Getting the right media for your start-up is very important and also difficult for a beginner. One major mistake which most entrepreneurs make trying to get media attention, is reaching out to the wrong media houses and not setting proper goals for their businesses or understanding the product market.
As a Public Relations consultant, I tell some clients who seek PR services that, the media attention they seek for validation, might do more harm than get the results expected. I inform them that the budget for press might be more beneficial in product and service development. This is because a ready and tested product reduces the risk of bad reviews/bad press and crisis management.
At the just concluded Lagos Start Up Week 2017 one of the panelists Eduvie Martin (Head of Marketing & Communication) from Comic Republic spoke on how they focused more building their products and showcasing it which prompted calls from press even international media houses such as CNN and co. While that works for some businesses, others have to seek for press attention.
Here are some steps to take to get that press attention in your business.
Knowing your Target Audience is very important. Who they are, where they hang out, how old they are, their likes & dislikes, whether your services will be welcomed, the unique selling point of your business. These factors are considered through research, data collection, focus groups and customer development. It also helps build a better strategic marketing campaign and avoid mistakes like that of Dove.
Once you have established your target audience, reaching out to talk to them is another step in getting the necessary press needed.
Prepare to Pitch Your Idea/Business to them using different marketing and PR methods. You may use marketing tools such as social media, blogs and more at your disposal. Bear in mind that someone is running the same business you have, but your ability to distinguish your business becomes a selling point.
Most companies quite early, prepare press kits posted on their websites for the media and consumers. The press kit includes company profile, management details, services and products and visual imagery (videos and images). However, some might argue about how overly structured press kits are, due to how they are packaged. Others will marvel at the organizational structure.
I am a fan of personalized stories of entrepreneurs that help your audience relate with you. It could be the journey to building your business and the time it has taken to get to where you are. It could be the number of rejections or failed business plans you have implemented. For instance, hair entrepreneur Wanneka – The Hair Boss told a story of numerous failed businesses, but her ability to pick up and start again remains a motivating factor not just as a businesswoman, but as a mother and a wife.
It is important to know what medium your customers use and have access to. If you are launching a tech product, reaching out to a blog or radio presenter whose core focus is in fashion and lifestyle misses the mark. Research the media platforms that follow tech trends and study their output.
Once you have set these goals, selecting media platforms trusted by your audience becomes easy. An important tip in selecting media is to target the media platforms that your audiences trust, and are popular in your field. Look towards media journalists who focus on start-ups, new trends, cover your industry news, and have even spoken about the problem your product is solving.
Create a journalist database of the journalists you have selected, read up on their publications, follow them on social media and try to get to know more about them to able to build a relationship. Some journalists prefer a softer approach, which involves conversational style of getting to know your business, than a written company profile or manifest. This is to enable them form a personal opinion or have a first-hand experience of the service you offer. This is better for public relations rather than paid advertising.
Once you have the attention of a media house/journalist and have gotten them to write about your company, don’t push for deadlines, or to know when the write-up will be out. If you have to follow up, do so once a week. Most times they will inform you on the date of publication/release. Don’t forget to send a small note of gratitude and also keep the conversation open for future purposes.
Getting press for your business is tough, which is why most entrepreneurs prefer to hire the services of public relations firms, while others decide to tough it out themselves. When you decide what option you want to use, bear in mind it requires research, effort, patience, time and money.
Don’t be in a rush to get the press and fail to achieve the goal or the motivating factor behind your business.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime| Carline1