Our three part series with JournoLink explores how new businesses can grow their brand through the wonders of PR.
When it comes to PR there are many different ways to promote your startup and grab a journalist’s attention. However, many business owners struggle to know where to start and what will interest a journalist.
Below, Camilla Holroyd, Media Relations Executive at JournoLink, the online PR platform for small businesses, suggests 5 ways you can promote your startup in the media.
Every startup will have business updates as they grow and develop. Whether it’s a big investment, new partnership or product launch, journalists will want to hear success stories. However, it is important to make the story newsworthy.
Ask yourself whether you would find your story interesting if it wasn’t about your business. For example, hiring a new person or moving offices might be exciting to you, yet may not be to your audience. Remember, the journalist’s job is not to promote your brand, it is to create engaging stories for their readers.
Make your story newsworthy by creating wider picture. Were you able to hire someone new due to an investment from a household name? Did you launch a new product in connection to something already happening in the news? Piggyback off what people are already reading about and interested in.
"Make your story newsworthy by creating wider picture."
Become an expert
Another way to piggyback off what is already happening in the news is to share your thoughts and comments. Whether you wish to share your views on the latest government data released or political movement, journalists will be looking for startups to comment.
For example, when the government announced the introduction of the sugar tax this was the perfect time for businesses selling low-sugar food and drink products to share their views and show how their business was helping to overcome the problem.
When news breaks it is important to react and share your views as soon as possible, create a business calendar so you’re aware of upcoming dates. This way you will not miss an opportunity to share your views and will also be able to draft your comments in advance.
"Create a business calendar so you’re aware of upcoming dates."
Awards are a great way to get noticed by journalists, especially local and industry publications. They can give your business authenticity and put you forward as leader in a particular sector. Whether you apply for startup, industry or even environmental awards, winning or beginning shortlisted is a great time to share your story.
Award ceremonies are also your chance to build relationships with journalists, they may be attending themselves and joining the judging panel, or you can invite them to join your table. It is important to network and meet them face-to-face, it will make you more memorable and start that key relationship.
Events are another great way to gain media coverage and meet journalists face-to-face. Whether you’re hosting a pop-up shop or press day, it gives them a chance to see the products in person, as well as having the opportunity to ask you any questions they may have.
When holding an event you wish to invite journalists to it is important to make it easy for them and make them feel relaxed. For example, journalists are very busy, often rushing around attending meetings and reaching their deadlines. Therefore, make it an all-day event, the journalist will be able to attend at time that is best for them, making them more willing to turn up.
"Events are another great way to gain media coverage and meet journalists face-to-face."
Gift guides or shopping features are a brilliant way to promote a new product launch or your business around key dates in the year. For example, Christmas, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are all big features in consumer press with both journalists and bloggers looking for products to promote.
Most publications will also have recurring shopping features, such as Stylist magazine’s ‘The Style List’ which appears in every weekly edition.
When pitching to be included in a gift guide or shopping feature it is important to provide all the relevant information for the journalist, such as description, price, stockists and high resolution images.
You also need to be aware of the publications lead times. Glossy magazines normally work three-four months in advance, apart from Christmas, when they start to prepare in July. However, weekly magazines will normally work two weeks in advance. You need to know these deadlines in order to not miss the boat.
These five points are all ways to promote your startup in the media. Most will work for all businesses and some work best for others. It is about how you wish your business to be seen and what you feel comfortable with as a business owner.
By Camilla Holroyd
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