“Everyone wants media coverage — it can boost sales, attract investors, and give you something to post about on Facebook. The problem? Everyone wants media coverage” – Amy Westervelt, Tech & Business Journalist.
It’s normal for early-stage startups to find media coverage extremely appealing and the thought of appearing in the news, a quick way to boost awareness and credibility. But much like the poisoned apple that Snow White received as a gift from her stepmother, PR can sometimes go array when done wrongly or poorly planned.
Every founder should know the basics about PR, when to use it and how to take advantage of these opportunities.
Will Moore has more than 10 years of experience in content marketing, social media and tech journalism. He was recently head of Marketing & Communications at Faber Ventures and is currently working at Creation Healthcare as Chief Evangelist, developing storytelling around pharmaceutical market innovation.
So, in a very clear and practical way,
Here’s everything you need to know about PR
To successfully market you need to make sure you are prepared, so this is what you should put together:
- Photos of the founders
- Logo packs for the press on your site
- Founder Bios
- Company Vision Statement
- Company biography (Vision, Key trends/issues your product addresses, the technology behind, founder facts (city banker, pro footballer, doctorate etc) Company Values and DNA, Investors/advisors, Customers)
- Press page on website
- Who will speak to the media when needed
- Budgets for marketing outreach
How can you make the most of your data?
There are 3 types of data
Platform – Data from you as a company/product. In smart cities this might be the number of tracked vehicles per square mile and stopping patterns. In Health, it might be the number of calories burned, miles walked. In B2B it might be the number of users, data points gathered, lines of code corrected.
Industry – The good thing about data is its abundance. Looking back at our smart cities data – is there a report on GDP for tourism in Lisbon?
Use this data, and gain insights from overlaying your data on top. Unbabel as an example: The industry average translation is ¢14 per word whilst Unbabel’s is ¢4 – from this we can create a story using outside data (Zero cost)
Community – The last point here is community data.
How can your community serve to promote you through numbers? A simple example is a customer using a travel app to save €1000 on their honeymoon. It is a datapoint with a deeper story behind it.
How do you find those stories?
Start by digging into your data – do you have a user that spends huge amounts of time in your app, on your site or using your product? Find them and ask them what they think. From this data you can create compelling media stories, marketing messages and more.
HOW TO TALK
- Do you know how to sell your product to the media?
- Are you prepared for the hard questions?
- Who will speak?
- If you’re going to get international coverage, your English level should also be something to work on.
Media training can be a very useful tool.
What is your objective in using PR? – It’s probably a combination of increasing traffic/sales and building awareness – however is there something specific you want to achieve?
Example: I would like to be seen by holidaymakers traveling in Europe this Summer.
If the above is your goal (holiday makers) then which sectors do you need to target? Travel, local news, national media.
Think about where your story will have the biggest impact in relation to the goals you want to achieve and the sectors you want to operate in.
- Is TechCrunch where you will see the best possible return?
- Is there an industry outlet that could better suit you? Travel sites, in-flight mags as well as other more general targets (national, tech etc)
- Which is better? 100k views and 5 sales/downloads or 5k views and 15 sales/downloads?
Crafting your story
Through a startup platform, we have access to a vast wealth of data with the potential to couple with third-party surveys and analytics, creating compelling data stories. Data is one of the modern journalist’s key assets, so if we can be the ones to provide that data – it will greatly increase the odds of success.
As mentioned previously, certain media outlets will be more receptive to telling the story of a vendor through the benefits delivered to its customers. With appropriate communication and agreement, we should identify transparent clients, whose positive customer stories can be told through target media verticals.
Supporting the data-driven stories, I recommend we utilise users’ data to reveal trends which can be used to fuel a prolonged thought-leadership programme. Thought-leadership not only helped raise awareness for Unbabel, but was also used to raise the profile of executives, whose names the opinion articles appeared under.
As well as proactively pushing out data-driven stories and angles, there is huge potential to be had from providing journalists with timely statistics or case studies in response to a breaking news event.
Once you have a feature in TechCrunch or similar – what next? How do you increase value?
- Put the logos/quotes on your site
- Build a press section with clippings and mentions
- Share via social channels (not just once)
- Add positive quotes from journalists to your site and other marketing
- Consider putting money behind the ongoing promotion of the article
..Is it? Nope, there’s always more great content from which you can learn:
Will has covered pretty much all the basics you’ll need on Media Coverage however here’s your chance to gather more precious tips, by reading about the talk Robin Wauters, Editor and Founder of Tech.eu, gave at Beta-i and his 6 Rules of PR for Startups.