with reporters from TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, and Crain’s Detroit Business, to discuss all things PR!

Here are four takeaways to share with your portfolio companies:

1. If you’re not ready to onboard an agency, doing your media relations PR work is best done by selecting a handful of highly relevant targets and crafting a story specifically for them.

The biggest PR mistake entrepreneurs (and PR professionals) make is blanket emailing reporters the same pitch, who don’t cover their space or who just aren’t applicable. Chad Livengood, of Crain’s Detroit, mentioned during our panel that he once received an invitation from a PR person to attend an event in London when he had no plans of traveling to the U.K. Avoid these kinds of time-wasting tactics. Reporters will end up blacklisting you.

2. The press doesn’t owe you anything, and reporters aren’t interested in writing company or product puff pieces. What’s fit to print explores the idea and the entrepreneur behind the why the company/product.

Reporters can’t cover every company. There are too many companies doing the same thing to make this a viable media model. Companies getting covered dig deep into the experience or force that led an entrepreneur to come up with an idea.

3. When you’re ready to partner with a PR agency, make sure to ask this question: Will the agency come to us with press/story ideas or will they rely on our internal team to direct them?

Too often, agencies wait for their clients to dictate what the story is. A PR partner worth hiring will integrate themselves into your company, the industry, and your competitors so they can bring the story ideas to you. This should be the main reason you pay a PR agency.

4. A good PR agency/person doesn’t just sell you on their reporter relationships.

Anyone with a computer can email a reporter a story idea. PR is no longer about access. It’s about the ability to tell a good story. This includes truly understanding what a company does, how they fit into the larger industry and their strengths/weaknesses. This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recommendations for companies managing their own PR program or hiring an agency to drive PR strategy. PR can be a valuable driver of brand awareness and customer acquisition, but only if done right.

These tips are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recommendations for companies managing their own PR program or hiring an agency to drive PR strategy. PR can be a valuable driver of brand awareness and customer acquisition, but only if done right.


About Barokas PR

Barokas Public Relations is a collection of storytellers that believe in the power of opportunity. This core belief empowers them to push boundaries with their ‘No BS’ approach. Barokas PR works with entrepreneurs in emerging and high-growth industries. While they spend most of their days talking about the future, they embrace an old-school approach to relationships. They’re with you through the good times and the challenging ones. Barokas PR has represented notable brands including Acorns, Apptio, Atari, Cisco, Coachella, Concur, Ibotta, Harley Davidson, Opsware, Pokémon, Red Bull, Techstars and much more. In line with the agency’s motto of “PR Minus the BS,” Barokas PR provides a flexible model to support the evolving needs of startups across the tech industry and other growing markets.

Read more about this 2017 MVCA Service Provider Member.


Posted June 20, 2017 in Member Feature | MEMBER NEWS