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How to Get Your Startup Noticed by Reporters and Influencers

April 30, 2018

You’ve built a great product and your team is ready to bring it to market. But you can’t start making sales until potential customers know about you. Marketing can be expensive, and talented public relations professionals can be difficult for a startup to recruit, which is why knowing how to get media attention for your startup is important. Whether it’s the blog of a social influencer or your local TV station, gaining press attention can be the most inexpensive way to get your name and product noticed by potential customers.

So how do you get reporters and influencers to cover your startup? During the GIST TechConnect webchat, “Getting Publicity for Your Startup,” an expert panel of entrepreneurs identified two things founders can do to get media attention for their startups.

First, the panel said entrepreneurs need to identify what makes their startup unique, and promote those unique aspects to reporters and influencers. According to the panelists, most reporters and influencers are interested in the story behind your startup, learning what makes your startup special and understanding the problem your startup will solves for its customers. If you are able to do emphasize what makes your startup unique, the panel said you’ll be more likely to convince members of the media to give your startup attention.

“I think it has a lot to do with relevance. You need to be able to tell the reporter or the people in the media that what you are trying to do is important,” said Pedro López Sela, chief imagination officer at Canou. “You have to be very clear about the message you are trying to send, because you need them [reporters and influencers] to react empathetically to what you are trying to do.”

Second, the panel said entrepreneurs need to make sure the message they are conveying to reporters and influencers is clear, concise and easy to understand.

“Sometimes what happens, especially with tech companies, it’s really difficult for common people to understand what you are doing,” said Dr. Almas Awan, professor at the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil. “If it is a journalist, maybe he is more interested in understanding the common terms instead of you explaining your high technology with difficult terminology. So maybe you need to change the way you pitch your idea. You need to make a common person understand in really easy words what is the problem you are trying to solve and how is it going to work.”

Following these two steps should help entrepreneurs attract media attention for their startup – but it does not guarantee that a news outlet or influential blogger will cover your startup. The panel also cautioned that while helpful, getting publicity does not necessarily mean you are going to get customers. In fact, both Sela and Awan emphasized the importance of customer discovery as a way to determine the most effective way to connect with your startup’s intended audience – whether that is through traditional media outlets or another method.

The panel shared other insights about getting publicity for your startup, including how to write an interesting press release and what to do if you get negative press. You can get those insights and watch the full TechConnect, in English, Spanish and French, right here.