With so many startups competing for attention, it can be hard to make your business stand out. Although there are more media outlets today than ever before, modern journalists are often hesitant to provide coverage for companies that aren’t up to snuff. Still, the right public relations (PR) strategy can have a profound effect on your business’ success rate.
Not only do mentions in blogs and magazines help startups attract new customers, but they can also boost a business’ credibility. Here are seven strategies designed to help startups jumpstart their media outreach efforts and get the features they need to succeed.
1. Target the Right Media Outlets
As a startup owner, you may assume that all press coverage is created equal. On the contrary, targeting media outlets at random is unlikely to generate the results you want. For best results, take the time to compile a list of journalists and websites suited to your specific business.
To determine which reporters are most likely to cover your story, research their previous works and focus on those in your beat. Next, reach out to your target bloggers, journalists and writers in a manner that’s professional and courteous. While many startup founders prefer the face-to-face approach, it’s fine to contact journalists by phone or email or even using social media. The goal is to develop a rapport with the reporter so he or she is more likely to contact you again in the future.
2. Post to the Wires
While it’s wise to target journalists based on their specialties, the smartest startups also post stories to the wires. Newswire services like PR Newswire send out stories to a broad range of journalists, so startup founders never know who will pick up their pieces.
And because businesses generally write these press releases themselves, they can control the messages. As an added bonus, many of these sites syndicate content, so your stories may appear in search engine results from Google and others, in addition to other media outlets.
3. Create a Press Kit
If you want to encourage journalists to cover your business, start by making their jobs easier. One of the best ways to give your startup a leg up on the competition is to create a visually enticing press kit. Along with high quality photographs, a good press kit should include business background data, product and service information, press releases, and any recently published articles.
And of course, you should list out all contact numbers and email addresses. The goal is to give media outlets everything they need to write informed and articulate pieces about your business.
4. Focus on the Story
The best journalists don’t just want to market products and services to their readership. Instead, they are looking for intriguing stories that will capture people’s attention and encourage them to keep reading. Hence, one of the best ways to gain media attention for your startup is to pitch specific and timely stories.
Instead of just asking a blogger to write about your business, offer details on an upcoming event or new service offering. Share your mission and focus on what makes your startup unique. The goal is to pitch an interesting topic rather than simply asking someone to sell your goods for you.
5. Design an Infographic
You’ve heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same holds true for public relations. To entice journalists to cover your business, consider designing one or more intriguing infographics about your products and services.
Not only are infographics more likely to catch a reader’s eye than a wall of text, but they are also more likely to be shared on social sites. By including infographics with your written pitch, you increase the odds of bloggers and journalists returning your message.
6. Be Brief
Just because you find the minutiae of your business endlessly intriguing doesn’t mean potential media outlets will feel the same. Understanding that journalists receive dozens of pitches on a daily basis, savvy startup founders keep their pitches short and to the point.
For best results, take the time to craft a brief elevator pitch. If you’re emailing your pitch, make sure bloggers can get the gist of the story from the subject line. The goal is to capture attention while leaving them wanting more.
7. Keep in Touch
After establishing contact with a journalist or blogger, you may think your job is done. However, the truth is that just like you stay in touch with your customers, you should stay in contact with media outlets after pitching that first successful story. You never know when the writer will need an expert quote about a future story or event. By staying in touch, you ensure media outlets will think of you first when the opportunity arises.
Building buzz around your startup and its goods is easier said than done. But with a little advanced work and dedication, you can increase the odds of media outlets highlighting you over your competition.
If you’re ready to start planning your public relations campaign, check out our next article on how to create a PR plan for your business.