Picture this: the name of your start-up splashed across the pages of your favorite media outlet. Pretty cool to think about, right?!
But, how exactly do you make this happen?
The short answer is: it's not easy. Businesses of all types work extraordinarily hard to generate media coverage for their products and projects. It’s not an simple task to get your name in the press – and this is especially true for start-ups without any brand-name recognition.
The good news, however, is that you can do it. Securing media coverage takes time, energy, and consistency - but the effort is well worth it. The right media coverage can be a total game-changer for a young company.
To get you started, below are four ways you can start landing media coverage for your start-up today.
1. Guest posts / contributor articles
Make a list of websites, blogs, and other outlets that cater to your target audience. Dig around to see which ones accept contributor articles or guest posts. (You can typically find this information somewhere on an outlet's website.)
Once you’ve refined your list to include only those outlets that do accept guest writers, read each outlet’s submission guidelines. Each outlet will have its own requests and requirements about the process of submitting your idea or completed article, as well as about the type or style of content they accept for publication.
Depending on which outlets you target, and the quality of the content you can offer, pursuing guest post opportunities can be an easier path to media coverage success than traditional story pitching. It’s certainly a good place to start and is a valuable strategy to keep in your overall communications plan, even as your company grows.
2. Send an introductory email to media contacts
Reporters can’t write about you if they don’t know about you. Right?
Develop a list of reporters, influencers, and other media contacts who you think might be interested in your start-up. Look closely at each target’s recent coverage to ensure that each individual truly is a good fit for your pitch.
Next, reach out to each contact on your list with a brief, personalized, introductory email.* Introduce yourself and your start-up, and offer a shortlist of suggested interview topics to give them an idea of what you can address. Even if the interview requests don’t start rolling in immediately, many reporters hold onto these types of emails and come calling later on, when they’re working on something relevant to your story or areas of expertise.
(*If you don’t subscribe to a media database, you can usually find media contacts’ email addresses online. Try their outlet’s website, their social media profiles, or a good, old fashioned Google search. We also offer a list of email formats at top outlets in our 'The Templates' package.)
‘Newsjacking’ is the practice of capitalizing on major news events or trends by inserting yourself into the surrounding conversation.
To 'newsjack' effectively, you must keep up with the news, and be ready to act quickly.
When you learn of a breaking news event or emerging trend with relevancy to your start-up or areas of expertise, make yourself available to the media for comment. Send a brief email to reporters covering (or likely to cover) the news event, letting them know what aspect of it you can discuss.
This type of media pitching isn’t likely to result in a feature article about your company, but it can get you quoted or included in a broader article.
4. Create newsworthy content
If you have the capacity to do so, consider developing a survey, study, or other piece of informative content.
Assuming the findings of your initiative reveal something interesting about your topic of choice, you can announce the findings to the media with a formal press release. The goal, of course, would be to secure media coverage of your project and its findings.
If you don’t have the capacity to do something like this well, hold off until you do. A sloppy piece of work won’t help you generate any media coverage - and, could actually be harmful in your quest for media attention.