How to Get Press for Your Startup

How to Get Press for Your Startup

Creating a fantastic product or service doesn’t necessarily mean that customers will automatically beat a hasty path to your door. As much effort as you put into designing and developing your product or service, you’ll need to approach your marketing with that same focus and energy.

Don’t become overwhelmed – we have sure-fire ways for how to get press for your startup.

Why is press so important for your startup and why do you need to pay it so much attention?

Press (and marketing in general) not only brings attention to your business, but it has the added benefit of allowing your startup to appear more established than you actually are so you are able to grow your credibility and excite potential investors.

Paid media exposure – through advertising – is bitterly expensive and most startups simply can’t afford it. Leveraging the press in clever ways will help you to score much-needed hype for your startup.

We’ve identified 5 steps on how you can get press for your startup.


Identify Your Target Audience

Have you clearly identified your startup’s product or service’s target audiences? This is the most important task you can undertake on how to get press for your startup – this process informs how and who you need to pitch your PR efforts towards for the best response.

While it may seem obvious to you to have already prepared this step, in fact this is oftentimes overlooked when startups are so focused on developing their product or service.

Ask yourself who would buy your product or service, why they would do so and what other similar products or services they may already have bought or used in the past.

Then, the most important question to ask yourself is how your product or service can solve a problem or need in people’s lives. Once you’ve identified the type of people that will use or buy your product or service, you’re a step closer to understanding what would drive them to visit your business.


Put your Customer at the Centre of Your Startup

In an oversimplification of business models, business growth relies on customer demand. Putting your customers’ needs at the front and centre of your startup is vitally important for the success and survival of your product or service.

Customers are attracted to products or services they believe will offer them value, that will in some way or form enrich their lives or make their lives a bit easier. That involvement is called a value proposition. It is that customer experience that you seek to target with your press.

To determine your value proposition, ask yourself how your target audience will use your product or service, what is your product or service’s main feature, how will it impact their lives and what value it holds in their lives.

In answering those, you will better understand your customers and their needs, and the ways in which your product or service will be experienced and used. That will give you an advantage as you will then be better able to lead your marketing initiatives.


Create Your Own Exposure

Why is it important to create your own hype?
Why the press is so important?

Richard Branson, a celebrity entrepreneur with an outstanding track record of harnessing the press for his startups and creating publicity for his latest products and services says, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a frontpage ad.”

The press follow trends and news. They focus solely on what would be of interest to their readers.

Without a compelling reason to feature your product or service, the press will simply skip over your startup’s news.

Awareness and marketing are vitally important to any startup’s success. In fact, more than 20 percent of all startups fail in their first year due to poor marketing. You are best placed to create hype in your product and service. After all, you’ve spent many months or years perfecting it and you’re extremely passionate about it.

You don’t need to be a wordsmith or a marketing expert to get word out about your product or service.

Use your startup’s website and social media platforms to reach out to your industry, to establish your presence and to engage with your target audience.

Don’t forget: you understand your target audience and the value proposition of your product or service better than anyone else.

The exciting nature of startups lends itself beautifully to the people-oriented DNA of social media. People love to know what other people are up to.
Through word-of-mouth, you will generate awareness for your product or service.

Remember, building hype and marketing momentum takes time and effort: you have to lay the foundations yourself. You will then be able to leverage that hype to provide a compelling reason for the press to take notice of your product or service.

Build your social media presence. There are a handful number of platforms to use: your website’s blog section, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
As most startups know, no one will help you to promote your products or services better than you can.

What’s more, building your own hype is easier than you might actually think. Using the fundamentals of journalism, you’ll be well on your way to making an impact: who, what, where, when and why.

To create your content, use these four angles to get started:

  • Create social media events for your product or service’s launch
  • Detail your product or service’s key features
  • Celebrate your product sales and milestones on social media
  • Promote the growing success of your product or service with deals and newsworthy customers
  • Announce your fundraising initiatives

Identify the Right Press for your News

Do I send press releases to the press hoping that they will be interested in writing about my product or startup?

No one likes to receive hundreds of sales pitches in their e-mail inboxes, and a journalist is very much the same.

Remember, the press report on what is newsworthy and of particular interest to their readers.

As you have laid the groundwork by identifying your target audience and your value proposition, and created a level of awareness on social media, the next step in how to get press for your startup will take yet more research.

Search and research the websites, magazines and newspapers of relevance to your product or service.

A key tip here is to start local and then grow your marketing footprint nationally and internationally.

Seek out your local newspaper, bloggers and websites – they will be interested in reporting on your product or service.

Those media outlets will give you the best exposure on which to build your future marketing initiatives.

Focus on finding a journalist or writer at those media outlets who would be most familiar with products or services similar to your startup’s, says this helpful article on Forbes.com

Don’t fall for the temptation of sending a press release just yet…


Connect the Dots

As we’ve already mentioned, no one likes to receive hundreds of sales pitches. The press only report on what is newsworthy and interesting to their readers.

The best practice to follow to be sure to attract the attention of a journalist is to send an introductory e-mail that is conversational and genuine – not a sales pitch.

With your list of targeted writers and journalists, send individual e-mails with conversation starters is the best method to receive a response.

Messages work best when centred around the journalist and their specific category. A tried and tested introductory mail should be along these lines: “Hi, I read your great piece on XYZ’s newest tech. I thought you’d like to know about my startup’s product that can also make people’s lives a bit easier. What’s the best way to discuss this with you?”

Of course, you’ve intrigued the journalist with that. The key to your interactions are to be genuine and to create conversation – no sales talk.


Use your Press Clippings

Help the journalists understand your products’ or services’ target audience, and its value to your customers.

Talk about the interest your product or services offers to their readers.

This will reward you not only with a great article but a marketing momentum that highlights your products or services to your target audience.

How to get press for your startup is an ongoing process. Build on your hype by sharing that article on your social media platforms, and in that way it will generate more interest from other publications and websites.