Running PR For a Startup Company Means You're Always On

What It Takes To Lead PR At A Startup  Inside Jobs

Johnny Brackett is the one-man public relations department at startup company Task Rabbit, the Internet-based pay-for-odd jobs service. So he never turns his phone off and checks email, even while on vacation.

Like every 15 minutes.

It goes with the territory, says Brackett, who wanted to be an actor and wound up in PR when a college adviser suggested he consider the career. He wound up going for it because it also involves storytelling. With a major in journalism and minor in political science, he developed the mindset of a journalist, a skill a PR practitioner needs to be successful.

Brackett learned the ropes at an agency, first as an intern and then on staff. He recommends any aspiring PR person take that step because it forces you to work on anything and is a bootcamp where you learn all the basics of the business.

Before taking any full-time job for a brand, he cautions, research everything about the company. The founders, the business. "You have to love everything," he says. "Believing in it is what makes it not a thankless job."

Brackett carefully researches his subjects before sending a pitch email. He found a work-related column in the women's magazine Marie Claire and then studied the archives to discern how the column works and what might appeal.

Maybe 15 – 20 percent of his pitches draw a response, he says. The key is the subject line, which must read like a headline. And a pitch that is like a mini-story, he says.

It's also critical to get peer review of your work before sending it out, Brackett says. Everyone tends to fall in love with their own work. But if someone can't understand it, you know it needs some revision.

It's a real thrill, he said, when you can connect a spike in site traffic with a company mention, for instance, in The New York Times.

Watch the video to learn about Brackett's PR work at Task Rabbit.

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