4 tips for securing media attention for your startup
Each year more than 305 million startups launch globally, but only about 10 percent survive and grow. Amid such intense competition, it's all too common for fledgling businesses to get swallowed in the crowd, especially without the critical media visibility required to get their brand and product noticed.
Armed with the right strategies and know-how, your startup can bypass this common pitfall. By putting some early efforts into obtaining media attention, you can kickstart your brand awareness and set your startup on a trajectory towards success. These four tips will help you leverage the power of media coverage for your company and propel it from a promising beginning to a thriving establishment.
1. Prepare Your Press Kit
Before you dive headfirst into securing media attention, make sure your base is solid.
How? Whip up a media or press kit.
It's like your startup's resume, neatly packaging all the essential info that journalists need to write about your business. Not only does it save them time, but it keeps information consistent and also saves you from endless back-and-forths.
What goes into a press kit?
First off, an 'About Us' or history section is a must-have. This is where you talk about yourself, the brains behind the startup, your eureka moment that led to the creation of your company, and your mission statement.
And don't forget stats! Statistics are a journalist’s best friend. They provide concrete and reliable evidence to support (or help determine) the narrative of a story. .
Some data points you can include::
- Revenue growth: Highlighting the percentage increase in revenue over a period of time helps project financial success and patterns for future growth.
- User base: Listing the number of active users or customers reflects your market reach and potential for user base growth.
- Funding: Sharing the details of your total secured funding offers social proof of your financial achievements and viability. These can be funds from investors, crowdfunding, grants, or other financial milestones.
- Market share: If you have these numbers, indicate market presence or growth by sharing how much of a percentage of the market your startup commands.
- Customer testimonials: Add values and impact of your products or services by showcasing positive feedback, testimonials, or case studies involving customer success stories.
It’s also handy to have your logo and other brand images available for download in your press kit. Journalists will appreciate having these images easily accessible. Images should be compressed and easily accessible. Your media kit should live on your website or zipped in a file to send to journalists. But ideally, both.
Your main goal is to make writing about your startup as easy as possible. It’s frustrating for a journalist to go back and forth with you or your team through email to ask for basic information, like your founding date. Having that kind of content in your press kit alleviates that burden.
2. Reach Out To the Right People
Now that you have your press kit, you can start working with the press. But identifying the right contacts can be a tricky task, especially if you can’t afford a fancy outreach platform.
Finding the right contacts
You might consider contacting publications directly, hoping to get a feature in your favorite magazine or on a top-rated website. However, these emails often go to large, catch-all email inboxes. Unless you have a killer subject line or a direct, personal connection with the editorial team, your efforts will be swallowed up with the rest. So instead, consider a more focused strategy: direct outreach to journalists.
If you have a specific publication in mind, your goal should be to pinpoint the right editor or writer to connect with. This is where a prospecting and outreach tool comes in handy. These tools can help find the right people to pitch, craft your outreach email, and set up and manage all your email comms within the platform. These tools can range from free to thousands of dollars of a year.
If you're working with a tight budget, there are also many extensions and plugins you can use with free databases like LinkedIn or Gmail.
Networking with freelance journalists
Not all journalists are tied to a single publication. In fact, Take some time to compile a list of recent articles covering your industry. Investigate the writers behind these pieces to determine whether your startup aligns with their reporting interests, their "beat".
If they regularly cover your industry, drop them an introductory email. Even if they're freelancers without an attachment to a particular outlet, their network of connections could open up diverse platforms for your startup's story.
3. Maintain your press email list
Compiling emails for journalists who could potentially cover your startup should be ongoing. You’ll want to maintain your press email list because you want to add to it as you find more journalists, but you also want to ensure that you’re only messaging people who wish to and can receive your emails.
You email a journalist at a publication you’ve worked with, and your email address is defunct. As a result, your email will bounce, meaning your email service provider cannot deliver it. The higher your bounce rate, the lower your sender score.
Additionally, if you keep emailing nonresponsive journalists or they tell you they’re not interested, they’ll start sending your emails directly to spam, which also affects your sender score. Maintaining your email list with the right contacts and only interested parties allows you to keep your sender score high, which can help you ensure that more people see your messages.
4. Establish yourself as an expert
Writers and reporters want to work with credible experts. It’s up to you to build your credibility. Establishing yourself as an expert requires you to position yourself differently. Rather than just contacting reporters to write about your startup, introduce yourself as a valuable source.
Journalists often look for sources on social media, so you can start there to find someone who wants your input. You can also use websites like HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out.
You’ll find many journalists looking for sources for industries of all kinds on this website. Take time each week to respond to queries on the website and introduce yourself to journalists who might want your insight.
When you’re launching a startup, you don’t want it to get lost in a sea of competitors. And few feelings are worse for a business owner than watching a competitor get all the attention you need.
To ensure your startup gets media attention, you must work with journalists correctly. Collecting and maintaining email addresses are crucial steps that will help you get in contact with the right people. And by making a press kit and establishing yourself as an expert in your field, you can give journalists what they need to help you succeed.
Author Bio: Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and editor living on the Central Coast of California. Her writing has been published in HuffPost, BuzzFeed, RETURN, and many more, her work often focused on thought leadership, psychology, and human relations. She's also a published poet and author.