Earlier this month, our intern John Nikodin joined a webinar hosted by Prosper², a business publication, and journalist Praseeda Nair. In the session, the panelists discussed how to get noticed by the media. Here are his key takeaways!
Allow me to set the scene. You’re a tech entrepreneur who’s spent many months taking your startup business from idea to reality and now on the verge of launching it out into the world. You’re confident in the idea and hoping for success, but have you checked off all the boxes necessary to help you help you get there?
As a new business, one of the most important things you can do to help your company succeed is to make sure your business gets noticed. Media recognition is absolutely critical in today’s interconnected world filled with businesses of all shapes and sizes. In the tech startup and venture capital world, getting noticed and building upon that is even more important to stand out in a constantly growing field of companies.
During a webinar hosted in early August by business publication Prosper², editorial director and international business journalist Praseeda Nair shared her 7-step blueprint for getting your business noticed by the media.
- Start with your story
The key to any type of media, whether it’s an article or a video, is that it’s engaging enough to grab a reader or viewer’s attention. So when you take a look at your business, consider focusing on your purpose and your personal story as human interest stories and connecting with consumers at a person to person level will do well in the media.
The companies who speak about their challenges and are forthright about them tend to get a lot of attention in the media. Thinking about your personal story will also help you create and develop the perfect pitch you’ll need to stand out to journalists
- Set realistic goals
It’s important to set smart goals for your business and settle on why you want media coverage for it. If your goal is to boost your public profile, then you’ll need to begin developing a long term media strategy and settling on the size and scope of exactly what kind of coverage you’re seeking.
Creating a checklist style plan and a media kit is a great way to help chart out a clear strategy and direction for how you develop recognition for your brand. It’ll also help you hone in on your areas of expertise and particular specialties.
- Build relationships with journalists
It’s been said that for every journalist, there’s five people working in PR trying to grab their attention. With their attention stretched so thin, building a relationship with journalists on the right beat in relation to your business is highly recommended. In addition, learning who the current media influencers are that reach your customer base is becoming increasingly important as social media becomes more prevalent.
Building a relationship can even lead to you becoming a contributor, which is one of the highest levels of media exposure you can receive. Achieving that helps make you seen as a voice of authority in the particular space your business resides and allows you to own that space, which ultimately helps you own the narrative should the situation present itself.
- Craft the perfect pitch
When crafting your pitch to journalists, you’re really crafting your hero story – your voice, who you are, who your customers are and how to write for the right media publication based on that. Understanding exactly who your customers are is critical, so do your research.
Additionally, understanding who the right journalists to contact is equally important. Journalists get pitched on average 50 times per day, so definitely keep that in mind. Now when you do send out your pitch, you need to explain exactly what you do, and not just generally throughout the pitch, but especially in the first line. If you succeed in making this happen, milk the coverage you receive as much as you possibly can. Being successful with your first piece of coverage then becomes an extremely useful tool to use in crafting your next pitch.
- Get your assets in gear
Now before you even begin a conversation with a journalist, make sure you have any and all assets ready to go. This includes things such as photos, videos, infographics and social media links. Your first attempt at trying to reach a particular journalist might be your only shot, so be prepared.
Not hearing back isn’t the end of the world, so a simple follow-up is all that’s needed as anyone that’s been swamped with work will know, it’s incredibly easy to miss an email. If you do get a no as an answer, it’s also not a time to panic. Instead use this time to ask for feedback as that could help you refine your next pitch.
- Measure your goals
Once you’ve managed to get your first few pieces of media exposure out there, it’s important to take a step back, look over your goals and analyse how much the media coverage to this point has helped you achieve them. Was it good coverage? Did that coverage meet your expectations?
Also make sure to take this time to check on what you’ve learned from this experience. If any mistakes were made on the media side or company side, it’s okay and something that’s fixable. The companies that succeed are the ones who respond and address issues head on. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
- Pay it forward
Make sure you put any and all coverage you get absolutely everywhere. Share it with everyone you know, friends, family, even your staff. Then get them to share that coverage within their own social networks to help that coverage get seen by even more people. Another great idea is to make sure you build a media section on your businesses website that’ll showcase your exposure.
Remember to single out the outlet and the journalist that gave you the coverage because it’ll go a long way with building that relationship and the potential for future opportunities. But at the end of it all, as Praseeda mentioned at the end of the webinar, it’s important to stay focused and ultimately believe in your purpose as you navigate your business into media exposure.