So you have a promising start-up with an amazing product or service to boot. That’s great news. What’s next?
Amidst a whole host of plans and ideas to improve your startup’s offering, gain more funding, and grow your client base, creating a public relations strategy might not be near the top of your priority list. Here’s why you should consider taking another look at the value of media relations.
Earned media is one of the best ways to promote a company, with 92% of consumers trust earned media over other traditional ads. And with earned media costing a whole lot less than traditional ads, this will allow you to create a stable yet affordable foundation for your startup’s brand image.
Is your startup struggling to ‘Get’ Press? Here’s how you can earn media attention and promote your startup through an effective public relations strategy.
Craft Your Story
The content you publish is the content that people will know you by. Remember that most of your intended audience will only form an impression of your company through the content featuring your company. This highlights the importance of telling the right stories to create favourable first impressions in the minds of your audience.
When considering how to tell your story, here are some key questions to ask:
Who is your audience?
Nobody else knows your target audience better than you. If you want to get your message across to your target audience, it is important to identify the writing styles and the information sources they prefer, instead of catering to a wide and generic audience.
What is your brand about?
We live in a time where brands are no longer just emotionless entities that provide goods and services. Just like people, brands today have to be able to state the core values and beliefs of their identity for them to gain the goodwill and interest of their audience.
Is your story relevant to ongoing conversations in the industry?
Be alert to what stories have been told and what topics are trending in your industry. You should also be cognizant of the current public discussion that are happening in your markets. Create a story that is able to contribute to these discussions and ensure that you are not merely rehashing topics that have been discussed a long time ago and without adding new insights and value.
Maintain The Flow of Stories
Think of the brands that are highly visible in the media. How often can you recall seeing some form of content from them in the last few months? Chances are high that you will probably be able to think of at least a few examples of media coverage of each brand.
In order to ensure a top of the mind recall of your brand, it is crucial to have a regular flow of stories. In a typical timeline for a startup, the initial stories are usually about seed funding, Series A, Series B, Series C, etc. While they form the foundation of your media relations strategy, it is important to push other stories such as customer wins, case studies, business plans and thought leadership articles.
Prepare for Media Contact
You have got your content all prepared, now all you need is to approach the media to pitch your stories to be published on their platforms. But wait up, what if you are asked to explain more about niche areas about your business that you are unable to answer? Will the media be interested in the type of content you are offering them? Therefore, it is always good to prepare yourself prior to contacting the media.
Here are some ways you can prepare for media contact:
A media brief
Have a media brief that contains basic information of your startup, the key people, and important information on any big events you are planning or are involved in.
A spokesperson list
Ensure that you have a list of spokespersons for a variety of occasions. identify people who can easily answer questions related to specific areas of your startup such as the business plan or the technology used, among others.
A media list
Identify which publications will have an interest in your story. Create a list of media contacts from these publications to find the best fit for your content and your startup.
Having made these preparations, do not try to ad-lib a media interview. If you do not have the information on hand, be willing to postpone the interview until you have gathered the required information, views, or the relevant spokesperson.
Actively Engage the Media
Let’s say that you have successfully pitched your first story to the media. There is no time to rest on your laurels. The media will not chase you to cover your story all the time. Here’s how you can ensure that your startup continues to gain coverage in the media
This will require you to be up to date on current affairs and trends. Leveraging on breaking news and trends to produce brand content not only shows your brand in a positive light, but it is also a good way to generate extensive earned media coverage.
Research your media contacts
Subscribe to the social feeds and platforms of the journalists on your media list to learn about their interests, their style, their passions, etc. This will help you to understand how to craft stories that get their attention and respect.
Develop a relationship with your media contacts
It is human nature to give preferential treatment to friends over strangers. Although you have identified the media contacts that can cover your content, you are simply another stranger amidst a sea of people vying for their attention. Forming a rapport with journalists will go a long way towards getting your stories published.
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to get your public relations strategy right, these pointers will go a long way to ensure you get the media’s attention.