Newspapers can be a great way to get press for your startup business and do so at a low cost. However, it’s not always straightforward and can take some knowhow, effort and time. We’ve created this guide to make it easier.
Startup PR Benefits
To begin with, lets start with a few of the benefits featured pieces in one of the primary media publications are able to earn you:
PR for a Startup Grows Brand Awareness
Even though brand awareness can be difficult to measure, even when you are able to indirectly increase its depth and breadth, it will most likely be beneficial when it comes to your brand.
Authority And Reputation
When you feature on one of the major publications you earn authority through affiliation and bragging rights. Just the action of posting logos of the publishers you have already featured on, in association to the “As seen on” section on the landing pages will typically increase your conversion rates.
Obtaining a link from a primary publication can earn your own site a steady flow of what is known as referral traffic which will last while the article or post remains published which is usually indefinitely.
Google will measure your authority based on quality and quantity of any inbound links which are pointing towards your domain. Exposure on major media publications in most cases is accompanied by links to your site. This can significantly increase your existing organic-search rankings.
Ongoing Relationship Startup PR Value
As you are in the process of building up your reputation with publishers, you will be offered with additional publishing opportunities, along with a portfolio that continues to improve which enables a way to make contact with sources with an even higher-authority. You may even receive invites to become a regular columnist or contributor at one of the primary media publications.
Planning In Advance
If you would like to do things in the right way, you need to begin identifying targets about three months before your actual story. It is crucial to find the reporters who have an interest in startups that are similar.
Think about the story you are interested in telling them. Keep in mind that you are no where close to Apple and no one is going to care who you are unless you are able to give something that is interesting in order to report. Think along the lines of a new and interesting app, a launch or an exceptional partnership or new feature. Now consider a deadline when it comes to your press announcement, making sure you work towards that.
Start to follow a reporter or reporters on networks that they have. Twitter appears to work well, yet Instagram may be a good starting point, considering that the bigger reporters are usually not as popular through this avenue. For my case, I worked on configuring push notifications directly to my mobile each time a target of mine tweeted something, which gave me the opportunity to reply, when I had something interesting to say. Avoid becoming a spam-bot, and do not retweet or favorite everything that they have to say. Rather only comment on what seems interesting or is related to the company that you run.
We do these actions in order to develop and build up relationships.
Developing Relationships with Journalists
Social Networks. In the way of replying to questions along with getting onto a conversation, they will more than likely start to remember you, and be more open to replying to your question when you start asking for press.
You need to keep in mind that there are many other people in search of coverage, and you are definitely not the sole person who is pitching to them over a period of 60 minutes, so avoid making this pitch about you.
Follow what they are saying, make comments about their articles, and share them. Make sure you tag them as you do. Become interested in what they do as well as ways you can help out with your knowledge and expertise or your startup. If you are able to offer assistance, they will be more open to helping you out. Ideally, you need to work towards a friendship.
If they make the decision to cover you, ensure you maintain this relationship for many months into the future. Be grateful and thank them, making sure you alert them on what it means to you receiving their help.
Start Niche And Local and Receive Startup PR
As soon as you have accumulated a thousand or two thousand active followers along with a blog which is showcasing your content of high-quality, you can now start reaching out to the editors on publications you wish to feature on.
The main national publications are probably going to extend past your scope at this stage, until you are able to achieve published work that you are able to showcase over a number of smaller publications. This is why it is important to begin with going for the smaller opportunities that are more attainable. The way to go about this is involves targeting local publishers, that are catering to your demographics and specific industry.
Use Twitter or LinkedIn to locate editors for your targeted publications. Start reaching out to these editors and try to start up conversations. For outreach templates, we suggest using along with taking ideas about what you should be pitching to the editors, (see this article).
Grow And Cultivate Relationships with Journalists to Get Startup PR
The next step involves publishing better and more content on the blog you use for your company. At the same time make sure people that are following you on social media remain engaged in the way of providing new materials of high-quality and listening to any feedback, while engaging with these followers in regular conversations.
Maintain a relationship with the publishers that you have already established relationships with, while working on reaching out to more authoritative and prominent publishers. This will take a bit of time, so don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated if you are faced with rejection. This is a process which is similar to climbing a type of ladder. Start with the smaller publishers while you work up to the national and larger ones.
You need to be persistent, as it is unlikely that you will receive a reply on your first attempt. Build up a relationship and display that persistence in order to ensure you keep that momentum moving upwards.
The Secrets About How Premium Publications Work
There are usually 2 writer types at any of the major publications. The first is usually a staff writer. These people usually run the stories which are newsworthy, related to any current events or are of a special interest. These are typically handled in a “cut or keep” meeting style. It is usually very hard to enter into these cycles.
The second writer type freelancers as well as contributes to many publications. These are the writers that are required to produce set numbers of stories with monthly publications. In some cases, these publications will be open to a new idea. If you manage to approach these writers in the correct way, you might be offered with an opportunity to get published.
Clayton states, the more important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be able to pitch a writer. You first need to work on developing a relationship. After that you can start to develop a story together with the writer.
Tell Your Story, Yet Keep It Short and Get Press for your Startup Business
Make sure your story is ready and avoid just pitching to reporters about what the startup is about. Yet wait a while if you are announcing something big, this will dramatically increase the likelihood of these writers featuring you.
In addition, aim at the human-side of the startup. This includes information about you as well as the reasons why you happen to be passionate about the product. This will create better connections with people.
For the initial interactions, ensure you are keeping things as brief as possible. If your emails are long they will not get read. Avoid going over a couple of sentences and ensure you finish your email using a question that they can answer using one sentence. Reporters receive many emails each day. So, ensure it is easy for the reporter to connect with you. If they are forced to put thought into their answers, they will probably put it off till a later date and more likely forget.
Become involved with any local events. You could also indirectly work on increasing your exposure with a press in the way of capitalizing on any events the press already has an interest in. An example of this could include when the city you live is going to host a festival. You may want to open a booth dedicated to your company, or you could sponsor the event. If nonprofit organizations are hosting fundraisers, you should seriously think about getting involved with them, this will force them into mentioning you.
Host Events and Get your Startup Business Featured in Newspapers
Think about hosting events of your own, particularly when you have the space available for it. This could be just about anything, dependent on what resources you currently have or what your brand is all about. An example of this can include hosting lecture series, a mixer-event, a workshop or even open houses to display a new office-space. If you are able to attract the right interest through social media platforms, reporters will start approaching you to ask you for more information.
Volunteer to Get Papers to Cover your Startup Business
If currently you lack the inclination or funds to sponsor programs or host events, you may want to think about volunteering along with staff for causes that you feel strongly about and believe in. You can begin with selecting a cause and focus on the types that will have an impact on your local communities and develop your volunteer programs around this. You can choose to volunteer programs around this. You might want to volunteer for a number of benefits, yet it is advisable to begin with just one. People will more likely associate with the brand stronger with one cause rather than “volunteering” in general. The act of volunteerism will attract attention that you need from the press, and even if it doesn’t, you can submit your own press-release on this.
Assist A Reporter and Get your Business in Newspapers
If you are finding it difficult to obtain local interest and at this stage you are lacking topics that are newsworthy to submit in the form of press releases, you may want to consider turning to HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which is the outlet that works on pairing sources with reporters. Look for a reporter that is in search of a person like yourself and think about contributing regularly.
In conclusion, think about collaboration with other companies, influencers or personalities who are already backed by significant followings or they have a solid history where they have already featured more than once within the press. An example of this could include working on content together. You can also work together by co-hosting events. You will in most cases gain more attention from a press-by-proxy.