Having a great story to tell about your business is a wonderful opportunity to connect with new people. Connecting with them via the niche or mainstream media is still a great way to help grow your company.
But where do you start?
There aren’t many hard and fast rules in the public relations (PR) game as there are online. If there was a simple one, it would be: “you usually need to have news to make news”.
It’s important to remember that news outlets are businesses too. In fact, they’re businesses that trade in valuable and important information: News.
In that sense PR is largely about convincing writers and editors that the information you want to give them is information their audiences will find interesting and important.
Media coverage does not come down to who you happen to know. It’s achieved overwhelmingly through concentrated, well-planned campaigns to attract attention.
And PR doesn’t need to be a huge effort targeting big, traditional outlets. There are avenues for an entirely online campaign.
The following list outlines some of the potentially newsworthy things happening in just about every kind of business.
Launching a Product or Business
The launch of your business or its latest product is the most obviously newsworthy event in any business. If there’s something truly new to the world, journalists are more likely to write about it.
Your job, as a company, is to convince journalists of why they should be interested in you. This forms part of your company’s branding.
The key to thorough personalized coverage is, paradoxically, some sort of broader relevance. Take this recent product feature on TechCrunch: “Meet Dubs, Doppler Lab’s Reinvention of the Lowly Earplug.”
Notice that the title already frames the product, in this case a new tech-heavy earplug, in relation to the entire concept of the earplug. Dubs, we’re led to believe, is not simply another product, but a genuinely new phase in the evolution of a technology.
The first sentence, or lead, of the story, does the rest of the work. It reads, “In fact, more than six million people in the United States between the ages of 18 to 44 suffer from hearing loss,” framing the product again, this time within the context of a nationwide public health concern.
It’s important to approach your PR outreach from that perspective. What makes your business/product new or different? What separates it from what’s already out there? What are the larger trends it feeds into? What’s the ultimate goal?
If you’re not clear on those questions from the start, don’t expect anyone else to be.
Everyone likes to celebrate a birthday, but in the business world, turning five is only one of the many milestones worthy of a new round of press outreach.
Maybe your app just reached its 10,000th download. Maybe your Twitter account just ballooned to 50,000 followers. Does your business have a shipping operation? Better keep track of the unit count.
If your launch earned itself some good press, then readers will naturally want to follow your business/product’s progress. If your launch didn’t, then reaching a significant milestone is an opportunity to try again.
Milestones demonstrate momentum. They show not simply that a business/product exists, but that it’s making moves and should be taken seriously.
Joining a Cool Club or Winning an Award
Social proof is important in business. If you went to Harvard, you want to let people know. If you worked for Microsoft, that conveys a certain automatic respect.News media likes to think of itself as independent, a leader in thought and culture.Click To Tweet
But as often as not, outlets are just following the cues of other, supposedly important organizations and people.
So if you get invited to participate an interesting program, get mentioned on someone’s top list of something, or win an award, don’t be shy about letting people know.
If nothing else, it will convince them to pay more attention the next time your company finds something to announce.
If the award or recognition is local, tell local people. If it is a big deal, internationally, you can tell everyone.
Money is inherently newsworthy. (It makes the world go round, after all) – the more, the merrier.
There are entire publications devoted to that principle, and a quick scan at the Wall Street Journal’s “Daily Startup” column will provide you some examples of significant funding announcements.
Many people read business news primarily to gain insights into market trends and investment opportunities, so large quantities of money will always gain traction.
Funding isn’t going to be an announcement for the majority of businesses, but it is something to keep in mind nonethless.
At the end of day, there are no “sure-things” when it comes to media coverage. You might have had a very solid announcement… only to find that breaking news or a bigger announcement overshadows your own.
But at least you can start in the right place and think about what it is your company has to share with the world. This is more likely to get you a warm response from journalists… and with a little luck and skill, grow your brand and business.
So get inspired, think about your business and connect with people in one of the ways listed above.
What success have you had using these kinds of announcements to grow your business? Share your experience in the comments below.