For startups, media promotion is a free way to reach a potential audience, but also to connect with potential business partners or even investors. But how do you get into publications of interest for your industry?
Understanding how the media industry works
The first step in understanding how to promote yourself in the media is to understand how the media industry works. For startups, media promotion is, most of the times, a free way to reach a potential audience, but also to connect with potential business partners.
Journalists are busy. Every day we receive a considerable number of emails, and most of them are with a request or a proposal to write about someone. Our work consists of interviews, research for various topics, reading the international press, following discussions on Facebook groups, managing the Facebook page and building new events.
How do you stand out?
You must have a very interesting idea or business, the idea must be original or you have an unconventional approach. The last part is very important.
Just like with an investor, a journalist must never be contacted with a 30-line email. We will not read it. Or we'll get bored pretty quickly. There is nothing that cannot be told in about 5 lines. Do your research before writing an email to a journalist and don't call them from the very beginning. Most of the time, an informal approach helps because it's more natural than a very courteous one.
Making sure you will have a good collaboration
A good email to a journalist is like a good email to an investor. Write about yourself, who you are, what you do and what business you have or want to open. You can do this in two lines of text. On the next two lines you have to summarize why your business is interesting and why it would be appropriate for that website. Try to compare the business with others that already exist.
Another good strategy to secure the long-term friendship of journalists is to understand the concept of exclusivity. The natural tendency is to send 30 messages to 30 different journalists, but the bread and butter of this job is exclusive information. If you have an important story, identify a journalist whom you want to give that information to.
If they agree, set a deadline after which you will send a press release. Information of this type is more popular among journalists, but also among readers. Not to mention that the journalist will appreciate you and contact you later on for more information, as you grow.
What NOT to do
Don't give fake exclusives to several journalists. You will attract their animosity if the information they thought they had as an exclusive is published on another site. Competition, as in any field, is also important in journalism.
Furthermore, identify trusted journalists you want to contact and build a professional relationship with. Give them updates from time to time about what you're doing, even if they're not news material. Do your research thoroughly before contacting journalists. Check to see if they have written materials about your field before, if they cover such topics, and why it would be of interest to them. Don't send random e-mails to 5 journalists in the same newsroom.
The mere existence of a company is not news. The information must be interesting. Whether we are talking about very good results, an interesting personal story or originality. If a journalist decides not to write about you, don't be upset. They have no obligation to do this. If there is such an option, you can pay for media appearances, through advertorials or native content, but you will have to invest quite a lot for this.
If a journalist decides to publish the story of your business, help them by sharing the story on Facebook or on your company page. If you have the opportunity, you promote the article on Facebook to reach as many people as possible who are relevant to you. Unlike you, the journalist does not know the exact target you are addressing and, if they choose to do so, they will promote the article to their specific audience.
Be active in entrepreneur groups, answer questions or present what you do. Journalists active in the entrepreneurship niche often check the Facebook groups to make a quick selection of the topics to cover.
Also, if you have this ability, you can propose that you write an article on a specific site, in your field of expertise. Most niche sites accept articles written by entrepreneurs and they are useful to the community. In order to receive, you have to give.
A secret of the local press is that it appreciates subjects that can be described by the phrase "A Romanian who...". Because the public reacts to the national pride component, the press will promote articles with a title that is about a Romanian who did exceptional things. Don't be surprised by this or upset. Take advantage of this. What you have done personally and professionally so far matters a lot.
Do not, under any circumstances, ask for the journalist to show you the text before it is published because you are not a specialist in this field. If it's a very technical text or a text dealing with complicated technologies, offer to help with specific technical terms. If you ask for the text in advance, you will often be refused and you will attract the animosity of the journalists.
I am Vlad Andriescu, thank you for your attention. you can e-mail me at email@example.com to tell me about your business!