How I managed 11 simultaneous press releases with the help of Valosan
Reading time: 4 minutes
November is notoriously busy for everyone working in the startup ecosystem. It’s a month of raising money, closing deals, and finishing new hires before Christmas culminates in the flagship event of the year, Slush, which draws tech-junkies from all corners of the world to the dark and slushy Helsinki. In 2021, the buzz was even louder after two years of remote work and everyone distancing themselves from fellow entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem.
As a result, many companies wanted to be part of the phenomenon by announcing their latest funding round, product release, or other significant news in parallel with the event.
Looking at my calendar in the beginning of November made me sweat a few selected bullets of nerve cells. How would I be able to create, pitch, distribute and collect media hits for 11 different press releases, written in both Finnish and English?
The only way I was able to manage this was with the help of Valosan – the most powerful PR software for managing media relationships.
Building media relationships starts with pitching
Every single press release needs a media list of its own, where you have identified the bigger distribution list, as well as 20-30 VIP journalists from the industry. For the VIPs, you offer the chance to get the press release under embargo. They are the ones you want to give some time to familiarize themselves with the story, and conduct possible interviews and photoshoots.
But before we get to interviews, the story needs to be pitched. With Valosan, you can create all the content you need in one go. You can create your
- Press release
- Pitch email
- Followup email
and upload them to Valosan, which connects to your GMail account. Valosan helps you personalize your pitch to each journalist – something that can not be overlooked, if you want them to take your pitch seriously.
When I started pitching all 11 press releases, I would have been in serious trouble without the help of Valosan. The tool told me who I had pitched to, who still needed pitching, who had responded and who had received the press release. Can you imagine how to manage that with the help of endless copy-c, copy-v and writing constant update notes to an excel sheet? PR has for too long been reliant on old, manual methods. It’s time to hop on the software bandwagon, fellow media managers.
Valosan even tells me when to send a followup email – you need to give the journalist some time to work through their inboxes, as they receive hundreds of pitches and press releases every_single_day. Would you be able to handle it? I doubt it. So give the journalist the time and space to read your first message. However, following up will ensure that they haven’t missed the opportunity in the rush.
My clients were obviously interested in how the pitching proceeds. You can give so-called client access to Valosan, where different stakeholders can see the progress of your pitching. That removes the pressure for me to send individual messages to each client, telling them exactly what journalists have declined, responded, wanted the release, and so on.
Scheduled mass sendouts ease the stress of a poor PR person
After weeks of passive-aggressive pitching, follow ups, scheduling interviews, managing media kits, and sparring with founders, it is time to send the press releases out to a bigger mass of journalists and newsrooms. As Fridays and Mondays are bad press days, our strong recommendation is to send out the press release between Tuesday and Thursday. Exact embargo time should be decided based on the time zone of the recipient – you don’t want to send a US release during the European morning time – it’s hard to prepare a story when one is still drooling on their pillow and dreaming of a restriction-free life.
Managing different sendout times and time zones would be an absolute brain twister without Valosan. With Valosan, you can prepare your email sendout with just a couple of clicks, while the tool automatically suggests the embargo time as the sendout time.
Meaning you don’t have to be waking up together with nocturnal mammals, preparing a sendout while crying on the inside because you keep checking if you are sending the right press release to the right distribution list at the right time. Prepare and schedule the sendout when you want, where you want, and it will be all ready when the embargo is lifted.
Don’t forget to collect the great results and report them
One thing that is a major hassle but probably the most important thing is to make sure you collect all media hits (that means, news) where you can easily store them and make sure that the rest of your team can use them for social media usage (for example).
In Valosan, you can collect URL links to the media hits – Valosan takes screenshots and collects all major data points from the news article. When the hits have quieted down, you can export the whole report from Valosan as a .pdf file and send it to all stakeholders that would like to know how your campaign went.
In short, without Valosan, November 2021 would have been the end of me – and possibly my career in PR. Instead I had multiple happy clients with amazing results from international and local top-tier media.
As a strong advocate for new technological innovations, I believe that where people fall short, software helps them reach new heights. November 2021 just proved that.
Reetta Ilo is the Head of Startups at San Francisco Agency. She is a qualified startup ecosystem mongler and dog mother extraordinaire. Her expertise lies in understanding the challenges and opportunities for startups and investors, while helping their stories and impact to be heard all across the world.
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