For many startups, getting media coverage is like searching for the Holy Grail, especially in the early stages. Even worse, seeking coverage can be an incredibly time-consuming task that could keep you from focusing on your product or your customers.

That's why doing it right is an important skill, one that can make a huge difference in a company's success or failure. Since I sit on the other side of this particular table, I turned to Clément Delangue, the head of marketing at mention and the author of the SlideShare presentation: "Get Media Coverage for Startups--Newsjacking 101."

Clément has managed to get mention covered in most major publications (including my list of Powerful Social Media Marketing Tools for Savvy Businesses.)

According to Clément, here re the four easiest ways to get media coverage:

1. Newsjack your biggest competitor. When you're a startup the chances are you're not very well known by journalists. That makes it really hard to make an immediate splash or land a sexy headline--at least at first.

Fortunately, most of the time there is a well-known competitor you can compare yourself to, and in a way that shows off what you do better.

In our case it was Google Alerts. We naturally created an alert on mention to track it, and we took advantage of all the changes they were making--whether it was to features or even the rumors they would sunset the product (like they did with their popular Google Reader.)

For example, when Google stopped supporting RSS we sent a press release to journalists titled "End of Google Alerts via RSS, mention's got you covered."

That approach can also allow you to...

2. Newsjack a major launch in your sector. The idea behind Newsjacking, a term coined by David Meerman Scott, is that journalists are always on the lookout for breaking news--or for a way to extend an existing story. "Jacking" your product into news that is getting decent play is an extremely efficient way to attract media attention. And it becomes even easier when you can target journalists by subject with a tool like PressKing.

At mention we've done that a lot: from newsjacking the release of Apple's iOS7--see the article in French--to the French President's visit to Silicon Valley that we leveraged to announce the launch of 37Studio, our shared office space, with the press release French SaaS is Booming.

Just pick a subject you think you can relate to, get in touch with interested journalists, and provide them worthwhile content that will advance a story they're telling.

3. Write your own guest articles. Sometimes the best way to get the work done is to do it yourself--especially if you have the expertise. Writing guest articles all set to be published can help a lot in getting the initial shout outs you'll want for your startup. Leo Widrich, the co-founder and COO of Buffer, does this extremely well, and Buffer is thriving in no small part due to their focus on generating and spreading great original content.

4. Join forces with other startups. It's common knowledge that the biggest companies have a much higher media potential. But what if startups gathered together to increase their abilities and get more coverage? For example, we partnered with Buffer and Zapier since it made sense for our users to be able to connect with more than 300 other services and to schedule their mentions.

The effect was huge: we saw over 2000+ mentions in the media and on social networks in just a few days.