Aside from the bare essentials, perhaps the most important thing that any startup can have is press coverage. Press coverage has many benefits, including social validation, web traffic, and an increase in users and legitimacy. While many entrepreneurs convince themselves they do not need the press, they really do since it can open up many more doors that were unimaginable at first. As a startup it can be intimidating to approach this necessary aspect of the launch process, however there are a few ways that we use here at LaunchByte to get our incubees the kind of press coverage that they need.
The first thing that any startup needs to do is launch a blog. Now, this is obviously not the press coverage itself, but what it does is twofold: it allows your brand to communicate what it is doing that is worthy of coverage, and gives a point of contact and interest for journalists themselves. Blogging is often the best way to collect your press releases in one area and then they are more likely to get attention for further coverage. Also, a good, detailed daily blog actually provides the information and research any journalist needs to cover the startup, without too much effort on their part. Making things easier for the press makes it more likely they will give you the coverage that you want.
The second thing is to know who to target when submitting a pitch for an article. While the obvious route is to submit directly to the organization, it is worth remembering that is the journalists who do the actual writing, so getting to know the writers of the publications you are looking to feature in can bring dividends. Follow them on Twitter, see what they write on Facebook, and learn what they like. Reply to tweets and get to know them. This doesn’t need a big investment of time, just a few minutes each day and do it naturally. When you do email your pitch, you will find it to be much more effective when you understand the person you are selling to. We receive hundreds of pitches a month, however the ones that stand out to us are the ones from people that follow us on social media, comment on our articles, share our posts, etc.. It shows the organization you don't just want to use them but are genuinely interested in what they do.
Pitching itself is successful if you target the right writers and organizations. Start small with blogs and work your way up as interest in the startup increases, aiming for the big names that you have been following. This is not underselling the startup. The organizations with bigger audiences have huge numbers of submissions to choose from. Being able to bring an audience is vital to get noticed and make it worth their while to run a story.
Of course, the pitch itself is essential no matter who you are aiming at, and there are three basic pitch ideas for a piece you can create to get a story published:
- Brand New Feature or Idea – Something that you have added to a product or service that has not been seen before and will really benefit the publications audience. It is important to connect the benefit with the readership of the publication, since it makes them more likely to run a story off it. For example, if LaunchByte just accepted a new incubee that was building microsystems, we would not be pitching to the bloggers at Huffington Post Food & Drink.
- Passing a milestone – This one is part of the ongoing startup coverage. It can be a specific number of users or anything else, but a definable number that shows that the business is growing. i.e. "LaunchByte.io hits its 25th incubee mark this April"
- Your product is a solution – This one is a time sensitive pitch. If some disaster happens in your market, such as a competing app shutting down its free alternative, then an appeal to the affected users with how your product can help them overcome that issue.
Press is vital to any startup, but it need not be daunting if you get the right pitches aimed at the right people in the right way. Have questions? Reach out to us email@example.com so our PR specialists can help you get the coverage you deserve.