There were around 1,200 startups founded in the United States in 2018. That’s quite a lot of startups you are competing against when it comes to getting press coverage from journalists. Journalists on the startup beat have a smorgasbord of choices on offer when it comes to covering a startup story.
Therefore, you not only need to convince them to cover your story but also be ready with all the collateral material they need for the same.
Once your startup is up and running, be sure to identify a list of journalists who can cover your stories. Further, it is important to have a ready-made online kit with all the relevant information.
Here are five things you must be ready with to enable journalists to successfully cover your startup story.
1. What’s Your Story?
Why would journalists choose to cover your startup story? They get tons of story pitches every day from startups just like you. In this sea of stories, only truly engaging and exciting ones attractive attention and get told.
A good journalist likes a delightful story; you are not asking for press coverage, you are asking them to cover your startup story.
To get their interest, identify your startup story and work towards making it interesting and engaging. Begin with answering the questions – why does this startup exist; how did I come up with the idea for this startup? The answer might be straightforward enough, but you need to emphasize on the ‘points of interest’.
Think of ways to make your startup story as compelling as you can. Essentially, as the founder, your startup story is your personal journey. Your startup story should, therefore, cover the personal challenges you encountered while breathing life into your startup and how you prevailed over them.
Another critical element of the story is the innovation your startup brings to the table, and the problems it solves. Your marketing efforts should focus on positioning your product as the best solution for its audience, thereby differentiating it from competitors.
Your story sets the stage for generating interest in your startup and facilitating media coverage.
2. Create a Press Kit
Today’s basic marketing requirements seem obvious: a professional website, a strong SEO strategy and a content marketing plan. But what about the press kit?
A press kit (also known as a ‘media kit’) should give a clear idea of what your business stands for, the products your offer, the branding strategy, as well as other marketing materials. The press kit ensures that reporters, journalists, and publishers get access to all the relevant information for media coverage. It can also include other facts and figures that may be beneficial for such press releases.
3. Communicate a Clear Unique Selling Proposition
While the world is witnessing a startup revolution, the reality is that most startups fail within the first five years of launch. According to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail because the market didn’t need their product or service, and 14% fail due to poor marketing.
The key here is to identify and clearly communicate the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your product or business. The USP highlights your startup’s core market differentiation and how it caters to the specific market needs.
Invest time in creating an engaging communication that clearly state’s your USP, thereby generating healthy PR interest.
4. Interact Before You Pitch
Try to engage with a journalist before you reach out to them with your story pitch. Plan a press coverage strategy that enables you to interact with journalists a few months before you actually want your startup story to go live.
Connect with them on various social media channels, HARO, and at local media events. When appropriate, use these networking opportunities to discuss future professional collaborations. More often than not, what could set you apart from your competition is your personal connections with these writers and media persons.
5. Keep Adding to Your Story
Coverage shouldn’t be a one-off thing. If your story appears once in a publication, that shouldn’t be the end of it. Keep adding to your story and try to add a new insight each time in order to get regular press coverage and media attention.
Make it easy for journalists to cover your startup. Adequate preparation not only helps generate interest in your startup but also sets the stage for a long-term working relationship with reputed journalists. What you are doing is creating a foundation for establishing meaningful press relations that will stand your startup in good stead for a long period of time.