By Arantza Calligari
Marketing and Communications Intern
“Finding Free Press for your Startup”
Running a startup business is hard enough. Let free press help move things along. Press is exceptionally beneficial because it creates credibility, exposure and brand recognition; not to mention, it’s free! Yet the irony of the “press game” is the fact that some businesses receive no coverage while others effortlessly spread like wildfire. Luckily, there are three easy steps to follow to guarantee not only free press, but also the right type of press. These three steps are broken down into the following phases: the research, the pitch and the follow-up. When all three phases are performed correctly, it will translate into free press, and quite possibly, positive, long-lasting relationships.
Research can be intimidating at times, but it’s the key to creating new knowledge and an important part of our three-step process. Plus, this type of research can be quite fun! First, begin researching your competitors, who in the media is writing about them and what they are saying. This will help you grasp a better idea of where you might want to pitch. After you have researched the competitors, become familiar with the authors. Similar to dating, you must research those authors and find out their background, read their stories and learn their style of writing. Now, here comes the crucial part. You must decide which authors are good matches for you and your startup and which are not. Once you have your list of authors, you are ready to move on to phase 2, the pitch.
The pitch is the most important part, but once you know your authors, the pitch will come with ease. When starting to plan your pitch, put yourself in the reporter’s shoes, think about what they want to hear and keep it brief. The best way to approach pitching is by beginning the relationship by asking for advice, which oftentimes boosts their confidence. Next, offer a good story, something that will be intriguing for reporters, a brand boost for your company and exciting for the readers. Try to steer away from profile pieces. Also, before pitching, makes sure you have done the legwork. In your pitch, make sure to include quotes, reference material and links in regards to your story. This will drastically reduce the time the author must spend on your story and will dramatically increase your chances of receiving free press.
In terms of a follow-up, it’s important to be patient. The life of a reporter is very hectic, so in your follow-up, make sure you aren’t overbearing, and remember that your relationship with that author should outlast the article.
Other Key tips
Go where the reporters go in their time of need, HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is a great tool for gaining exposure through free publicity. Reporters use this tool to find quotes and information from experts and people in particular fields. This will surely boost your company’s brand awareness in the press and give you the attention you deserve!
The three-step process will assist you in obtaining free press for your start-up; however, if you don’t have the time, leave it to the professionals at Pushing the Envelope.