Would you like your early-stage company to be featured in the news?
Big-name companies, like Apple and Google, are featured in headlines on a constant basis. Even accounting for bad publicity, you know they benefit enormously from that exposure; it’s virtually impossible not to know they exist, and it’s rare that one of their new product launches escapes the common consumer’s attention.
Getting your startup featured in the press is enormously beneficial:
- You’ll increase brand recognition. Before your brand can become loved, it has to become recognized. Getting your name syndicated in local and national news outlets will expose you to new customers and introduce them to your products and services.
- You’ll earn links. In most press releases, you’ll earn a link pointing back to your site. That link will usually yield some referral traffic, and will also serve to boost your website’s visibility in search engine rankings, since inbound links are one of the top factors in the ranking algorithm.
- You’ll build bridges to bigger opportunities. Getting connections at major news outlets and publishers can serve as a bridge to bigger opportunities; you might get yourself featured in higher-traffic publications, or get an in with a prospective client.
But if you’re running a small operation without a game-changing idea, it’s going to be tough to earn that exposure. Fortunately, there are some low-hanging-fruit strategies that can help you get the media coverage you need:
- Announce your launch. If your company is just starting, or if it has officially launched within the past few months, you can formally announce your launch with a press release. You’ll need to either learn how to write one or contract someone who knows what they’re doing, but if you’re making a simple launch announcement, the project shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. Once you have the press release written, you have two options; shop the press release around yourself by emailing it to various editors at publishers that fit your niche, or submit it through an automated service like PR Newswire or PRWeb.
- Build a relationship with local press. Next, work on building a relationship with some of your local press outlets. You can start by sending an email to editors or journalists to introduce yourself, while including your launch press release. Let the journalist know that you’re available if they’re ever looking for local business owners’ opinions, and ask them if there’s anything they need at the moment. The tighter you are with local journalists, the quicker you can get your most significant stories to press; eventually, you may even be able to volunteer as a guest writer on the publication itself.
- Get involved with local events. You can also work indirectly to increase your exposure with the press by capitalizing on events that the press is already interested in. For example, if your city is hosting a festival, consider opening a booth for your business, or sponsoring the event. If a nonprofit organization is hosting a fundraiser, consider getting yourself involved with it. Press will be out looking for interviews and inftion, and if your brand is at the center of the action, they’ll have no choice but to mention you.
- Host events. Consider hosting your own events, especially if you have the space for it. These can be practically anything, depending on your current resources and the nature of your brand. For example, you could host a lecture series, a workshop, a mixer event, or an open hoto show off your new office space. In any case, if you can drum up enough interest on social media, reporters will be knocking on your door to find out more about it.
- Volunteer. If you don’t have the funds or the inclination to sponsor a program or host an event, you can always consider volunteering with your staff for a cause that you believe in. You can start by choosing a cause, preferably one that impacts your local community, and develop a volunteer program around it. You could volunteer for multiple benefits, but it’s better to start with; people will associate your brand more strongly with a single cause than with “volunteering” in general. Volunteerism always catches the attention of the press, and if it doesn’t, you can consider submitting a press release about it.
- Help a reporter out. If you’re having trouble getting local interest and you don’t have any newsworthy topics to submit as a press release, you can always turn to Help a Reporter Out (HARO), an outlet designed to pair reporters with sources. Browse for reporters looking for someone like you, and consider contributing regularly.
- Collaborate. Finally, consider collaborating with another company, influencer, or personality that already has a significant following or a history of being featured in the press. For example, you could work on a piece of content together or work together to co-host an event. You’ll likely get more attention from the press by proxy.