Guest Entry: How to create media coverage for your startup
PR is a valuable tool that can contribute to increasing the awareness about your
brand or product, however many startups struggle to catch the journalists’ attention and continuously generate media coverage. Therefore, we have gathered expert advice to help you make the headlines in the media.
For the Danish speaker startup Soundboks, press coverage plays a major role in their
overall branding strategy. Being featured in media outlets like Forbes, Maxim and Mashable has contributed to creating brand awareness and building credibility with their customers, employees and investors. But what piece of advice would they give to other startups that want to get going with PR? We asked Hjalte Emilio Wieth, CBO and co-founder at Soundboks.
“My advice to startups wanting to build a strong brand through PR is to focus on the core business. Press coverage is not of much value until your results are above average and multiple media outlets picked up the same story. And remember… You are not done just because you get featured in Forbes...;)”
Here is his five key pieces of advice for startups looking to get featured in the media.
1. Forget the profile story, create the news
When startups succeed in making the headlines, it is often because there are real news attached to the story. It could be a new client, a fresh investment or the launch of a new product. Your pitch must be newsworthy and well communicated to capture the journalist’s attention. If a journalist can wait a month before he/she writes the story, it will rarely break through to the mainstream media.
2. Build valuable relations
It is fundamental to build strong and valuable relations with journalists. It still takes relevant newsworthiness. Research the journalists and pick the right ones for your story. If you know someone who is connected to these journalists, then use your network. If not, contact the journalists directly - persistently and passionately. We trialed this within our own company, by thoroughly researching a journalist from TechCrunch and by reading the journalists full articles (not just the headlines). From this, we were able to make our pitch relevant and personal. We further interacted with the journalist on Twitter, where we showed genuine interest in her posts before we would pitch our story.
3. Have a clear purpose
It has to be crystal clear to the journalists who your PR strategy is targeting. Be in control of your success criteria and your expectations. From the beginning, it is important to clarify what you wish to achieve from the press coverage. Do you wish to attract new customers or new investors? Or maybe a whole other audience? In this context, it is crucial that you are able to tailor your strategy in a way that matches the audience of the specific media outlet.
4. Use numbers
When it makes sense, use numbers. When pitching be sure to mention your turnover or the amount of users your company has. Your pitch will appear more specific, and at the same time it is more likely that the journalist will remember it. Organic Basics - a Danish startup that sells organic and sustainable underwear - did this when communicating with the media about their latest product launch. Amongst other media outlets, Forbes and Business Insider picked up their story.
The business media are particularly interested in numbers and facts when they receive a pitch. Use specific numbers instead of writing that your startup has thousands of customers and has raised millions through crowdfunding.
5. Ensure continuous PR
Continuously create awareness about your startup. Make sure to divide your stories into smaller pieces instead instead of unleashing everything at once. If your startup just closed a funding round and at the same time hired Bill Gates as a CEO, its a good idea divide the news into two stories. And be patient. It pays off.