You worked day and night to build your product. It’s out. It’s launched. Now what? Chances are that you aren’t getting any users to come to it right away.
This is because simply launching a product or startup is not enough, you have to find and tell your users about it. You have to find them at places where they already frequent.
A lot of founders and entrepreneurs approach us for strategies for getting press coverage and more often than not, they do not have already long-standing connections to relevant press or journalists. This is more common than you think!
Here are some strategies that we have seen work great for getting press coverage for your startup or product, with no connections or a PR firm:
Understand that no one cares about your product or service, no matter how great it is. You have to make people care by showing them the value. The cheapest way to get your word out is by relying on the press received by others, on trends, and on shock-value
Stand on the shoulders of those before you
Search for all the press coverage that you most formidable competitors or closest companies to you in your industry have received. You can even search for press received by bigger companies who have done what you do, older companies, previously successful or failed companies; or your suppliers or customers.
Each one of those is a great option. Now review the articles written about these companies and create a compelling response or angle to the article. You need to create a response that would benefit the reader of that article.
Journalists are always looking for useful additions to their existing pieces, so it is an easier ask to solicit their feedback on how your response to their article provides for a more complete article.
Rely on popular trends
Almost all long-tail press outlets talk about popular trends in some way or other. For this strategy to work, you need to keep you fingers on the pulse. Setup alerts and filters on Google News, Twitter, Facebook trends etc to help you stay on top of what’s happening right now.
For each popular trend, think about whether your product or startup connects with the trend. If your startup enhances, solves, extends, or even sells the object of popular discourse, then you can use that to pitch the journalists who are already covering the trend or the next set of popular press who have yet to cover the trend. Make their life easier by describing not just now your startup is relevant to the trend, also include insights on how other comparable companies are related to the trend. This caters to a more objective article and is more likely to be read and receive a response from the journalists.
For example, there was a trend in the startup world starting in 2013/2014 of being open with your startup’s financials. Several startups started openly posting their financials, salaries and all details. A lot of startups who otherwise wouldn’t have received as much press, ended up getting a lot of it because following this trend.
Use your product
Find journalists, bloggers, and outlets that have shown interest in the problem your product solves, or have covered similar products. Email or connect with them on Twitter to highlight how your product is better than or solves the problems they have been covering. Every viable journalist is always looking for ways to provide value and objective insights to their readers. Offer them a chance to review your product.
Note, that this might even result in a not-so-stellar review, which is totally fine. You’ll have to take all feedback in stride and it is recommended to post your response as a comment on the article and talk about your plans of incorporating the feedback.
Do something unconventional, surprisingly positive, or rely on ‘shock value’
Let your creative side shine here. Do something outrageous, funny, unexpected or even shocking (as long as you don’t harm anyone or anything!). Record it, document it, and blow it up on social media with a highly targeted campaign focused on the bloggers and journalists that have most closely covered either your industry or your ‘unconventional’ exercise. Anything that will make the audience go “Whoa, I can’t believe they did that!”
For example: see most of the actions or ads by PeTA.
Do you have other ways that you have successfully garnered press without connections? drop in your tips at firstname.lastname@example.org!