An estimated 20% of business start-ups fail mainly because of poor marketing. Entrepreneurs get stuck with their ideas, produce great products and forget one important thing – the metrics/number of customers that significantly matter. Having developed a great product, assembled an awesome team, it is the right time to start focusing on user acquisition. This is where PR comes in. Press can either make or break your start-up company, validate your investment idea, help gain investor’s attention, enable you to reach first customers or build trust and authority for your product in your industry. Unfortunately, for start-ups, hiring a PR agency or employing a full-time PR expert can be way above their budget. It is because of this that connecting with journalists to get press for your venture becomes a better option. Big companies such as Apple and Google are constantly featured on a constant basis. Even if it’s bad publicity, they enormously benefit from this exposure. For start-ups, getting such opportunities can be difficult. To get featured, follow the following steps.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Having conceived your product idea, you are probably trying to gain some traction. You should focus on people you built the brand for – your customers. Find out who they are, where they hang out, age, their interests, their hobbies, pain points, what frustrates or alleviates them and much more. This is termed as customers persona. Note that people wouldn’t magically start using your products or services just because you introduced them. You ought to get them to find the need of using them. Getting to know your audience pays off, as information collected will help you in craft your press message.
2. Nail Your Value Proposition
When building a marketing strategy for your start-up venture, the first step should be identifying your value proposition. The value proposition simply defines what sets your business apart from other competing products. State why your customers should use your products, tying the benefits with prominent features. For easier understanding, this should be answered in one sentence. To help you formulate your value proposition, as yourself the following questions; · Why would anyone opt for your products or services? · What does the customer benefit? · What is the main feature of the product? · How does the product change the customer’s life? By this stage, you definitely understand your customers and armed with your value proposition, the message you want to send out. Now it’s time to make a pitch and contact journalist you want to connect to.
3. Start Your Research
With everything in place, search for media outlets that you may want to appear in. pitching will be easier once you find the audience who benefit from your products. The best way to research is by finding media that is popular within your niche, finding media popularly read by your target audience, media outlets with a higher rank for keywords that are important to you or those that have published stories about your competitors. Having identified the media outlets, hunt down for authors who might find interest in your products. Some foolproof tips on how to do this include; · Find journalist who have recently written on a story you are trying to solve · Find authors with articles on similar products · Find authors who relate with your products and probably part of your audience · Find those covering up and coming brands · Find authors actively covering your business industry
4. Build Relationships
Having identified authors who might be interested in your content, don’t mess up by sending mass emails. Start off by trying to build genuine relationships, which can result in promoting your start-up through press. You can start by following them on Twitter, sharing their articles and trying to start a conversation around the topics they are discussing in the social media accounts. Learn some Twitter marketing hacks to get their attention and share the desired message. Engaging potential journalist online before sending your emails will help them remember your contacts. This will make you tiny bit familiar when you reach out later.
5. Find Email Addresses of Journalists
Journalist, by nature, prefers emails pitches. There are many ways to extract email addresses. Some go-to tactics of finding email addresses include; · Check their personal website · Check if they have posted their contact information on LinkedIn · Search Twitter for @theirusername + email · Use Rapportive to guess and other tools that can help you find email addresses.
6. Write a Compelling Email Pitch
This is the time to present your start-up for consideration. You should do this by writing a banging email pitch that will convince the journalist to focus on your brand. When doing this, find an angle and context that you can present your company. Journalists won’t publish pieces detailing what your company does. What they need is something to use your company as a jumping off point into a story of where you operate, the implications of your products and services and more. Check out the email sample below that can help you formulate your pitch. Hey Mr. A- My name is XXXX from [your company name]. I came across your article titled [story title], and it got me thinking that your readers will likely benefit from hearing more about [your pitching topic] bearing in mind that this subject has frequently been covered in the news of late. On checking your previous articles, it seems you cover similar topics a lot. That said, I have some [add your news] that might relate directly to your interests and those of your readers. I am willing to share with you some info on this topic if you are interested. Thanks, Your name Contact details
7. Track the Email Pitches
Having sent out your email pitch, it is prudent to track them. This will help you note if the journalist has opened your email, clicked the link or was ignored. Many tools can help you with this, MixMax for Gmail being the best. This tool has a free plan, easy to use and unlimited mail tracking. Experts advise that you start pitching to low traffic publications as you perfect your pitching art. Continually work on your subject lines, the angle of pitch, and how you describe your products’ differentiating factor. Tweak your pitches continually until you get more than 2 email opens from a single pitch. Whereas some journalist who were intrigued by your email pitch may respond immediately, others may not act immediately. This is why follow up is necessary. If need be, send them a follow-up email, mentioning your previous email as a way of reminding them.
8. Prepare Your Website for Media Coverage
Connecting with journalist and getting press for your start-up venture isn’t an easy task. For starters, getting the attention of press is an uphill task. However, by perfecting the steps mentioned above, you can be sure of an easier throughway. Note that when one media covers your start-up, it does not only gives you more social proof but also helps you get discovered by other journalists. Therefore, ensure that your contact information is prominently displayed for other people to contact you easily.