The New Rules of Getting Press for Your Start-up
Make Yourself an Expert
One surefire way to attract the attention of journalists is to promote yourself as an expert in your field, says Samson of crowdSPRING. “Create
content designed to position yourself as an indispensable authority on your industry, your city, your profession, or any appropriate topic,” he says.
Ways you can accomplish this include writing case studies and white papers that you then distribute to the media, your customers, and other
professionals in your industry.
You can also set up an online press center on your company or personal website where you compile all of the stories, mentions, and press releases
you have generated, and make them easily accessible, says Samson. “Also include a downloadable press kit with information on your company,
your team, and your service or product, as well as photos, bios, and any other material that will be helpful for those who want to write about
you,” he says.
Tap Influential Bloggers
Most products are built for a specific population of users or specific use cases, and whatever your product or service, there are bloggers who write
about it and are influencers, says Jeff Kear, co-founder of
, which provides online wedding planning software for
couples and event planners. “These people are almost always interested in new products and services, so prior to launching your product or
service, develop a list of these people with their e-mail and contact info and reach out to them to try out your product or service before it is
released to the public. We did this when we launched a free version of our product and we went from 20 registrations a day for our web-based
wedding planning software to more than 100 registrations a day for a five-day period soon after our launch.”
Bloggers and journalists are also interested in new trends and data—something that you can provide for them, says Kear. “One of our products is
online software for wedding consultants, and these people are very interested in what brides are thinking,” he says. “So we reached out to brides
with a survey that asked questions that wedding consultants would be interested in. This provided us with info for 10-15 very focused articles that
had proprietary industry data, which we then published on our blog and promoted to bloggers and writers who cover our industry. This kind of
activity generated dozens of links to our site from influential industry sites like
, which has played a large role in increasing our site
traffic by 168 percent this year.”
Take on Speaking Engagements
Jasbina Ahluwalia, an attorney turned entrepreneur who founded
Intersections Match
, a personalized matchmaking service for South Asian
singles, says that speaking at events like conferences often leads to interesting PR opportunities. For example: “I recently spoke at a national
conference for South Asian physicians and was approached by a person who was filmng a documentary,” says Ahluwalia, whose company has
also been profiled in other outlets like
and the
Chicago Tribune
Apply to Awards Programs
While applying to annual industry awards or even more broad-based ones like the
Inc. 5000
can be time consuming, they can also attract the
attention of the media and new customers, says Judy Sultan, who is the PR manager for
Xtreme Lashes
, a company specializing in semi-
permanent eyelash extensions “Recognition for your innovative idea or good business practices will give you an easy way to publicize your
company,” she says. “And winning one award gives you leverage to win another.”
Be Charitable
Ryan Carlin of Roaming Hunger says that good press also results from good deeds. “Attaching yourself to a benefit or charity is one of the easiest
and most beneficial practices in PR,” he says. “Consumers love hearing about charitable organizations and their events, and journalists know