Lastly, remember that doing PR is a very small part of being a good CEO /Founder. Make sure you aren’t dedicating more than 5% of your time to press and don’t expect PR to create observable miracles (tons of users, customers, investment offers, etc). Most of the benefit I’ve received from PR only became obvious weeks or months after a story was posted.
Later on in your startup’s life there will hopefully become a point when press organically pays attention to your company and wants to proactively write about what you are doing–– Dropbox and Airbnb are great examples. At this point, oftentimes it is strategic to start creating distance between the CEO/Founders and the press. This is when PR people can be very helpful. They create a buffer that allows you to be more strategic about what you announce, when, and to whom.
To see real startupPR results you’re better off getting one story every month or every other month versus one huge story every year. To do that, don’t combine all of your news into one story, spread it out across multiple stories. Also when you are looking at your stats or sitting in product meetings with your team, keep an eye out for potential news that you can pitch. I tell YCstartups to maintain a queue of 3-5 pieces of news that you will want to announce in the coming 6 months. It takes the pressure off you if one of those pieces of news doesn’t get picked up, and it helps you keep a regular cadence of positive news about your company in the press
There is a philosophy in the PR world that the number of press mentions per story is an important metric. This causes them to put all the best news in one story, infrequently, and try to get the most reporters to write about it at once. For startups I actually think this isn’t the best strategy.