Every startup in the world hopes to get press for their company, but most startups don’t have a huge budget to hire a PR agency.
I have spent the past five years working in PR, and always wondered if media outreach was a smart investment for new startups. (who, in my mind, should be totally focused on revenue generating activities)
Last week, I came across a series on Both Sides of the Table that totally changed my view on why startups need a PR strategy.
See: The Silent Benefits of PR & How to Do PR on a Budget
The more media attention you can get around your new company, the more legit you look to the outside world.
PR can help you find customers, investors, talent and gives you a sense of legitimacy that you cannot get any other way.
The problem? PR can be EXPENSIVE. There are huge costs involved in hiring an agency, or experience PR consulting. This is why more and more startup founders are focused on getting their own media coverage.
I have created a five step plan that you can use to get your startup media coverage. (even if you don’t have a never ending marketing budget)
STEP ONE: BECOME A MASTER STORYTELLER
Most startups think that getting media coverage involves fancy press releases promoted across huge networks of editors. We are past the days when you hired publicists based on how thick their rolodex is.
The key to getting media coverage is becoming a master at telling the story behind your company.
What does your company do? Why do people care? What expertise do the people on your team have to offer for media interviews? What is interesting about your background? Why did you start your company? What have you done that is totally game changing?
Find the interesting parts of your company & craft a story that people will want to hear.
STEP TWO: SET CLEAR GOALS
Different kinds of media coverage will garner totally diffenret kinds of results.
Did you know that mid-size bloggers can generally drive more traffic than an online national media spot? However, a national media spot will always look more impressive than a million blog placements.
The key to creating a great PR plan is having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve & the types of coverage that will directly support your goals.
STEP THREE: MAKE A PLAN
Once you know the type of outlets you want to cover your company, you can focus on the type of coverage you are most likely to garner.
For example, The Today Show is only going to feature your company if you can find a way to relate it to a huge current event. But getting featured on Fast Company might require having an interesting story about how you grew your company.
Look at the type of content the outlets you are targeting organically create. How does your companies story fit into that content? Where can you add value?
See: 4 Trends Affecting PR Departments
STEP FOUR: CREATE A MEDIA LIST
Collect a list of editors, contributors and freelancers that currently write for the outlets you want to pitch. Only 10%-20% of your pitches will get a response (assuming you have a great pitch), so you need a big list of contacts.
You can find almost anyones contact information online. If their email is not listed publicly, you can connect them with Twitter.
Now you know exactly what you want to accomplish, the type of coverage you want to get, and a list of writers who are likely to cover your product.
See: What Every Startup Needs to Know About Media Outreach
STEP FIVE: START PITCHING!
Create a short & to the point email showing each writer why your company makes perfect sense for one of their upcoming pieces.
Follow the writers you pitch on Twiter, connect with them on linkedin. Start building a relationship.
They key to getting coverage is showing writes exactly how your companies narrative aligns perfectly with their content.
With the right mix of strategy & outreach you are bound to reach all of your goals. No budget required.