There are many factors that can contribute to a lack of media attention for unknown startups. Some include tight budgets, lack of strong professional relationships with journalists, or difficulty explaining a new concept. Lack of media coverage could also boil down to a startup not being unique enough to get picked up by a media outlet. It could also be that your startup couldn’t afford the resources for media outreach when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and your startup has now lost online visibility.
How do startups like yours get the media’s attention and reach their target audience to grow the audience and increase awareness?
This article will look at some tips and tactics that can help your startup get noticed in industries that are already saturated with companies that have media attention.
Before that, it is also essential to understand that public relations is necessary. Usually, when startup founders budget their expenses, they mistakenly view hiring external experts like PR professionals and PR agencies as a frivolous expense. However, unless a startup has a clear focus and products/services that attract media attention, it cannot create an effective PR campaign even with the right information.
PR agencies like Pressfarm exist for a reason, and they can make sure that a startup does not go into PR efforts prematurely and potentially receive negative press. Public relations has actually proven to be more effective than branded content at any stage. It offers something that traditional advertising has not been able to achieve.
Public relations tactics that will get a startup noticed
1) Identify goals/define the message
As mentioned before, many startups go into PR prematurely. This means that they have not fully identified their goals and their intentions for their business. Doing this before creating content gives startups a clear path to follow and sets them in the right direction. Usually, PR goals can be narrowed down to attempting to increase qualified website visitors, attract new customers, build brand awareness, and establish thought leadership. Once you have clearly outlined the goals, you can build a coherent and accessible message for your target audience. The message should cover what you want people to remember about your business, why people should care about your news, and the key selling point for prospects to look to your specific startup instead of the competition.
2) Choose a newsworthy subject
Unfortunately, many startups are not newsworthy unless they figure out a unique way to add value beyond their existing competitors. If that is the case, it is not a matter of figuring out how to pitch the startup. Rather, it is about how to improve and differentiate the message presented to media outlets and your target audience. Moreover, it is also not just about being unique and worthy of coverage. Instead, it is about trying to find the right angle to approach a journalist depending on their writing style and previous content.
It is your job to connect with media outlets because that gives journalists the incentive to create a story. You need to keep in mind that you need to provide information and offer something that is mutually beneficial for both the journalist and the company.
3) Choose the right timing
Another factor to take into consideration is that timing is everything. You should choose release times that do not coincide with another competitor’s announcement. Remember, startups do not get the same traction and attention as larger companies. If both are sending out a similar announcement the startup will most likely be the one that is pushed aside.
Additionally, figuring out the ideal timing of a release is good because it gives the writer enough time to decide whether they want to take on the story and write about it. You should also not pitch an idea too soon because it is possible that the wait time might be too long. If the timing isn’t well thought-out, the writer will forget about your news by the time your company launches or by the time the announcement needs to go out.
4) Think like a journalist
A startup’s PR goals and a journalist’s goals can be very different. While a startup may need media attention to gain brand awareness, a journalist’s primary focus is to create content that attracts their audience’s interest. One way to do that is to send information that is both timely and relevant to their audience. This information should be different from what already exists.
Reading their post articles and getting a feel for what interests them and their audience is a surefire way to stand out among the competition. Doing thorough research and showing that you have taken an interest in their previous content shows that you chose them specifically. They will appreciate the work that you have taken to get to know them. This will differentiate your pitch from competing pitches.
5) Be considerate
A journalist’s time is very precious, so you need to get to the point quickly to gain and retain their attention. You should avoid long-winded introductions so that you do not lose the reader’s attention. A pitch should be specific about the who, what, when, where, and how. Another thing to keep in mind is that the whole point of a pitch is to help the journalist and genuinely provide value. So, rather than focusing on the company’s needs, you need to think about the journalist first. Remember that they are the ones doing you a favor, not the other way around.
6) Form relationships
As with any relationship, a relationship between a company and a journalist should be give-and-take. Forming relationships with journalists even before your startup needs them gives your startup a higher chance of getting the word out there about it. You can start developing relationships by interacting with journalists on social media, becoming a part of discussions in groups that the journalist is involved in, and contributing to the conversation helpfully and unobtrusively. If your company does get that opportunity to develop a relationship, you should also remember not to dive in and promote your brand immediately. Instead, you should stick to topics that showcase your knowledge and expertise in the industry.
7) Become a contributor
Along the same lines as the previous tip, a great way to get noticed and get the startup’s name and brand out there is to lend industry expertise to other websites. You can guest post on other blogs that their target audience already frequents in hopes that you will get media coverage and backlinks toward your owned media.
Social media networks and owned media offer incredible opportunities for startups with tight budgets. The social profiles should reflect the brand because many people will go to social media to gain information about your company before deciding whether they want to work with you. You can include press mentions, articles they have been mentioned in, and other related content because it will enhance your credibility, highlight your success and boost your reputation.
8) Avoid industry jargon
While there is a high chance that the target journalists have created previous content involving the startup industry, you should still try and avoid writing a pitch that is packed with industry jargon. If journalists do not understand the fundamentals of what the pitch should be about, they will ignore it. For this reason, you should take the time to create a pitch that anyone can understand. If there are any issues, misunderstandings, or wandering attention spans, you should go back to the drawing board and create something that is easily understood.
9) Measure PR results
Using PR Analytics tools, you can track their efforts to ensure that your strategy is working well and following the right course. If there is a part of your PR strategy that is not working out, you can use the information gained through your analytics to tweak it to work better.
Due to their tight budget and lack of publicity, startups usually run a very high risk of not achieving media attention without using proper tips to stand out from the competition. However, with the right PR campaign, you can achieve the same or even better media coverage than other brands in the industry. Keep in mind that hiring an external source like a PR agency to help with this is not a frivolous expense. Partnering with PR professionals will help in the long run because these professionals have years of experience working with PR strategies.