Inside Jobs: What It Takes To Be The PR Lead At A Startup

When a tech company makes the news, the public usually sees the names of a few people: tech executives and the journalist who wrote the story. But oftentimes, a public relations person was involved too, helping to schedule the interview and otherwise facilitating communication between the company and the press. PR people will tell you, though, that if they’re doing their jobs right, ideally their names will stay out of the story.

So it was a big pleasure to sit down with Johnny Brackett, the PR lead at TaskRabbit, and have him step into the spotlight for a little while to find out what his day to day work life is like for this week’s episode of Inside Jobs.

I especially liked Brackett’s insights on grabbing attention in journalists’ crowded inboxes:

“Over the past five years of doing this, I’ve learned what I like to call ‘the art of the subject line.’ I think how a journalist would think. And so my subject line is a headline. I write my pitch like a small version of what their story is going to be.

It takes practice, it takes writing iterations. In the same way that a journalist probably writes several versions of a story, and throws entire pages away that they agonized over, that’s how I approach PR. You have to be willing to be working towards something for two weeks, maybe two months, and then the direction completely changing. And that’s why you work at a startup. If you’re not OK with that, don’t work at a startup.”

Before joining TaskRabbit full-time, Brackett got his start working at a technology PR agency, managing the accounts of a handful of companies. And years before all of that, Brackett studied broadcast journalism, and also had a passion for theater. It was interesting to hear him talk about the differences between all these different worlds — and the common thread between them, which is storytelling.

Watch him discuss all of that and more in the video embedded above.

Inside Jobs is a 12 episode miniseries from TechCrunch TV airing weekly on Mondays from March 24 through June 16 that gives an in-depth look at people in the job roles that really make the tech industry tick. Last week’s episode of Inside Jobs profiled Airbnb software engineer Surabhi Gupta.

Producing, shooting, editing, sound, and lighting for Inside Jobs is done by John Murillo. Production coordination and creative direction is done by Felicia Williams. Original logo design by Bryce Durbin. Motion graphics and graphic design by Eden Soto.