How To Get Press For Your Startup
Elijah Masek Kelly, Managing Director @ Powerful Outreach
24 May 2017
EXTRA! EXTRA! Simpletons At PR Outreach Service Expose Industry Secrets!
We really shouldn’t be telling you this because this is what we do as a business. In fact, we are exposing some of our patented techniques on how to get press for your startup, which we have whittled down to make getting press a foolproof process that is insanely effective.
It’s nearly a science – well, maybe an art form. Either way, it’s a process that requires using the right tools with a finessed touch and we are going to tell you exactly how we do it.
So if we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot, let’s make it quick and painless for everyone…
It’s All About Making Connections!
Why Is Press Important?
This is a question that we get all of the time. We are so tired of answering it that we just wanted to lay out a few reasons once and for all. So before we tell you how to get press, we will explain why it is so important.
1. Press is Word of Mouth Advertising
According to a survey from Small Business Trends, 85% of small businesses get their customers through word of mouth. This outranks every other form of marketing and advertising out there, with online searches coming up in a distant second at 59%. There is nothing more valuable to a business than a solid referral and good press coverage for your business is like giving a referral to thousands of people at once. It means people are talking and it means that they are talking about you.
2. Incredible Boosts to SEO Rankings
If your business gets featured somewhere online, this typically means that the publication sharing it will link back to your company’s website. This is incredibly important for boosting your SEO rankings. In fact, a study by Moz showed that 99.2% of the top 50 search engine results had at least one external link leading back to the page. This means that if no one is talking about your business, your website will never make it to the front page.
3. Swarms of Traffic to Your Website
In addition to boosting your SEO rank, press coverage can drive swarms of traffic to your website by connecting your business with untapped audiences. Groove reported a 12,024% increase in traffic by using press coverage as one of their zero-cost strategies to website growth. That’s not a typo. This is the kind of boost to traffic that can pull any business out of the red.
4. Establish Industry Expertise
According to Marketing Charts, 94% of B2B buyers research online before making a purchase. This means that buyers are looking for the best and most effective choice that they can find. People choose to buy from trustworthy sources, so if you can’t prove that you’re an expert in your industry, then people will probably go with the competition. There is no better way to establish your expertise then by having others refer to you for advice.
“This is the point where we should end by saying ‘buy our service because press is great!'”
How To Get Press For Your Startup
Of course, we want you to work with us – but we also believe in sharing knowledge and helping businesses grow. We started from the bottom too, so we know that not everyone has money to dedicate to getting press and that some people just need to DIY. The right kind of exposure can bring phenomenal growth for a business, but it needs to be done right.
So for those with the time and dedication to getting their name into everyone’s mouth, here are 5 tactics to live and breathe by. With persistence, reflection, and practice, they are guaranteed to bring you results.
1. Tell an Extraordinary Story
This is obvious, but it bears repeating as it is the foundation of everything to do with exposure. So many people who seek press to promote their business assume that their existence is enough to constitute a compelling story. Unfortunately, you and your company are just not that interesting.
Unless you are Kim Jong Un’s brother, no one is going to care that you opened a pest control company in Charlottetown. However, if you have re-invented the mousetrap – well, that might get some attention.
Companies need to dig deep when they approach their quest for press.
What does your business do differently? Where can you provide insight as an industry expert? Why should anyone pay even a moment’s worth of attention to you?
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t think of anything at first. It’s hard to look at your own life and business from an outsider’s perspective, but in reality, everyone has a story to tell. The important part is telling that story in an extraordinary way.
2. Respond To Source Requests
Once you have a solid understanding of the story you want to share and the value you can offer to readers, then it is time to get in on the action.
Journalists are constantly looking for sources and evidence to support the stories that they are working on. As someone with particular insight into an industry or niche business, you have everything that you need to be that perfect source for a journalist’s inquiry.
However, if you want to be a source, then you need to be in the right place at the right time ahead of everyone else who is clambering to be there. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by signing up for online tools that connect journalists and sources on a daily basis.
There is a huge range of tools like this, but two of the most popular are:
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) – HARO sends out journalist requests 3 times daily and provides great opportunity to throw in your 2 cents as a source.
Source Bottle – Source Bottle is another free service that gives anyone the chance to be the right source for a journalist’s next story.
Once you are in tune with these tools, you will learn how to properly respond to requests and tailor your pitch to be appealing to journalists. You will learn how to respect their deadlines, respond precisely to their requirements, and share your story in a way that gets journalists drooling for an interview with you.
Of course, not everything that you send out will get picked up and featured. In fact, the vast majority will probably never be looked at twice – but when it does, you will definitely notice… and so will everyone else.
3. Take Your Pitch To The Journalists
The next thing that we shouldn’t tell you is that another effective tactic for getting press is by taking your story straight to the journalists. Journalists are always looking for their next angle and your idea for an article might not be on their radar yet.
This means that if you have your hands on a great story, there is a huge opportunity for exposure if you can get it onto the right journalist’s desk. However, this type of outreach needs to be done with tact. Journalists are busy people with tight deadlines and they don’t have time to listen to half-hearted or irrelevant ideas for stories.
Most journalists work some type of beat. This means that pitching a story about yoga to a journalist who writes about tech is not going to be very effective. In fact, if you are sending pitches to the wrong journalists, you may as well be sending your emails to the spam box.
So how do you find the right journalists?
Well, there are tools for that.
Just Reach Out – This is one of our favorites. It’s a search engine specially designed to find journalists and content that is relevant to your pitch. It is also packed with a bunch of other features that are essential for getting your story to the right place. It also includes some killer pitch templates that will help you appeal to journalists in an effective way.
Dmitry Dragilev, the founder of Just Reach Out, shared some insight with us about getting journalists to listen to your pitch.
“Most people are trying to pitch a description of what they do as a story for journalists to cover – this is NOT a story for journalists haha! Please, please, please do everyone a favor and think about what your story truly is and why is it engaging and interesting to the journalist’s beat, their readers and publication. “Hello, you write about bitcoin, we have a great bitcoin app, etc etc” is not a pitch! Haha. At JustReachOut we teach our customers to focus on the story angle first and test it before starting to do real outreach.”
Although tools like Just Reach Out are essential to finding the right journalists, it is just as important to use them in the right way. Cold pitches are always tough, but that doesn’t make them impossible if you know how to approach someone and demonstrate your value.
4. Become A Guest Author
Sometimes it is hard to get other people to tell your story for you. This is why telling it yourself is another fantastic strategy for getting some exposure.
This is also one of the best ways to establish yourself as an industry expert. By sharing your knowledge and insight with others, people will start to look at you like a leader in your field and recognize you as the person who is right for their business.
However, looping back to telling an extraordinary story, simply tooting your own horn on a blog post is not enough. You need to give your readers something of value, so that they realize that you are truly the guru that you claim to be.
It’s ok to talk about yourself, but you need to position yourself within a story that teaches a lesson, gives actionable advice, or provides insight that would have otherwise been missed. Don’t just claim to be incredible, show your audience why you are incredible and what it took to get there.
This will inspire people to emulate you and follow your lead. People want to work with the best of the best, so use your guest posts as an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
So how do you become a guest author?
It’s really quite simple:
- Write something amazing.
- Find a publication that accepts guest contributions.
- Try and try again until it gets published.
There are thousands of places that are happy to accept insightful contributions from credible people. It may take a little bit of effort at first, but once you have established yourself as an authoritative voice, publications will jump at any opportunity to include you in some way.
5. Pay The Piper For Paid Placements
There are two major challenges to becoming a guest author:
- Every article that you submit will not be accepted by an Editor.
- Some publications that accept guest contributions do not clout strong domain authority, heavy influence, or esteemed credibility.
If you want to get in with some of the major players, then you need to consider paid placements as a method of sharing your story. Not all of the biggest names have paid placement or sponsored post options, but many of them do.
However, this is not something that is always advertised. Sometimes, it takes a back door approach to achieve placement in a high profile website or publication with major influence. The best way to get in is by reaching out to the editor in charge with a polite, but direct request about what you are seeking and what you can offer their publication.
Some will allow you to submit a written piece (for a price) as long as it fits their theme, style, and guidelines. Others have authors who will do something based on your specifications in order to ensure that it fits in with the tone of their publication.
However, don’t be surprised when they come back to you with a short response and a big cost for placement. Paid placements can cost as little as $100 and up to thousands of dollars for placements at a publication with major influence.
You need to consider what your objectives are with creating a paid placement. If a placement costs $3,500, but you are reaching an audience of 3.5 million readers, then it may well be worth the cost. If you can get just 1% of those readers to convert, then that could mean 35,000 new customers or leads for your business. That’s a lot of potential business.
So What’s Next?
Well, we’ve pretty much given away every secret that we have, so now that you know how to get press for your startup, the next step is to get out there and get yourself some press.
In theory, it’s simple. In practice, you will learn that it takes the right tools with the right touch to really bring in the results that resonate across audiences. The big key here is persistence. We’ve learned over time that continuous effort and adaptation within your strategy will yield results.
The rest is up to you. We don’t really have much else to give other than our assistance. If you want to connect with us for more advice, or to leverage our experience and technique, feel free to reach out.
We love to hear new stories.
Have a Great Idea for a Story?
We Can Help 🙂