I often come across startup founders who believe that their product is the greatest thing that has happened to mankind. Founding teams who naively assert that they have no competitors. Marketing teams who assume that their company warrants every kind of media attention. Well, let’s break the bubble! If you are an early-stage startup, you have to be truly remarkable to garner good ‘press’ attention.
In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin says “The old rule was this: Create safe, ordinary products and combine them with great marketing. the new rule is: create remarkable products that the right people seek out”. This new rule of creating a remarkable product stands true when you seek media attention for your startup. Great products result in great stories. If you want a story about your startup, you have to show the journalist that you are remarkable enough to be written about. So, how do you find out if your startup is newsworthy for a journalist? Here is a quick list.
Are you exciting enough?
If yours is just another run of the mill idea, it will surely not make the cut. I mean, why would any journalist want to write a story about a startup that is competing in a space that has a dozen other players? Give a journalist enough reasons to care about your startup. Why are you in the market? What is the unique problem that you are solving? How can your startup idea make an impact to the people around? Show the journalist that you are worth writing about. Provide specific numbers about the size of the market you exist in, collect customer testimonials that talk about the impact of your product and make sure you avoid hyperboles and cliché buzzwords while talking about your product.
Do you have a story?
Pitching your company to a journalist is no way an easy task. Do you have a really interesting story to convey? Let’s get this straight, launching a new website is not news. Sponsoring an event is not news. Sounds harsh?Well, that’s the truth. What makes for a good story? Most startups are obsessed with Press Releases to convey their story. To be honest, it’s the least effective way to communicate your story. Don’t just focus on the product, delve into your story. Don’t merely talk numbers, create a narrative that is engaging and relevant
Is your startup ready for media attention?
Is your product still in the development phase or do you have an actual working product? If your product is still in the development stage, it’s best to delay media attention. Your startup is newsworthy when you have customers who are using it. It’s even better if you are able to provide user stories and survey statistics.
Secondly, is your startup equipped to handle the media attention? A media story can generate a lot of interest among your target audience. Are you ready to handle the enquiries that might come your way? Don’t run the risk of going to the media too early.
Can you talk about the bigger picture?
How would you like a conversation with someone who can only talk about themselves? Sounds boring? This holds good for a media interview as well. Go beyond your product and startup. It can be frustrating for a journalist if you continue to blow your own trumpet. Move past the usual rant on how and why you started your company. Can you offer a unique point of view on your industry? Is there an offbeat human interest angle to share? Be aware about the key developments in your industry. Journalists are not always interested in ‘Your’ story alone, they like it when you can talk about your industry at large.
Author: Madhura Puranik, Co-Founder, Ink Republique