5 PR Strategy Tips for Startups and Companies Without a Japanese Branch Building Their Brands in Japan

PR is important in businesses targeting Japan. However, it is not uncommon for startup companies and companies without a Japanese branch office to always have the budget to hire staff to work on their PR activities full-time.

Of course, knowing how to carry out your own overseas PR is a difficult task in itself. So, this article will provide five guidelines to help you implement your PR and marketing strategies in Japan more efficiently.

1. Consider outsourcing PR specialists to do it or do it internally

The first decision you should make is whether you want to do your own PR work or ask an outside company/consultant to do it for you. Many businesses choose to do their own PR because the budgets for typical business startups and pre-launch products/services are limited.

However, if you were to actually try PR yourself, you may find that it is not so easy. Of course, deciding on who does PR would likely not be set in stone, so it is a good idea to flexibly decide how you would like to do or assign PR tasks according to business development.

2. Keep the proper pitch in mind

Make sure you have time to work on the business pitch to be sent to journalists. We recommend that you make several versions as you work on the pitch.

Start by considering a one-sentence statement of the core of your business ideas then spread it over one page with more detailed information. Keep in mind that no one in the media will read more than one page.

The explanation of the media pitch may also serve as the catalyst for media coverage. In addition, journalists may use pitch contents in their articles, so it’s important to make sure your sentences are up to par. It would be helpful to have the journalists themselves and other writers read it for their feedback as well.

3. Make a media contact list

Be sure to keep an updated list of all potential journalists’ contacts. Try to identify publishers and writers who might be interested in your message. A large, well-known publisher may be able to support you as a contact, but the practical thing to focus on is getting the attention of more specialized publishers first. The would-be readers of these highly specialized publications tend to be more relevant to your business.

In addition, try to collect as much contact information as possible. PR activities are now primarily done via email, but text and messaging applications are used as well. Collecting sufficient contact information will help you approach potential journalists more effectively.

 4. Improve your emails

It is also important to spend time perfecting your emails. Ideally, you would write an email for each journalist you approach, but of course you can reuse pitch contents.

If the quality of your emails don’t fit the media’s demands, you may be less likely to get picked up by journalists. Although you may not have much experience as a startup, you can always try A/B testing for your emails. By tracking what can collect many responses, you can gradually refine the pitch to lead to more efficient public relations activities.

5. And finally, patience

Journalists are always busy, and no matter how many press releases they are interested in, they simply cannot respond to them all. You can follow up regularly, but at the same time you need to be patient. Needless to say, a persistent pursuit doesn’t guarantee that your product or service will get picked up. If you find that your current materials aren’t good at that moment, try again for the next upcoming materials you may have. 

In general, journalists focus on a product or business only where there is something specifically different or special about them. Occasionally, you’ll have the opportunity to be plainly introduced as a business, but don’t expect your business to be featured simply because it exists. Instead, provide the media something they want to see and learn more about. You will notice that once the special points of your business are noticed, responses from the media will become faster.