Ways of achieving coverage as a startup
You are a startup. No one knows you, yet. The chances are your business is in an industry that is not very niche, and there are leaders already established in your field. The market and its industries are saturated with companies and business stories as it is. So, how do you get people to care about your blossoming startup?
You have to find ways to achieve coverage.
There are a multitude of ways to achieve coverage, but here at PRLab we have found six different but effective ways that help startups stand out. These six are based on experience and the lessons learned from implementing them as an agency.
These six ways are:
- Research in the industry
- Research in house
- Creating content and integrating it into a press strategy- guest blog
- Opinion pieces and Newsjacking
- Creating stories for the press
Research in Industry
One of the most successful and effective ways that we have garnered coverage from the press is through the sharing of fresh data by conducting research.
Journalists are looking for angles, but they are also looking for data and fresh insights.
When you are a startup you are always going to be striving to push and advertise the products and services of your company but, sometimes you can’t simply advertise what you do and who you are, you need a novel way to express your value.
This is where industry research comes in. We like to do this because of the myriad of ways in which it can get them picked up in the press. Your intent then becomes sharing interesting and relevant information about the industry you are in. Your research can be quite broad within your company’s niche. Often, a good starting point is to find data on trends, pain points, or any other news affecting your industry. This research can then be turned into a press pitch, or even an industry report. As long as it remains unbiased, serious research, it will come across as authentic and authoritative.
When you deliver research, you establish credibility and build a reputation as a thought leader, which is only going to get you more coverage within your industry. This approach is very effective as your company will be mentioned by any press that picks it up, because it is your research. The neutral messaging of research also allows you to share it with many outlets in your industry, as well as across several other markets that the research might concern. It is a fantastic way to pick up coverage.
Research in Users
The research ‘in users’ is very similar to that of ‘in industry’ as it also allows you to share it with a broad audience, and it will establish you as a thought leader of a certain topic in your niche.
You can analyse the data of users in your own company, or from customers using your product and find patterns in behavior over time. This research can be turned into new and insightful data for your industry and you can pitch it to the press.
Creating Content- Guest Blog
Creating content to get featured in the media should not be about your company or your products, it’s about building thought leadership. What it should be, is something newsworthy. Often you can use the research done in industry or with users, but instead of just delivering the data to the press, you create the story itself and see if publications are happy for the piece to be used as a guest blog.
What is paramount to remember with this tactic is to not self-promote. You will be able to do this in the story with your byline, where you can put a link to your company. By staying neutral with your guest blog you can start to build relationships with editors.
In PR this is critical because you are adding value to topics in your industry by sharing these newsworthy articles with publications. Editors will eventually consider you a fountain of information worth listening to; you are building a reputation and brand as a thought leader. However, this approach requires patience and takes time. Editors are very picky in the beginning. So remaining neutral, relevant, and informative is crucial.
Opinion Pieces and Newsjacking
Opinion pieces are sent to opinion editors. They are short, 300-600 words, and are meant to convey your opinions on topical issues affecting your industry. This is a smaller market for your business to gain coverage. However, if it is shared with the opinion editorial media, it can give you a platform to preach from, so to speak. In this way you can influence your industry and make a name for your company.
Newsjacking is the process of adding your opinions or thoughts to a breaking news story. You are essentially piggybacking news that is trending to get yourself noticed. In order to make it work you have to understand how and when information and topics are going to break, or start trending. To newsjack at the right moment means you have to get your opinion or thoughts out there at the right time, which is before the news has peaked. This is a nice technique to acquire coverage. And, it will help your brand recognition because you are involving yourself in the larger social conversations.
Creating stories for the press
Creating stories for the press is similar to creating content, but instead of composing the guest blog for a publication to post, you create a story that you think a journalist or publication would like to run with. This is accomplished by finding an ‘angle’ for the press to write about. It must be newsworthy, that means it must be relevant, timely, interesting, etc. You provide the journalist with all of the evidence and sources of information needed to draft up a story of their own. By creating a story for the press, you are acting as a source of information, which in time will help you build relationships with publications. In the creation of a story, it is imperative that you do not self-promote, for the same reasons explained for ‘creating content’.
As a startup you might not have too much news to pass along to the media, initially. Of course you would like to advertise, but that will not build your brand or reputation in the long run. Which is why the others in this list came before ‘news’. The other methods will help you build a reputation which will benefit your startup more in the long run.
Now, it should go without saying that if you have something “newsworthy” to promote, then by all means promote it! This could be funding news, or it could be expansion news, or the hiring of a reputable CEO or employee with an impressive CV, or even key mergers and partnerships. All of these examples are worth sharing with the press. They are critical for your recognition and growth.
As the new kid on the block, your startup has to find a way to increase its recognition. Finding ways to get coverage is going to foster a platform for your new business. Take note of these methods, and remember that they all entail work and patience. For that reason, there are PR professionals out there who will relieve you of this burden, and allow you to focus on your business.
If you are interested in recruiting a PR agency to help your startup gain coverage check out our blog article How To Choose A PR Agency For Your Startup Or Scale-Up.
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