Every startup faces the same problem. You've worked hard to build your product, and now it's time to launch. But how do you get the word out?
Getting media coverage is one of the best ways to promote your company.
Here are the main reasons media coverage is essential:
- Brand recognition. Media coverage is one of the best ways to boost your profile. Everyone knows what Facebook and Google do. Why? Because they have strong brands.
- Attract new users. Every startup dreams of rapid growth. PR can be an effective way to generate sign-ups and increase sales.
- Investor interest. Publicizing your story can build interest among investors. It also helps if people know who you are before you pitch them.
- Raise profile with potential partners. People need to trust you before they're going to be interested in partnering. Social proof provides confidence to potential partners.
- Recruit great people. Hiring great staff is a challenge for every startup. You're brand new. You're unknown. Media coverage helps distinguish you from all the other startups vying for attention.
Here are 10 steps to get you started:
1. Determine your key message.
Your key message is the one thing you want someone reading a story about you to take away. It may be that you've launched an exciting new product, raised a significant funding round from well-known investors, or that you're growing rapidly.
2. Set a timeframe.
You need to set clear goals. How much time can you afford to spend on this launch? Determine what you want to achieve with your launch. This will help when you're planning your time. Do you mind if one journalist covers it, or do you want to make a big splash?
3. Research relevant journalists.
Make a list of journalists who you'd like to cover the announcement. Ideally, you're looking for journalists who cover similar topics. They're the most likely to write about your launch. Always expect to have many more journalists on your list than stories you'd like written. PR is a numbers game.
4. Hold briefings.
Depending on what you're launching, meeting journalists face to face can help build rapport. Demos work well, particularly with a tech product. Steve Jobs perfected the art of the demo and it helped Apple become the company it is today. Practice your demo until it's polished.
5. Pick a spokesperson.
Each announcement requires a spokesperson. This is your company's representative who can give interviews and answer questions. Your spokesperson should be the person best-placed to speak about the launch.
6. Draft a media release.
Base your media release on the key messages you've come up with. It should include quotes from your spokesperson. Try the A.I.D.A. structure for maximum impact. It's a technique often used in advertising to capture attention.
7. Take press photos.
Many publications will ask for an image to go with a story. This is your opportunity to reinforce your story. It's worth investing in high-quality images, as these can be used multiple times.
8. Schedule an embargo.
An embargo sets a date and time for when a story can be published. Although some people argue against using embargoes, they can help generate greater interest, with all articles being published at a particular time. It also gives you more time to answer questions or supply anything else journalists need before the embargo lifts.
9. Post media release to the wires.
Newswires are designed to get information to a wide range of reporters who may be interested in your story. Think of newswires as a final push for your media outreach. Many press-release websites syndicate their content, so at the very least, your news will appear across search engines.
10. Share news articles.
Just because your story has gone "live," it doesn't mean the work is over. This can be a good time to try getting an extra boost from your announcement. Share some of the media stories on your social media channels. If you have an email list, send an update to your supporters and ask them to share your news.
Getting media coverage is one of the best ways to build your brand, attract new users, and recruit great people. Try these tips as part of your startup's PR strategy. Spend time planning your strategy, and the results will show.