After years of working with startups launching their ventures in the US, the same question always arises: “How can I get media coverage for my startup?”
It’s a great question, and there are many ways your startup can get the credible media coverage you desire with little to no marketing budget. Here’s everything you need to get started:
1. Set up a press page
Having a press page on your website is a must, and it should include everything a reporter might need to write about your startup. Even if your startup hasn’t received any press coverage yet, this is where you can keep an updated company overview, photos of your team, photos of your product, and branding assets. Think of it as a handy link to all relevant information about your startup not only for reporters but also investors or anyone interested in learning more about your startup’s progress.
2. Share, share, share
It’s never too late to start building relationships with reporters in your niche, and there are a few ways you can get on their radar. Start by following them on Twitter, as well as reading, commenting, and sharing their articles as much as you can. When the time comes to pitch your startup’s news to your target list of reporters, this can help them put a face to your name.
3. Create a press list
Corey Pollock wrote a detailed article on Medium on how to build a targeted press list and there are many ideas you can take away from his post. First, you want to find the reporters who are writing about topics relevant to your product or service. To find these reporters, set up Google Alerts with relevant keywords and receive an email notification any time there is a new article on the topic.
Next you will need to gather reporters’ email addresses. Here are some useful tools that can help:
Name2Email - Download this Chrome extension, then simply enter a person’s name, last name and corporate domain name starting with @ into To field and Name2Email tool will automatically generate the most common corporate email address patterns for this person.
All My Tweets - For this one, all you need is a reporter’s Twitter handle. Plug it into All My Tweets, hit Ctrl + F, search “email”, and every tweet or reply he or she has ever sent will be on one page. Scroll through until you’ve found the reporter give out their email address to someone else on Twitter.
4. Choose a face of the company
Whether your startup team contains two or twenty employees, it’s important to decide who will be the face, or spokesperson, of the company. This should be the person who takes on interview opportunities and attends events to promote your startup. It can take some time to build up your startup’s reputation and acquire speaking opportunities. However, a consistent presence can eventually pay off big.
5. Gather quotes & user testimonials
As a startup, you should always be collecting any user testimonials or quotes to build credibility. In the startup marketing world, this is also known as social proof: “a physiological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation”.
The social proof you build not only matters for your customers but also the media.
Place testimonials on your homepage, in social media posts, and even in your pitches to show a real problem exists, and your startup was able to solve it.
You may need to get creative to capture genuine testimonials depending on your product or service, but here are a few ways to get started:
YouTube Reviews - Video is a powerful way to display your customers’ thoughts about your product or service. Encourage your social media followers to upload a video reviewing your offerings, you’ll be surprised how many responses you’ll get.
Facebook Reviews - If you have a Facebook page and include a local address, your page will reveal a Reviews tab and you can encourage customers to review you there.
Sleeknote also put together a few simple but powerful customer testimonial templates you can steal.
6. Become a thought leader
If your goal from media coverage is to receive more customers or users, you’ll need to build up your credibility. How can you prove your product or service is solving a real problem and your ideas matter?
As a founder or co-founder, think of ways you can connect with your audience by sharing your industry insights. You probably already have a list of industry publications you follow, so why not reach out and ask to become a contributor on a specific or trending topic? Better yet, try reaching out to smaller niche blogs and publications. They can be much more responsive and open to outside contributors. While their traffic numbers may not match those of larger tech publications, every quality back link can help boost your visibility in search results and serves as a good way to show off your expertise.
Grabbing the attention of the media can be difficult even when your startup has exciting news to share. Put these tactics in place before you start reaching out and think about how you can engage with reporters in more creative ways. If you take these steps first, there’s no doubt you’ll be much more successful at getting the media coverage you desire.
Want more PR hacks? Download 50 Public Relations Hacks for Startups and start really making noise.