There can be 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, difficulty to explain a new concept, and not being unique enough to get picked up by a media outlet. How do startups get the media’s attention and their target audience to grow their audience and increase awareness?
This article will look at some tips and tactics that can help startups get noticed in industries that are already saturated with companies that have experience and media attention.
Before that, it is also essential to understand that public relations are necessary. Usually, when a startup budgets their expenses, they mistakenly view hiring external sources 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 be easy to create an effective PR campaign even with the right information. PR agencies like Pressfarm are there for a reason, and they are there to make sure that a startup does not go into PR efforts prematurely and potentially receive negative press. Public relations has proven actually 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, which means that they have not fully identified their goals and their intentions for their business. Doing so 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 the goals have been clearly outlined, a startup can build a coherent and accessible message for its target audience. The letter should answer what the company wants people to remember about the business, why people should care about the news, and the key selling point for prospects to look to that specific startup instead of the competition.
2) Choose a newsworthy subject
Unfortunately, many startups are not newsworthy unless they figure out a unique way and add value beyond their existing competitors. If that is the case, it is not a matter of figuring out how to pitch the startup. And it is about how to improve and differentiate the message presented to media outlets and their target audience. However, it is also not just about being unique and worthy of coverage. It is trying to find the right angle to approach a journalist depending on their writing style and previous content.
It is a company or individual’s job to connect with media outlets because that gives journalists the incentive to create a story. They need to keep in mind that they need to provide information and offer something 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. Companies should choose release times that do not coincide with another competitor’s announcement. Startups do not get the same traction and attention as larger companies, so if both are sending out a similar announcement, the startup will most likely be the one that is pushed aside.
Also, 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. Startups also should not pitch an idea too soon because it is possible that if the timing is off, a writer will forget about it by the time the company launches or the announcement should 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. A way to do that is to have timely, relevant information to their audience, and different from what already exists.
Reading their post articles and getting a feel for what interests them and their audience is a sure-fire way to stand out among the competition. Doing thorough research and showing that a startup has taken an interest in their past content shows that you chose them specifically. They will appreciate the work that the startup has taken to get to know the journalist. It will differentiate them from competing pitches.
5) Be considerate
A journalist’s time is very precious, so startups need to get to their point quickly to gain and retain their attention. They should avoid long-winded introductions so that they do not lose the reader. A pitch should be specific about the who, what, when, where, and how concisely. Another thing 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, they need to think about the journalist first. Remember that they are the ones doing the startup 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 a startup needs them gives a startup a higher chance of getting the word out there about their business. Startups can start developing relationships by interacting with them on social media, becoming a part of discussions on groups that the journalist is involved in, and contributing to the conversation helpfully and unobtrusively. If a company does get that opportunity to develop a relationship, they should also remember not to dive in and promote their brand. They should stick to topics that show their 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 their industry expertise to other websites. Startups can guest post on other blogs that their target audience already frequent in hopes that they will get media coverage and backlinks towards their owned media.
Social media networks and owned media offer incredible opportunities for startups with a tight budget. The social profiles should reflect the brand because many people will go to social media to gain information about a company before deciding whether they want to work with them. Startups can include press mentions, articles they have been mentioned in, and other related details because it will enhance their credibility and highlight their success and boost their reputation.
8) Avoid industry jargon
While there is a high chance that the target journalists have created past content involving the startup industry, they should still try and avoid writing a pitch that has a lot of industry jargon. If they do not understand the fundamentals of what the pitch should be about, they will ignore it. So, startups should go into creating a pitch that anyone can understand. If there any issues, misunderstandings, or wandering attention spans, they should go back to the drawing board and create something that is easily understood.
9) Measure PR results
Using PR Analytics, startups can track their efforts to ensure that their strategy is working well and following the right course. If there is a part of their PR strategy that is not working out, they can use the information they learned through their analytics to tweak it to work better.
Due to their tight budget and lack of publicity, startups run a very high risk of nothing achieving media attention without using proper tips to stand out among the competition. However, with the right PR campaign, startups can achieve the same or even higher media coverage level than others in the industry. They should also know that hiring an outside source like a PR agency is not a frivolous expense. It will help in the long run because the PR professionals have years of experience working well in a PR strategy and what does not.