You’ve got a tight budget, you don’t yet have many media contacts and your new business idea may not be fully understood by the general public. You’ve got a limited number of individuals working for you, and talking to the media isn’t what they signed up for. Your branding and public relations is forced to the backburner, a task given to anyone who has a spare moment. So, what’s a girl to do?
Generating PR for your new business is a vital component to the success of a startup, as positive press and visibility are some of the best ways to gain support and increase traffic to your new product or business.
While many startups do employ individuals strictly to handle the marketing and public relations aspect of the business, or hire a PR firm to do it for them, that’s not always in the budget, and it’s not always a place where a new business can afford to pay (multiple) salaries. But, as important as good press is for a new business, it should be.
Even if neither of those options are feasible for your new business, you can still grab media attention by applying what you know to where you want your company to go! Here are a few tips on what you can do as a startup to take your business to the next level of success and beyond.
Know your message
Before you attempt to pitch to any media outlets, make sure you have a concrete message that explains exactly what the purpose of your new business venture is. This message should be simple enough that any person could understand it, concise enough to grab the short attention span of the media and clear enough to be grasped with one quick read.
The media gets hundreds of pitches every day, so it’s likely that whoever you’re pitching to will only read the first few sentences in order to gain a feel for whether it’s newsworthy enough or not. Take the time to carefully craft your message and get to know that message so that media pitching can be effortless and effective!
Get to know your editors
Get to know your editors and know them well. You want to make sure that what you are pitching is relevant to what they cover for the magazine. Additionally, creative, concise and timely pitches tickle an editor’s fancy!
Online editors specifically like when you deliver the news the way they want it to look on the site. Online news sites get bombarded with topics everyday as they work on real time so if your pitches are formatted to their standards, the easier it is for editors to pick it up.
Be an industry expert, not just your business expert
Step outside of your business to develop as a trusted source of information on the industry you are entering. Become an expert who can offer advice and professional insight that can be useful to your qualified peers, as well as the general masses.
Journalists are always looking for expert sources to use in their stories, so get your name out there by reaching out to those starving journalists volunteering to be that expert source. You will gain media contacts, promote yourself as an expert, and in turn promote your new business as a trusted, noteworthy addition to your specific industry.
Utilize social media
It’s word-of-mouth marketing like never before. Not to mention it’s free! There’s no better (or lower cost) way to communicate your brand and company than through creating conversations on social media platforms.
Social media provides direct access to potential customers, investors, media contacts and supporters. Take advantage of these free marketing tools to follow competitors, media members, other startups and companies who you look up to. Start online conversations and form relationships with these people or companies to make your new business known within the online community, which will eventually turn into recognition in the face-to-face world.
Partner with a non-profit that has a meaningful connection to your company, host a charity event or volunteer at the local hospital. Everyone loves a good helping hand, and the press loves to write about it. Giving back to the community is a great way to gain positive press in the early days of your business. Plus, it’s a great way to leverage a media relationship to gain press attention in your future endeavors outside of non-profit or charity projects.
Giving back can also be in the form of giving advice or mentorship. Offer to share your entrepreneurial experiences and expertise with a relevant audience, whether it be a local audience of business peers, or an audience of University students who hope to be in your entrepreneurial shoes one day soon. Public speaking is a low cost way to reach others and promote your brand.