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What apps need: There’s PR for that

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No matter how innovative an app may be, if it does not gain critical mass in downloads and users within six months of launch, the odds for future success are not great. In the crowded sea of new apps released every week, an aggressive public relations campaign is essential.

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“Apps need immediate, strategic media breaks,” says Ola Danilina, CEO and founder of Los Angeles tech public relations firm PMBC Group. “A well-placed, well-messaged story in a major business publication or an influential tech blog can put an app on the map. Those tactical media hits not only build a user base, they help startups get needed investment dollars.”

Before starting her own public relations firm, Danilina nurtured tech companies as a venture capitalist. After many frustrating experiences with public relations agencies that did not deliver needed results for her portfolio companies, she formed PMBC Group.

“We devised a new formula for PR for tech startups that works on two or three fronts simultaneously. While we get our clients in front of consumer outlets and key tech outlets to review the product’s features and benefits, we also place the company CEOs and founders in stories as thought leaders in their industry,” says Danilina. “This type of exposure is critical for attracting and sustaining investors and getting companies to the next level.”

This multi-faceted campaign approach has helped PMBC avoid the pitfalls of traditional public relations campaigns where post-launch media coverage fizzles in a few months. With campaigns buoyed by executive positioning, where company principles are quoted in trending industry stories, media exposure is ongoing, even when the client has no significant news to promote.

To execute this type of campaign, Danilina built a diverse team of entrepreneurial tech public relations veterans and fresh talented go-getters who shared her passion for technology and appreciated her methodology for modern media age. PMBC’s publicists work at a pace that keeps up with the startups they represent. It is not uncommon for the publicists to pitch three or four different story ideas each week to media. Since tech startups cannot wait for print magazine features that may take months to develop, PMBC’s efforts focus on online outlets.

Danilina says that getting stellar results for clients is actually motivated by selfishness.

“We want our clients to stick around, and we want great case studies,” she says. If our clients don’t succeed, then we have all wasted our time.”

Danilina says PMBC often picks up the pieces when other agencies have failed. Clients come to PMBC after bad experiences, where agencies have delivered no ROI and spent the first two or three months of engagement creating elaborate press kits, conducting extensive communications audits and indulging in what Danilina describes as “old-school” public relations practices. Traditional agencies also expect their clients to provide content for them to push out to media.

“The old way of doing PR is not designed for tech startups,” she says. “Our clients need us to hit the ground running. We don’t wait for our clients to provide us with big news announcements or product releases. That’s not how today’s companies operate. We begin crafting story ideas and reaching out to media within the first two weeks of signing.”

The proof of PMBC’s fast-track method is in the numbers. App and tech startups urgently need the type of measurable ROI that PMBC has achieved for clients such as social connections app Anomo, whose PR campaign was recently spotlighted by PR Week. By approaching public relations in this manner, PMBC has become a disruptor in the industry, luring away accounts from many of the renowned San Francisco-based tech public relations firms; and as the shores of Silicon Beach keep widening, PMBC is enjoying the sunshine.

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