Exposure is essential for startups. For a brand to take off, it needs to attract the attention of customers and investors. Businesses that do not get noticed rarely survive the startup phase.
Press coverage is a great way for startups to get exposure. Landing your name in the right outlet holds the potential to reach millions of readers. In addition, press coverage also helps to boost a brand’s credibility. Whereas advertising says you have money to spend, press coverage says you have a story worth telling.
PR for startups is also a better option than advertising for startups because it costs a lot less money. In fact, getting major press coverage in a top tier publication is something that can be achieved for free.
PR for Startups – Where to start
The first step a startup needs to take to attract the attention of media publications is developing a great pitch. The pitch is the key that gets you in the door. It is the way you communicate to a reporter that you have a story worth telling.
A pitch is a brief message that communicates to a media outlet who you are and why you deserve media coverage. The pitch can get to the reporter in a variety of ways: via email, text message, direct message on Twitter, etc. The best way to send a pitch will vary based on the outlet. The key is that it communicates clearly and succinctly that your brand has a story that people will love reading.
One of the keys to crafting a great pitch is thinking of yourself as the reporter’s assistant. Reporters often receive hundreds of pitches per day. Many of these pitches are from brands like yours looking for some free promotion from a top tier publication.
The reporter, on the other hand, is not looking for an opportunity to promote a business. He or she is looking for a great story to share that is inspirational or educational. A great assistant will help that reporter by pointing them toward a great story. Information on what your company sells or the service that it offers is not a great story. Rather, share the unique way that your company came into existence or the unique problem it is solving. Telling a reporter that you just launched a startup delivery service will probably not catch his attention. Telling him that your startup will be the first net-zero carbon delivery service in your state will definitely get his attention.
Research is essential if you hire a publicist for startup
Getting a great story into the media is easier when you find the right reporter. You can start your search by determining what publications would be the best fit for the story you have to tell. If you are a crypto startup, explore crypto and blockchain publications. If you are a fashion brand, develop a list of top tier fashion publications.
Once you set your sights on a publication, make yourself familiar with the reporters who write for it. Determine if there is one who focuses on the type of business you offer. Find him or her on Twitter or other social media channels and begin to engage. Let them know that you appreciate the work that they are doing. If you can make a connection before you pitch, you will have a much better chance of catching their attention.
Here’s a bonus tip: If a reporter tells you they are not interested, ask them what kind of story is interesting to them. You might discover that you have that story but just did not pitch it right. Or you might learn something that will help you to craft a better pitch next time.
Unlocking top tier press coverage requires some flexibility
When most startups envision getting press coverage, they see themselves in a feature article. These focus on what the company offers and why it is superior to its competition. It could be thought of as a company brochure that a publication is willing to publish.
A feature is a great goal, but it is not the only pathway to top tier media coverage. When it comes to landing your brand in a top tier publication, any type of coverage is beneficial. Rather than strictly pitching a story about your brand, offer yourself as an expert who can comment on relevant news. Reporters who cover timely news are always looking for expert comments to include in their stories. While this may not help to get out information about your brand, it is exposure. Someone reading your quote might do a search and find your website.
Another option is offering a reporter some type of media element that can be attributed to your company. For example, an infographic that shows how interest rates affect home buyers is great for an article on real estate. Not only will it be featured in an article, but it also could become a social post for the outlet. Either way, it is more exposure for you.
Each of these steps are doable for a startup that has some passion and is willing to be persistent. Still, if you would rather not devote the time to it, there are professionals who can help. Public relations firms are experts at crafting pitches and getting them into the right hands.
Should you choose to hire a PR firm, keep your costs low by working with a firm that guarantees media placement and that allows you to pay month-to-month. If they truly have the skills and connections, one month should be enough time for you to start getting exposure.