Propllr Blog | Onward & Upward!

No News for Your Startup? Here’s How to Get Media Coverage Anyway


news-typewritten-on-white-paperMany startups get media coverage for funding rounds and new products.

But what happens if you’re bootstrapping or between rounds? What happens if you’re slowly cranking out iterations rather than slamming out brand-new products?

Don’t worry: it doesn’t take a record VC round or the next iPhone to get a reporter’s attention.

Here are five effective ways to manufacture news so your startup can get media coverage year round.

1: Analyze Internal Customer Data

An audit – which analyzes internal customer data – can reveal trends and insights about your customers’ or clients’ behavior. Those findings can then be turned into a meaningful story for reporters who cover news in your industry.

You likely already have a good feel for what trends to look for and what could make for an impactful story. Not sure what’s interesting for a reporter? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you may be able to turn it into media coverage:

  • Is this data telling you something that you didn’t already know?
  • Did you find something that turned out to be the opposite of what you thought was true?
  • Do your findings add a new spin to an existing narrative?

One of our clients, Addigy, an Apple device management platform, recently performed a massive, 3,000-user audit. They found that their users’ Mac devices last longer than the average PC: while the average PC lasted between two and five years, 40 percent of the Mac computers in the audit were at least five years old.

Many reporters already know that Mac devices are increasing in popularity. But Addigy added to that conversation by showing that Macs are better than PCs for a business’s bottom line.

2: Survey the General Public

Reporters love raw data. Surveys give you an opportunity to present reporters with raw data that nobody’s ever seen before.

Like an audit of customer data, a survey of the general public can identify trends and behaviors among your target demographic (and a reporter’s readership).

Startups have several options for conducting surveys. The right choice depends on what type of media coverage you’re hoping to get. Here’s an overview of your options:

Survey Platform

Top-Tier (The Harris Poll, Nielson, Dynata, etc.)

Mid-Tier Paid (Pollfish, Google Surveys, etc.)

DIY / Free (Typeform, Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, Qualtrics, etc.)

Pros

Guides you through the process

Helps you formulate questions to get a headline you like

Yields reputable insights about your industry

Survey takers are vetted to be a representative population sample

Can get meaningful, newsworthy results from a single question

Affordable

Gets meaningful insights about your industry

Free

Great for securing insights for internal use from customers, employees, and other known groups

Cons

Expensive

Reporters may not find results reputable

Survey takers are not vetted (not necessarily a representative sample)

Can be time-consuming: you’re responsible for creating questions, administering survey, and analyzing results

Best to have someone on staff who understands survey question development and question analysis

Reporters don’t consider results reputable

Survey takers are not vetted (not necessarily a representative sample)

Can be time-consuming: you’re responsible for creating questions, administering survey, and analyzing results

Best to have someone on staff who understands survey question development and question analysis

Pricing

$1,100 – $1,600 / question

$30k – $40k for a full survey

$100 – $1,000, depending on platform, number of questions, and audience

Free

Timing

1 week for individual questions

Longer for complete custom surveys

Several days to 1 week

Varies (usually longer than 1 week)

Examples

Survey: Online Shoppers Say It’s Retailers’ Responsibility to Minimize Return Rates Due to Their Negative Impact on Environment

13 Percent of University Students Consider Dropping Out Due to COVID-19 Crisis, Boro Survey Finds

New Survey Finds Wisconsinites Have Just $1,000 or Less in Savings

One note on this: Some of the free platforms offer paid versions that can yield slightly more credible results. But if your main goal is securing media coverage, it usually makes sense to work with a survey company that has a reputation for credibility.

3: Announce a Company Milestone

Milestones can get you media coverage by showing that your startup is growing. They might even attract the attention of investors, prospects, , and other stakeholders who want a piece of the action.

And because fast-growth startups can cross milestones several times per year, this creates the perfect opportunity to stay front-and-center with reporters.

If you need some inspiration, here are a few real-world examples:

4: Reveal New Executive Hires

Expanding your leadership team is another good excuse to show the world that you’re growing – and it may get you some media coverage as well.

A straightforward “new hires” announcement can be especially effective when someone joins from a large, well-known company and can add to your startup’s reputation and credibility.

You can use a new hire announcement not only to show that you’re expanding your team, but also to show that your company is maturing. A new-hire announcement could make sense when…

  • You’re building out a new practice area.
  • The position is new to the organization.
  • The new hire’s experience and role can be a selling point for stakeholders.

If you add multiple executive hires simultaneously, consider forming a larger narrative about the company’s future growth and goals, and how new staff will help you get there.

Check out these new-hire press releases for some inspiration:

  1. Global Technology Solutions Provider Saggezza Welcomes Jeff Pigatto to Lead its Salesforce Practice
  2. Managed IT Infrastructure Service Provider ServerCentral Turing Group Welcomes Thomas Johnson as Chief Information Security Officer
  3. Former Salesforce and G2 Executive Matt Gorniak Joins Threekit as CEO

Beyond simply announcing the new hire, think of how your newest team member could help you secure additional coverage. For example, maybe a local outlet would want to do a Q&A about their trajectory through the local startup scene.

Or maybe a trade publication would be interested in a contributed piece from them on how they go about building teams. Think of the fact of the hiring as an excuse to reach out to editors and reporters; the resulting coverage could take many forms.

5: Announce a New Customer or Partnership

Signing a big-name client or business partner can signal to both reporters and stakeholders that your startup is reputable and trusted.

For new client announcements, reporters will want to speak to the client, so make sure they’re on board before reaching out to a reporter. If the client doesn’t want to speak to the media, you may still add a press release to your website (with their permission, of course).

Reporters will also want to speak to new partners. When announcing this kind of deal, be sure to explain what benefits the partnership will offer your customers.

Here are a few best practices for writing press releases in this category:

  • Include the client’s or partner’s name in the headline to grab the reporter’s attention.
  • One quote in the release should be from your CEO and the other should be from the CEO or another executive from the client or partner.
  • For new clients, explain what the client’s customers are getting that they weren’t getting before.
  • For new partners, explain what your customers are getting that they weren’t getting before.

Not sure where to start? Check out these examples:

  1. Press release: ServerCentral Turing Group and Digital Realty Expand Partnership for Hybrid Cloud Solutions + coverage in Channelnomics: SCTG Leverages Digital Realty’s Data Center Platform
  2. Press release: Avail Partners With Lemonade for Tenant’s Renters Insurance + coverage in The Real Deal: Management Startup Avail Taps Lemonade to Fuel National Expansion
  3. Press release: Stearns Lending Powers Humanized Customer Experiences with Total Expert + coverage in MPA Mag: Stearns Lending Implements Total Expert’s Marketing Operating System

To Get Media Coverage, Get Creative

This is just a small sample of how to get media coverage as a startup. Don’t be afraid to try new, creative ways to tell reporters that you matter.

And if you’re really not sure where to start, consult with your PR agency to determine whether your “news” is truly newsworthy. If it’s not, they can help you figure out what is.