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PR is essential to the growth of any small business. Customers buy from companies they trust, and one key way to instill trust is through earned media. Reporters are trusted by huge audiences but often have little incentive to write about unknown companies. A reporter IS NOT going to gamble the trust of his/her audience by writing about a company unless the story is truly newsworthy. For instance, what is your company doing that is different from the competition, interesting from a human interest perspective or happening at the right place at the right time in light of current events?
As a startup you often face another problem—small PR budgets– which can keep your message from getting off the ground. But not to worry! In this post we illuminate 5 tips that startups can use to start generating media interest.
Even if a reporter picks up your story, it will do little good for your business unless targeted at the right audience. Your product might be for children but it is parents that you will need to reach. Or your product might be a tool for engineers, but high level managers/ executives are the ones who make purchasing decisions for the company. Build a list of target publications based on what your target audience reads.
If you really want to build momentum with your PR efforts, don’t focus all your energy on getting the attention of publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Yes, getting such coverage should be a goal but there are many other outlets to reach for first. Trade publications, for instance, can be a great place to start. Trade publications are usually smaller than business publications but they are more targeted.
Let’s say your target audience is senior executives in the construction industry. Going after select trade publications can almost exclusively put you in front of that audience. An added bonus is that trade reporters will likely speak your lingo. Company representatives may need more practice to deliver a message that resonates with more general reporters.
Social media is a great tool that can offer soft introductions to reporters. Follow reporters that you hope to speak to someday about your startup. Share articles they post and get acquainted with the kinds of stories they write. That way, when you go to pitch your company’s news, you will have an idea which reporters will be receptive to certain angles.
Don’t forget to use company and personal social media pages to promote your business. However, keep messaging consistent and marketing speak to a minimum. Throughout social media tie your company to bigger trends in the news. You never know when a reporter will follow you back or check out your pages.
Data is your friend—especially when it illuminates the need for a solution that your company provides. For instance, developers spend 20% to 50% of their time reviewing code (versus doing the job they were hired to do). This data supports the need for software that automates code reviews and frees up time for developers. Find real data from credible that supports your cause and use it to get the attention of reporters.
Can’t find the data you need? Try doing the research yourself. While bigger budgets can get you research with established firms, smaller budgets can still produce interesting findings. Try web-based survey solutions such as SurveyMonkey.
Before diving into any PR program, identify how your product is unique and offers added value beyond the competition. If this turns out to be a challenging task, consider improving your product before setting your sights on media coverage.
If you’d like insight into how ARTÉMIA can help you reach public relations goals, as ever, please get in touch.
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