If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? That’s one of the most famous questions of all time, but let’s tweak it for this article: If your startup accomplishes something amazing but no one knows about it, did it really happen?
With no shortage of startups across Asia-Pacific, it’s easy for yours to be left unnoticed. While your main priority should always be improving your business model and growing your company, part of that growth is getting your startup’s name out there and making it well-known.
One of the most common ways to do this is through media relations. By having your company featured in an article or video appearing in mainstream media outlets, you’ll have a much bigger platform to tell your startup’s story and show what you’re doing to change the game. Getting covered by mainstream media such as newspapers, magazines, press websites, radio, and TV also gives your business a sense of credibility and authenticity, as people outside your company are talking about your startup favorably.
But media relations isn’t simply about holding an event and inviting journalists to cover your startup. There are several things you should consider to maximize the benefits of media relations for the growth of your company. Here are a few tips:
1. Know the right time to reach out to media.
Just like many things in business, the key to successful media relations lies in timing. In this case, it’s knowing when you should be reaching out to media and giving your company press coverage. Unlike larger companies that have an easier time with media relations because of their established names, startup founders with relatively unknown businesses need to be more strategic with when they reach out to the media.
Among the most common milestones that journalists cover is when a startup formally launches to the public, when a startup gets a significant amount of funding or gets backing from a well-known investor, and when a startup wins a contest or award. These are often newsworthy and can give you a good jumping-off point to tell your startup’s story.
But your startup’s media presence shouldn’t depend solely on these milestones. Aside from being a one-time thing or being extremely infrequent, there’s more to a business than its investors and accolades. Media coverage on your business can also focus on reaching goals in users or revenue, new or upgraded technologies implemented into your core products, and other similarly relevant updates.
2. Media relations can establish your expertise in a particular vertical.
With all the attention directed to you and your startup, it’s easy to see media coverage as one big vanity project. After all, you’re putting the spotlight on yourself, and all eyes are paying attention to see what you have to say. While it’s an easy comparison to make, media relations is more than just asking journalists to focus on your business—it’s also the best opportunity for your startup to establish its expertise.
“PR (public relations) isn’t about hits and it isn’t about placement,” said public relations expert Brooke Hammerling in a First Round Review feature. “It’s about focusing your voice. It’s about finding your place in the market.”
As Hammerling says, media relations can be used to strategically place and highlight your startup in the industry where you operate. If a fintech startup founder talks about financial literacy in a feature story about their company, they’re joining that conversation and making it known that their startup has some valuable insights to contribute. This gives the audience the idea that there is more to your startup than its core product or service.
So beyond shining the spotlight on your startup, media relations can also highlight the key messages you want to put forward. Whether it’s solving a specific pain point or addressing a gap in the market, media coverage can be a very effective way of getting these ideas across.
3. Media relations is a stepping stone to success, not the proof.
Getting covered by mainstream media can be very fulfilling for you and your company. After all, you’re sharing something you’ve worked hard on for a long time to people outside the team. On top of that, you’re getting an unbiased and valuable perspective of your company from their write-ups and coverage.
However, having several articles written about your company doesn’t mean that it’s already successful. In fact, it’s often just one of the earliest hurdles that your startup has to overcome. While it will remain an important asset as your startup grows, media relations is just that—one of many assets contributing to your success.
As SEO expert and marketing consultant Neil Patel wrote in his blog, “The key to success lies in your ability to solve a universal problem by offering a solution to others. If you’ve made this possible, then you’re more likely to be successful in the long-run. If you haven’t, media coverage won’t make up for your mediocre product or service.”
4. There’s more you can do beyond press releases and events.
While press releases and events are the most common ways you can reach out to the press, there are several other ways you can build up media relations. After all, there are only so many press releases you can send out and events you can hold.
For one, you don’t have to rely on your own events to get your startup out there. If you or any member of your team is invited to a speaking engagement, use the opportunity to talk about your startup to an audience while establishing yourself as an expert in your speech’s topic. Conferences and seminars are also good ways to increase your network and reach key individuals.
Another popular way your startup can engage with media is through thought leadership. Unlike press releases that focus solely on your startup, thought leadership articles aim to turn you and your startup into a key voice in specific topics and subjects. Whether it’s posted in your company’s own blog or shared directly to media websites, thought leadership pieces are effective ways to secure a larger audience for your company.
Need help with media relations?
If your startup needs help producing thought leadership content and reaching various marketing channels, talk to us! We’re more than happy to help you integrate media relations into your startup’s journey.
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