Sales & marketing

Five ways ‘stacking’ helps your PR start-up success

Do you know the media outlets that you would like to feature in? It could be publications in print or online, perhaps a favourite television or radio show. Having a PR strategy that only aims to get you featured in high-profile national and global media from the onset can lead to short-term disappointment and affect your relationship with PR long-term.

So, how do you know the best places for your start-up to be featured in the media? What can you do to maximise your visibility in a sea of sameness? How do you prepare yourself to ride the wave of your PR successes? And how can you plan your PR campaign so that you remain positive and motivated to continue? The simple answer to these questions is what I call “Stacking.” The process of carefully curating your potential media exposure based on realistic and aspirational media coverage or ‘stacking’ can help you to maximise the long-term effectiveness of your PR.

Here are five ways that ‘stacking’ can help you as a start-up:

Have you Googled yourself lately to see what appears on page one?

Knowing what people can see about you online is vital to your credibility. If you and your business appear as an expert in online newspapers and magazines with a high domain authority (DA), you will see these appear instantly. The good news is that big media have great coverage. The bad news is that when we feel rejected, sharing information with them that we will later regret can be tempting. Once that is online, it becomes impossible to shift and sticks to your reputation like ‘anti-credibility glue’. ‘Stacking’ prevents you from this desperate PR measure because it involves being realistic and where we are most likely to be accepted in the early days.

Have you got what it takes to add value to the story?

‘Stacking’ relies on knowing who needs to hear your story or expert information rather than where your ego wants to place it. Good media coverage as a start-up needs to be delivered to the right people at the right time and place because that will have a credibility snowball effect. Once you gain traction, you can experiment with different readers and audiences. You may have new industry knowledge that challenges the mainstream to develop as a thought leader. To effectively be heard, it is essential to take steps into the media and ‘stack’ publications and experience in delivery so that you are ready when the time is right.

Are you drowning in doubt that creates a sea of sameness?

Confidence is crucial in PR because it affects every type of communication skill that you have. You may have yet to consider how your self-belief may affect the quality of the content you are offering to the media. In the early days of your business, your email pitches to busy journalists and producers may fail to make an impact and be lost in a raft of inbox messages. Feeling ignored can make you doubt yourself, affecting your ability to think outside the box. Panic can set in, and you begin to play safe and choose the obvious. For example: If you have thought of the content for a pitch to the media immediately, it is likely that others will too. ‘Stacking’ means being objective about what you know and need to know. It is your ladder to climb.

Do you have the security to be with the high flyers?

If you receive a response to take part in media coverage when you are new to the business, you may need to be media-ready to deliver. Seeing yourself published for the first time as a start-up can be overwhelming, and you may be put off. The experience could also be a PR disaster of nervous misinformation that can affect how the journalist or producer perceives you at the time or as a source of commentary for the future. Honesty is the go-to policy when it comes to PR. Getting involved with niche publications and media outlets can help you practise your expertise and learn what to upskill before pitching to the big media. This also creates a safety net of connections you can rely on as you master the big media.

What else is there if you go to the moon on day one?

Every piece of media coverage has the potential to be around for your lifetime and beyond. Why rush sharing your stories and expertise? You will always have more to share if you think about your business’s future and share snippets relevant to your PR objectives. Your personal story is relevant to who you are in your industry.

However, it is crucial to be selective about what you share, who with and when. Step by step, you will be ‘stacking’ your private journey when it enhances your business. Your contributions need to speak for themselves, and it could be the tone of your voice, your perspective, or the depth of your understanding that will show others who you are and give them insight into your private experiences. ‘Stacking’ your public profile along with your business PR is essential and needs to be beneficial.

Stacking is one of the most critical skills in PR, with so many media opportunities. Take it slow, consider the purpose of what you are doing, be honest with yourself about what you know, experiment in the ‘stacking’ process and create that safety net, and you will see your PR working for you and your business.

For more insights in Abbi’s upcoming book called CREDIBILITY CONFIDENCE: How to Leverage PR as a Start-up – take a look here:

Abbi Hoxleigh
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Abbi Hoxleigh

Abbi is a PR & communications strategist creating positive digital footprints and legacy media coverage for businesses that need to be seen as authorities and go-to experts. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) with a ten-year career as a charity Media Officer. At her core, she is a lover of communication and a purpose-driven academic learner who leads by example. She won 2nd place in the Media Relations category of the Public Relations Today Most Valuable Post (MVP) Awards 2022 for her article on media overexposure.

Five ways ‘stacking’ helps your PR start-up success

by Abbi Hoxleigh Time to read: 3 min