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The ultimate guide to PR | Emilie Gerber (founder of Six Eastern)

The ultimate guide to PR | Emilie Gerber (founder of Six Eastern)


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Emilie Gerber is the founder and CEO of Six Eastern, a top PR agency that’s worked with over 100 tech companies, from stealth startups to publicly traded companies. Before starting her own firm, she worked at Uber, where she led PR for the business development team and B2B programs. Prior to that, she worked at Box on product communications, with a focus on product launches and partnership announcements. In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Why, and when, getting press is worth your time

  • Common misconceptions about the impact press can have

  • The second-order effects of press

  • Which areas each publication (TechCrunch, Axios, The Verge, etc.) cares most about

  • How to craft your pitch

  • How to find and reach reporters

  • How pitching press is different from pitching customers

  • The effectiveness of direct communication through social media versus traditional press

Some takeaways:

  1. While press coverage may not always result in immediate tangible benefits like increased sign-ups, its role in building credibility and trust can have significant long-term impacts on a business’s growth and success, especially in B2B contexts.

  2. If your pitch to the press is more than three sentences, it’s probably too long. Keeping your pitch simple can increase the chances of getting picked up. Clearly state your company’s purpose, newsworthiness, and desired outcomes of the coverage.

  3. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, tailor your pitches to align with the focus and interests of each publication. For example:

    1. TechCrunch: Ideal for funding announcements and product news, but may struggle with certain niche topics like health tech or martech.

    2. Axios: Strong on fintech and health care, with a focus on deals and partnerships rather than product announcements. Consider their local editions for region-specific stories.

    3. Business Insider: Valuable for pitch deck stories and entrepreneurial journey pieces, emphasizing metrics and business performance. Also offers opportunities for inclusion in lists of top startups or professionals in various fields.

    4. VentureBeat: AI.

    5. Mainstream outlets like CNBC and the WSJ often require detailed business metrics for feature stories, and opportunities for startups are limited.

  4. Instead of claiming to be the first in a new category, focus on highlighting how your offering improves upon what established players already do. This makes it easier for reporters to understand your solution’s value proposition and increases the likelihood of capturing their attention.

  5. Pitching the press is different from pitching customers—it’s not all about key metrics. Highlight angles that will resonate with their audience, like your founder story or the product’s user journey. Some reporters may be interested in your potential to disrupt incumbents.

  6. Expand beyond mainstream media coverage by engaging with newsletters, podcasts, awards, and conference speaking engagements. These platforms reach engaged audiences and amplify your message.

  7. Startups should opt for smaller PR agencies over larger firms. Costs vary, typically ranging from $10k to $20k for one-time stories, while retainers start around $10k per month for boutique agencies. When selecting an agency, ensure that their recent work, messaging strategy, and flexibility with announcement schedules align with your business goals.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Where to find Emilie Gerber:

• Substack: http://onbackgroundintel.substack.com

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilie-gerber-59612230/

• Website: https://sixeastern.com/

• Email: hello@sixeastern.com

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Emilie’s background

(04:56) The value of press and second-order effects

(12:57) When press is not worth your time

(17:01) Different publications and their suitability

(25:36) Avoiding negative stories

(27:23) Finding aligned podcasts and awards

(30:55) Advice for reaching out to reporters

(37:23) Controversial pitches

(41:16) Avoiding category creation

(43:26) Examples of pitches that have worked well

(52:35) Pitching to Lenny

(55:42) Effective pitching strategies

(57:44) Improving pitch announcements

(01:03:01) Press releases

(01:07:06) Crafting a compelling story

(01:09:41) Traditional press vs. newsletters, podcasts, and social media

(01:12:43) Building a social media presence

(01:17:54) How to get a Morning Brew feature

(01:19:32) Advice on choosing a PR agency

(01:22:25) Timing and budget for PR

(01:25:31) Lightning round


• Perplexity: https://www.perplexity.ai/

• Who is Lenny Rachitsky? And what does he know that you don’t about making millions writing online?: https://www.fastcompany.com/90940453/lenny-rachitsky-newsletter-podcast-job-board-substack

• 42-year-old brings in an average of $41,000 a month from his podcast and works on it just 5 hours a week: https://www.cnbc.com/2024/01/11/lenny-rachitsky-podcast-brings-in-more-than-500k-a-year-heres-how.html

• How This Newsletter Writer Got More Than 300,000 Subscribers, and Now Makes “Significantly More” Than He Did at His Day Job: https://www.entrepreneur.com/starting-a-business/how-this-newsletter-writer-got-more-than-300000/447172

Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/

• Contraline: https://www.contraline.com/

Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/

• TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/

• Axios: https://www.axios.com/

Fortune: https://fortune.com/

• Term Sheet: https://fortune.com/tag/term-sheet/

The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/

Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/

• Found podcast: https://techcrunch.com/tag/found/

• Equity podcast: https://techcrunch.com/tag/equity-podcast/

• VentureBeat: https://venturebeat.com/

Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/

• Clockwise: https://www.getclockwise.com

• Shopify deleted 322,000 hours of meetings. Should the rest of us be jealous?: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/15/1156804295/shopify-delete-meetings-zoom-virtual-productivity

• Shopify canceled all recurring meetings. Should you too?: https://www.getclockwise.com/blog/shopify-cancels-meetings

• Shopify’s new meeting cost calculator is well intentioned—but it’s not addressing the issue: https://www.fastcompany.com/90930137/shopifys-new-meeting-cost-calculator-is-well-intentioned-but-its-not-addressing-the-issue

• Matt Martin on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/voxmatt/

• Ramp: https://ramp.com/welcome

• Corporate card start-up Ramp targets Bill.com with free payments software: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/26/corporate-cards-ramp-targets-billcom-with-free-payments-software.html

• Bill: https://www.bill.com/

• Velocity over everything: How Ramp became the fastest-growing SaaS startup of all time | Geoff Charles (VP of Product): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/velocity-over-everything-how-ramp-became-the-fastest-growing-saas-startup-of-all-time-geoff-charl/

• Column Tax: https://www.columntax.com/

• Propel: https://www.joinpropel.com/

• Gamma: https://gamma.app/

• Gamma brings in $7M to bring the slide deck into the 21st century: https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/28/gamma-brings-in-7m-to-bring-the-slide-deck-into-the-21st-century/

• NewBank: https://www.newbankusa.com/

• Backed by a16z, Relay races to market with Zapier in its crosshairs: https://techcrunch.com/2023/10/11/relay-a16z-zapier-google/

• Zapier: https://zapier.com/

• Rajiv Ayyangar’s thread on X about tag lines: https://twitter.com/rajivayyangar/status/1758179077629100482

• Entropy: https://entropytechnologydesign.com/

• Money 20/20: https://www.money2020.com/

• Jim Bankoff on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimbankoff/

• Ramping Up: https://www.notboring.co/p/ramping-up

• Aaron Levie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/boxaaron/

• Aaron Levie on X: https://twitter.com/levie

• Duolingo on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@duolingo

• Morning Brew: https://www.morningbrew.com/

• Tech Brew: https://www.emergingtechbrew.com/

• HR Brew: https://www.hr-brew.com/

• Mark Zuckerberg on Morning Brew Daily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQqsvRHjas4&t=1309s

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence: https://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Mind-Consciousness-Transcendence/dp/1594204225

The Walking Dead on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/70177057

Yellowjackets on Paramount+: https://www.paramountplus.com/shows/yellowjackets/

The Last of Us on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-last-of-us

• Apple Vision Pro: https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro

• TNB Tech Minute: Startup Perplexity Challenges Google With AI Search: https://www.wsj.com/podcasts/tech-news-briefing/tnb-tech-minute-startup-perplexity-challenges-google-with-ai-search/984362d5-a8f0-48b4-8b55-ad7e570a74d2

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.