How to kickstart your international PR efforts

Once your company is ready for an international expansion, you want to consider international PR. It’s one of the critical strategies for building brand awareness and trust in new markets. After all, earned media coverage reaches a much wider audience than marketing will ever do, and the price is a fraction compared to a multi-channel advertisement. It’s an easy decision to make. Let’s do it!

Now what?

As a growth company leader, this might be the first time you are even thinking of doing PR, let alone international PR. Perhaps you don’t conveniently have a TechCrunch editor’s phone number on speed dial either? So you have to start building your international media relationships from scratch.

Here are some practical tips on how to get started.


Always start with solid journalist and media research

It all starts with finding the right people to contact. Journalists who cover your industry, the stage where your company is at, or the right geographical area.
As a tech startup or growth company, you want to map all the major tech, investing, and startup media outlets. There are different tiers to this. Almost every country has media and journalists specializing in startups and growth companies. Earmark those, to begin with. Then there’s the European tech media outlet scene, which includes media outlets such as, Sifted, EU-Startups, and Silicon Canals. There are also global tech media companies that are usually headquartered in the US, like TechCrunch
While these are relevant for you, be aware that even within those media outlets, each journalist has a different area of interest. So before pitching, find one that cares about similar things to what you do. 
But really, the place to start with is your own industry. There are usually multiple industry media outlets in the global, English-speaking media scene. They might have a smaller reach than general media outlets, but they are great because they speak directly to your audience. In addition, there are industry media outlets in most languages, so you need to find ones that match your ambitions.
Finally, almost all tier 1 media outlets have local journalists covering the region. For example, Financial Times has European correspondents, and Bloomberg and Reuters have Nordic correspondents. Find out who they are and start planning how to pitch to them. Bear in mind that the bigger the media, the bigger the news has to be. For example, Bloomberg only covers funding news if they are more than €100M. 
Still trying to figure out how to start? Let’s say you are a Swedish startup with an HR tech solution; you could type in Google news: “global HR tech trends 2023” or “HR news Europe.” See who’s written about the topic. Start from there. 

Decide ON your spokesperson and have materials ready


Deciding on the company spokesperson is something you should do before you start reaching out to international journalists. In many cases, the CEO is the most logical one. However, suppose you are entering a market that isn’t part of the English-speaking world. In that case, you might consider swapping your spokesperson from CEO to the local country manager. 

Pitching and having press releases in local languages are a must-have – and offering journalists an opportunity to interview someone who can express locally relevant insights into culture and market in the local language can be crucial in getting international journalists to write in-depth articles about your company.

Consider also doing some basic media training for the spokesperson so they are equipped with interview techniques and best practices and know the core message you want to convey. 


Sorry, but wanting new customers is not newsworthy 

Every company entering a new market aims to gain traction and find paying customers in every market it operates in. Unfortunately, I’ve got news for you: that is not newsworthy. To have international journalists interested in you, you need to have some of the following pieces in place:
  • Internationally relevant and interesting data or insights about a trend, market, or behavior. 
  • Local or global clients that show you are a legitimate and exciting player in the market. 
  • Local or global investors or partners that create trust and have good brand awareness themselves. 
  • Big enough numbers in terms of growth, customers, team, or another metric that shows that you are here to stay.
  • And most importantly… A newsworthy story that hauls you over that last hurdle of getting international journalists to pay attention to you. 
If you check these boxes, what are you waiting for?

Time to get started!

Download our free beginner’s guide to international PR, with free templates, tips, and more!

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