Everyone loves press. It's an amazing feeling to have your company recognized by an outlet, and to have others take interest in your passion. But more than just the feeling of accomplishment, when done right press can offer our company major benefits.
While I don't suggest going after too much press before you have product-market fit, when you do go for PR there are best practices you should follow.
Today, most entrepreneurs spend all their time trying to get in one outlet thinking it'll be the golden ticket to success. In reality, the best companies come up with a consistent plan to build their brand over time. Below, I'll highlight a few key reminders when you decide to go head first into your PR strategy. If done right, the momentum from PR will help propel you to new customers, more funding, and better opportunities.
1. Consistently build a story, don't try be a one-hit wonder
Getting in a big-time outlet like Inc. is a major accomplishment that instantly builds credibility. But even for the most recognized outlets in the world, old news is forgotten quickly. As an entrepreneur, looking at the results from a single piece of press can be misleading. You'll see huge spikes in traffic early on, which will give you the illusion that you've struck gold. Check back in a few weeks, and the spike is gone and everything goes back to normal.
So how do you solve this?
The key is in consistency. Don't put all your eggs into getting into one major outlet. Instead, diversify your story to a variety of publications. Keep building your story a little bit with each outlet so you keep the momentum moving. Once people become interested, don't let them out of your mind.
Grant Cardone is one of my favorite sales experts, and one of his beliefs is that to be successful you must break through the noise. There are so many distractions fighting for your time everyday. To get people to listen to you, you have to keep demanding their attention. The best way to do this is by being consistent with your press releases.
2. Put yourself next to major competitors
One of the mistakes many entrepreneurs make is thinking their startup is cooler than it really is. When you pitch a writer, chances are slim that your story will get picked up the first time. The reason for this is that as contributors, we get hundreds of pitches from companies a week. Every founder thinks his or her update is the most amazing story in the world. In reality, there are ten other companies looking to push a similar story as you.
To use this to your advantage, next time you pitch a writer compare yourself with a major competitor. There are two huge advantages for this:
A) The story is much more interesting for someone to write about.
I get pitches all the time that are just about a company and its founders. While these stories can be interesting, most of the time my readers don't care enough about the company for me to write about it.
To solve this, next time you pitch a writer focus on your battle with a stronger competitor than you. Everyone loves seeing two companies fight each other for market share. The aspect of competition builds excitement and makes the stories much more dramatic.
B) You want to be compared to competitors who are bigger than you.
Think about what happens if your startup is thought of as a rival to the industry leader. Naturally, people will start associating you with the top companies in your field.
While it may seem crazy to give your competitors press, what you're doing is using their reputation to your advantage.
3. If you have the budget, hire a PR firm
When you are in the early stages of your venture, you should not be hiring a PR firm. There are plenty of other things you need to be worrying about and spending money on. But when it's time to jump into the press and build your company's brand, the best way to do it is through a PR firm.
Reason being, you and your team will probably not have the time or the expertise to get press properly. A great PR firm will do more than make intros for you; they'll help craft your story. Another benefit of hiring a great PR firm is the relationships they bring. Even with all the technology in the world, getting press is still a relationship-based business. I speak for most writers when I say that that best way for me to see your story is when it is sent through someone I trust.
As writers, we want to cover the best and most exciting companies we can. With so many entrepreneurs to choose from, having sources we trust saves us a lot of time and helps us get the best content we can. That trust is an invaluable resource when you look to build your brand, and it's something a great PR firm can provide to you.