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Mon 10 Nov 2014 | By:

How to Get a Reporter to Write About Your Startup

How To Get A Reporter To Writer About Your StartupAs the founder of a newly formed startup, you have a lot on your plate. From product development, servicing clients, marketing, HR and more, there is a lot to do. So how do you find the time and resources to run an effective PR campaign? Well, it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are 5 sure-fire ways to get the media talking about you.


1. Craft Meaningful Positioning Statements

Before telling the world who you are, be sure that you know who you are. Without step 1, any pitch to the press will be misguided. The question that I always ask myself is: Who will care? Once you have your audience in mind it’s a lot easier to dive into deeper questions like: What effect will my product/service have on the consumer?

Just like in English class, remember to answer the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How.

After crafting a positioning statement, you’ll want to create a press kit (see the example on TogetherClinic.com for how this might look) to share with journalists once they pick up your story. This should include your logos, founders bios and photos, media advisory, important dates in the company’s history (date founded, product launched, updates made, etc) and any other pertinent information. Bundle this up and you can be sure that any journalist worth their salt with get your basic information right in an article.


2. Identify The Right Journalists To Target

There is a fair amount of disagreement between experts on step 2. Some go with a very obvious “any press can be good press” approach, while others take a very cautious approach with identifying the right journalists to tell your story to the public.

My advice here would be to know your local press and the national press that you aspire to get. The gut check will always be your comfort level with a journalist. Review their work beforehand to get an idea of the types of questions they ask and how they skew the story.

A key takeaway here is to make a database with the journalists that you contact and keep it updated so that you that you can reference it later.

Hint: You may want to create lists in Twitter that would help you track and activity of specific journalists, and identify the right angle to use in your PR approach.


3. Connecting With Reporters

This is a very important step that can be handled one of two ways: the cautious, friendly way, or, the direct way. 

Your preferred route depends what your PR strategy is, and largely what type of person you are.


4. The Follow-Up

Didn’t get that story written the first time? Don’t panic. News cycles may allow for your story to be told in coming weeks. The key is staying on the radar of your preferred journalist(s) by following up with new successes, key updates and more.

Even if you were successful in your first round of stories, journalists are usually willing to write a follow-up story based on a previously written article.

In either case, persistence is key.


5. Becoming the Go-To Resource For News Outlets

Once you get to know a key group of journalists, and can claim subject matter expertise, you may become a go-to source for new stories (usually industry-related). This provides you a platform to share your experiences, become a star in the community and market your business in an indirect way.

Think Zoe Barnes in House of Cards here.

On the outside, PR may seem scary to new entrepreneurs, but with the right strategy, connections with journalists and materials to tell your story, you’ll be able to master this process effectively.

Note: Some of the ideas in this article are attributed to Joshua Steimle’s post from Forbes – and Renee Warren from Onboardly. These folks are great resources as well so make sure to check out their content!

Ali Schwanke is an independent marketing consultant with a focus on content, strategy, and analytics. After failing in the pursuit of a startup idea, she now sees everything as an opportunity to A/B test her theories. With roots in Nebraska and Alaska, she enjoy being outdoors with her family, running, home remodel projects, and geeking out on her favorite podcasts and audiobooks. Get in touch with her on Twitter and her website!

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