How To Get Major Press Coverage Fast Without a lot of Money
Time and money is everything, but if you’re a startup, chances are you don’t have much of either. Odds are you’re poor when it comes to time and odds are you don’t want to be spending a lot of money on PR. It’s far more likely you’d rather be interested in developing your product.
So, here are some easy ways that you can use a little bit of your time each week to get some PR; just a couple improvements on how you can pitch to the media and get them to pick up on the stories you have about your business.
Here are some key tips on how to get press for your business. Doing this each week won’t take a lot out of your time. Before we begin, keep in mind that very few people do this right. If you do it right, your pitch will stand out to journalists because it’s going to be different from the normal types of pitches they get, most of which aren’t very good.
Let’s define some terms here. There are three types of placement when it comes to getting published in the mainstream media.
The first type of placement is the feature —- the feature article. This is the type of placement you really want to get because it’s all about your company. Investors love this placement.
An easier type of placement to get is the mention. The mention still has good PR, even if it is the second placement.
Lastly, the third type of placement is when you create content that journalists use to support their article.
Let’s talk more about that first placement; the feature article. This is what you should be striving for. You want to get that feature article that’s talking about your company and that’ll show you off. You don’t want to get these feature articles just because it’s an ego trip and just because it makes the investors happy. You want to get these feature articles when it grows your business, when it plays into your marketing plans, when there’s some sort of good business reason to do it; because it is going to take a little bit of time and it is going to require your attention. For this reason, you don’t want to take your precious time and attention away from building your business to focus on getting the feature article just to feel good.
Out of all these tips, one of the more important ones is — you need to start seeing stories everywhere. It’s common for somebody to think that their business is either fascinating or boring. Sometimes you have a case of a founder thinking that their business is interesting, but then when they sit down and ponder how they would write a story about their business, they’re at a loss. But there are hundreds of stories that could be written about your business, even if you’re not sure how. You just have to learn how to see these stories. In order to do that, you need to think like a journalist.
To think like a journalist, you need to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes and start understanding them by reading their articles. Once you start seeing stories everywhere, and you start thinking and having ideas for these stories, you want to choose your outlet first. You don’t choose the journalist first, you choose the outlet. Different outlets focus on different things. What one outlet is interested in is not what the other outlet may be interested in. So, because of this, you need to read these outlets and be familiar with them, because if you pitch an article that’s appropriate for one outlet but you’re pitching it at another one, it’s probably going to get rejected. Each of these publications has their specialty, things that they like and things that they don’t like. So you might have a great story, but if you pitch it at the wrong outlet, they’re going to reject it, and when they do, they’re not going to tell you why they did, so you’ll never really know it was rejected. Because of this, you need to figure out which outlet is most likely to pick up the story that you’re interested in first.
Once you’ve chosen the outlet, now you choose your writer. You have to ask the question — which writers of this outlet are going to be interested in my story? Because not all writers from that outlet will be. So you have to figure out which writers have written stories that are similar to the type of story you’re pitching. The worst time to pitch a writer is right after they’ve written a story that you want them to write about you. Unfortunately, that’s also the easiest time to spot them. So if you contact a writer to write a story about something they’ve already written, they likely won’t be interested in writing about it.
To increase your chances of getting a journalist to accept your pitch, you need to follow these writers, become familiar with what they’re interested in, and you need to be able to guess and predict what they’re going to be interested in before you pitch them. So choose your writer making sure you get to know them well.
Now, you may ask— How do you find these writers? How do you find out who they are, and how do you contact them?
Twitter is the best place to find writers. Twitter is a journalist’s haven, it’s where journalists dwell and communicate with each other, and it’s often quite easy to figure out what the journalists are interested in and how to contact them here.
On Twitter, you can see who the journalists write for, their email address, and you can look at their articles, seeing what they’re interested in or what type of writing they’ve done in the past. On Twitter, journalists want to make it easy for you to contact them, so they make their email addresses readily available. So if you want to find journalists, go to Twitter.
Here are some things NOT to do when you’re constructing a pitch and talking to the media.
—Don’t do the shotgun pitch. A shotgun pitch is where people take a pitch and they send it out to 200 journalists. When a journalist receives that type of pitch, they know it, and that makes it very unlikely that they’ll write a story about that. They want exclusivity. So you’re going to do a pitch, don’t do a shotgun pitch— do a focused pitch. Send it to one person.
—Don’t say that you’re special. We all are, but telling a journalist that your company’s really great, special and exciting doesn’t really mean anything to them. You have to SHOW the journalist that you’re special, and you need to do that in a very quick manner.
— Don’t beg. Don’t beg them to write a story for you. It makes you look desperate and it makes your story look less interesting. Journalists want to write about companies that are successful and confident, so don’t beg— it eats away at your credibility.
—Don’t make it about you. Like anything in life, when you’re trying to get someone to do something for you, make it about them. Make the story about the journalist. Show them that by writing a story about you, this is going to be good for them, because you’ve got something fascinating that a lot of people are going to want to read; a story that is of general interests to a lot of people. Journalists want people to read their work and they want to get credit for the stories they’re writing, so if you can help the journalists see how they’re going to look good by writing a story about you, they’re going to be more interested. So don’t make it about you, make it about the journalist.
Now that we’ve gotten out of the way what NOT to do when pitching, do this when you’re pitching:
— Get to know the writer, follow them on Twitter, and read the articles they’ve written. If you can, meet and sit down with the journalist in real life. Make sure to let them know details about you; asking a journalist for advice on PR is another good way to develop a relationship with the journalist, which is what you want.
—Personalize your pitch. When you send an email to somebody, make sure it’s obvious that you’re only sending your email to them and that doesn’t just mean starting the email off with their name. Go beyond just including the journalist’s name—include some details in that pitch that make it obvious that you know who that journalist is and what they do.
— Offer something of value. i.e Do you have interesting data, do you have an infographic, do you have something to offer the journalist to make that story more valuable and shareable so that it’s going to get more attention?
— Keep it brief. Long emails don’t get read. You want a very short pitch and that means one or two sentences. If your email’s longer than that, the journalist will delay on replying to it. They’ll think to themselves, “This is gonna take a while for me to read, I’ll respond to it later.” And they end up never replying. So because of this, you want to make an email where a journalist can reply quickly to it, and by keeping your email short, you increase your chances of getting a response.
— Make sure your email is personalized. You don’t want to send a nicely formatted pitch, you want to send an authentic personal email.
— Keep in mind that it’s rare for journalists to respond to press releases.
— Come to the journalist with a story already in mind when pitching.
— DON’T GIVE UP.
Too many entrepreneurs submit a pitch and they get rejected or no response, causing them to feel dejected. But keep in mind there could be plenty of reasons for a journalist to reject your pitch or for them not to respond. Maybe the email didn’t get through to the journalist. So if you don’t get a response, follow up after a week. If you still don’t get a response, maybe the journalist is just busy. Maybe they have too many similar articles that they need to run this month, so it’s just not a good month for that story, but maybe next month would be a better month for that story. So, don’t stop when you send in a pitch and it gets rejected. Keep pitching the media – maybe it’ll take five pitches before you get one article in, maybe ten, but if you get that article in and you get that feature story, it’s going to be worth it. This can launch your business, it can attract investment and it can do all sorts of great stuff for your business.
A highly valuable tool for tech companies, when done properly, is PR. Here, we will be discussing the advantages that comes with PR and the results it provides for tech companies.
We will be outlining some of the tactics we use to help grow your company, including examples of how we have used PR in different ways for a variety of businesses focusing on different niche industries.
Introduction To Tech PR
When the word “technology” comes to mind, we usually think of programmers, scientists and engineers; people who focus on cold hard facts and objective truths in their quest for innovation and knowledge. It’s possible you’re one of these people and you may already have a great idea on your hands that’ll bring change in the world. Perhaps you’ve already spent time developing this idea, and have a tech startup on your hands.
You’re not alone. There are many startups contending for the attention of current and potential stakeholders. Because of this, we feel it’s necessary that another type of innovation is needed for tech startups to grow, and we’re of course referring to technology PR. It might not seem like such an apparent pairing, (Technology and public relations), but this new type of enterprise tech PR is arising not only because of the proven benefits that PR has in growing a business, but from the increasing involvement of technology in both our professional and private lives. Due to this, there is an increasing need for brands to distinguish themselves via effective strategic communication.
— Technology and public relations may not seem like an apparent pairing, but this new type of enterprise tech PR is arising not only because of the increasing involvement technology is having in both our professional and private lives, but also because of the proven benefits PR has in growing a business. Due to this, there is an increasing need for brands to distinguish themselves via effective communication.
The tech field is flourishing without a doubt, and startups became the biggest source of new jobs in our current economy. The down side is that the tech world is also getting muddled with new businesses and solutions arising daily, which means, the fight for the attention of the media and target audiences is a real thing.
What is PR?
In order to understand the worth of marketing tech PR, first, we need to have a good understanding of PR is, and what its pros and cons are. PR is often used to refer to situations where an organization or individual looks bad and needs help to restore a positive image in the eye of the public. While this is definitely true, this crisis management is only a minor part of what PR is and what PR specialists get up to. The main role of PR is not to fix a negative image, but to bring forth a positive one to begin with.
PR, or Public Relations, is the management of information and how it is communicated with a variety of parties; your stakeholders, your employees, investors, partners and of course your clients and consumers. Anyone who is interested in, or you want to be interested in your brand should be considered in your PR strategy.
However PR is not simply telling people how remarkable you are, it’s a bit more subtle than that. PR strives to get stories featured in the media that puts you or your brand in a positive narrative or story, which will have the result of increasing brand awareness and establishing authority and credibility. With this in mind, how can we best understand what is PR for tech companies?
— PR is the management of communication channels and how you use them to influence public perception of your brand.
What is Tech PR?
Above all, we need to consider what a tech company is, and this is more nuanced than one might expect. The definition of a tech company, according to Tech Nation, is a business that provides a digital technical service, product, platform or hardware, or heavily relies on it, as its primary source of revenue.
With technology being so vital to almost every business, it is very easy to try and class yourself as a tech company, and it is certainly very tempting to do so. Regardless of your industry, be it fashion or finance, the boom of Silicon Valley has made it cool to give yourself this label, and as such identifying yourself as a tech company could be considered a PR move in itself.
Technology PR therefore, is the art of building and maintaining a positive image of a company or organization that develops and distributes technology either as a product or service, or is heavily reliant on or driven by technology. But why is technology PR considered dissimilar to regular PR?
What makes PR unique for tech companies?
There are obviously similarities between a regular startup and a tech company, but the focus on technology creates some notable differences between them. Firstly technology companies are abundant with technical lingo that a lot of people will not be familiar with. It is therefore necessary to accommodate your communications when you are communicating with experts compared to your average consumer. Messages filled with slang are not terribly relatable and can make your value difficult to communicate.
Due to the swift pace technology evolves at, technology PR is an incredibly fast paced and competitive industry. There are always new startups, new funding rounds and new innovations that make the media landscape a swarming place.
PR for technology companies has to move quickly to remain on the cutting edge of breaking news and to remain significant. This turnover is also driven by an unprecedented level of private equity investment which is accelerating the development of companies and pushing them through their lifecycle at high speeds.
PR for tech companies has to be far more agile than traditional PR, as tech industries evolve quickly and are constantly changing. The language of tech companies can sometimes be very technical and divisive.
Common problems for tech startups:
There are many problems PR can resolve for your tech company, as having a communication strategy in place is very effective at growing your reputation and at increasing your exposure. As a long term activity, PR seeks to grow your sales by creating trust between your brand and your stakeholders.
— Trouble securing funding or investment
— Attracting the best new talent to your company
— Growing your customer and user base
— Scaling up your business
Creating exposure for yourself through your own communication channels as well as getting featured in other publications is key to developing your startup and bringing your technology to the world.
When you think of traditional PR, you may think that it is only a feasible strategy for established companies who have the money to maintain their image. This is a myth, and PR is in fact of great importance to those who need media attention to establish credibility and grow their audience. There are actually some advantages that you have as a startup over more established companies.
Let’s look at some other details we need to know about PR. We should also take into consideration the Benefits of PR, which goes as follows:
- It builds trust and credibility
- It grows your target market
- It creates a positive image for your brand
- It positions you as a thought leader
Now onto the Strategies of Tech PR.
1. Thought Leadership
Even though it’s tended to be overlooked, thought leadership is considered a key element in marketing. When expanding and building upon your reputation as a professional in your field, leveraging your opinion as an individual or representative of a company carries a larger weight and increases your influence across the industry.
By becoming an opinion leader, you put yourself in the position of someone who greatly understands the industry, business, the needs of its audience and the broader marketplace.
Due to the specific nature of tech companies, thought leadership strategies can really showcase your expertise within your field if you offer the answers that your audience is looking for. This not only means people have increased trust in your brand, but it also means that they will search you out for your beneficial insights.
2. Social Media Management
Social Media has proven itself to be a very useful tool in the last twenty years for sharing content. By having a continual presence on social media, you get to have chances to have honest communication with your customers and making their experience more satisfying and worthwhile.
3 Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is another PR strategy that, as a tech company, you should look out for. The more visibility your page has in a search result the more attention and soon-to-be customers you will attract.
Technology is also becoming progressively assimilated into our lives in almost every industry, giving rise to opportunities for new inventive ideas as our technology evolves. With such a wide array of ideas being developed, marketing tech PR has never been more easier, as it is clear that PR for tech companies is an vital tool to stand out and to provide the required answers people are looking for.
HighTech is focused on highly innovative technology. People love to read about advanced and world changing technologies, so PR services for high tech companies and content marketing can be a valuable asset to HighTech startups.
4. Content Marketing
This is a strategy that focuses on developing consistent high quality content. Consistent content is absolutely key in reaching and developing potential customers as it communicates the value of your business.
5. Internal Communication
When done properly, internal communications can help your employees to internalise your business’s values, helping them develop a sense of purpose and turning them into effective brand ambassadors.
6. Growth Hacking
The goal of Growth Hacking is to obtain as many users as possible in a short period of time or with a limited budget while still considering customer retention. This strategy works through rapid testing of ideas, which is great for startups considering their advantages of little red tape and low risk.
HOW TO BE SUCESUFFUL IN TECH PR
1. Make the most of current, trending news stories
With each year, technology becomes more intergrated in everyday life.
It’s advisable that PR professionals use the media’s interest in reporting on technology trends to their advantage and pitch reporters and assignment editors story ideas that relate to your company’s service or product. Not to mention, they are also looking for ideas that widen a previous story’s scope and examine broader trends.
2. Keep your tech PR messaging simple
PR practitioners must remember that consumers are searching for easy, understandable answers to questions they may have about your product or service. So are reporters–and they want to add worth to their stories by providing their audience with information that will help them make the best, proper decisions.
The life of a reporter is hectic and they are looking for high-level information. When pitching the media, it’s best to stick to the 5 Ws and 1H of basic journalism: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?
3. Stay focused on consumer benefits
Keeping it simple, easy and understandable is essential to effective messaging. Yes, this is common knowledge for PR, but it is something that is often neglected because far too many marketers want to highlight technical details about why their product or service is better than the competition’s. They’re not keeping their focus on the simple but meaningful benefits being offered to the target audience.
Consumers are looking for solutions when they are ready to buy a new product or service. Your pitches, follow-up emails, and phone calls–must focus on the essential consumer pain points and how your product or service will improve consumers’ lives.
4. Back up your media pitch with data
Every story about tech products or services definitely includes data to validate market interest. Tens of thousands of new products launch each year–and the companies behind those products are pressing for the attention of reporters and editors.
The best way to distinguish between your company’s product or service is to provide journalists with customers they can interview (if your company policy allows) or data that shows consumer demand exists.
5. Know your audience
Depending on how niche your product or service is, the closer the circle of media and industry trade publications will be that will write about your company. The best tech PR executives know reporters who write about and report their industry. They research the stories those journalists have published, talked about or aired. Forming and growing those relationships over time will pay dividends.
Effectively communicating the benefits of technology-driven products and services can be difficult in an increasingly crowded market. But when you focus on the essentials—easy-to follow messages, the human element, and knowing the media you are pitching–you will produce the coverage you need to build brand awareness for your company.
There are many different PR strategies out there that are used to help grow visibility of your tech startup. As you can see, PR requires time and effort to develop key relationships and perform strategies that will increase your brand awareness.
If you would like to share your feedback on this topic, please contact us.