Whether you’re starting to generate traction as an entrepreneur or you feel lost in the crowd of early-stage founders hungry for attention, there’s no better way to increase your credibility and influence than being consistently featured in the media.
I’ve seen young entrepreneurs with limited resources massively expand their recognition by regularly appearing in the media and I’ve also seen established founders lose ground to newer competitors because they didn’t seize their moment when they had the opportunity to own the spotlight.
No matter where you’re currently at, there’s no better time than the present to step up and stand out as a thought leader in your industry. Here are five tips for founders looking to elevate their visibility and credibility as an entrepreneurial force:
Establish a clear message and point of view
You might be bringing to market the latest and greatest tech, but unless you have a strong macro knowledge of your category and can articulate it clearly, you’re going to miss out on valuable media opportunities. Journalists always want a fresh point of view. Establish a message that sets you apart from competitors (or maybe even runs contrary to what the majority of business owners in your category are saying), then work on articulating it in an engaging way that makes people take notice.
Identify your target journalists and monitor their coverage
If you’re not currently digesting the media that cover your category, it’s time to start. A quick Google News search on terms relevant to your industry or competitors will pull up pages of results from top media outlets. Define which journalists you need to have on your radar and read their content regularly. Look for an opening to create a dialogue and then be prepared to reach out.
Send a message that stands out
When you’ve decided it’s time to contact specific journalists (and you’ve tracked down their email), establish rapport with a warm opening. It’s always helpful to reference a recent article to show familiarity with their work. Then get to the point. A few bullets about your unique point of view or your business is all you need. The idea is to establish a connection and at the very least get on the media outlets’ radar. These initial communications often times set the stage for ongoing coverage and commentary opportunities.
Create credibility triggers with smaller outlets first, then leverage up
A TechCrunch or Wall Street Journal feature on you or your business would do wonders for an entrepreneur with limited coverage, but if you haven’t been featured in the media, it’s going to be difficult to land that home run placement right away. Start small and build a runway. There are plenty of great digital media outlets, blogs and podcasts eager for content and contributors that you can target initially in order to kickstart momentum, gain comfort doing interviews, hone your message and build confidence as an entrepreneur with a point of view. Each media opportunity, regardless of size, serves as a credibility trigger that you can leverage for larger media opportunities reaching wider audiences.
Promote each and every media placement
The biggest mistake busy entrepreneurs make when it comes to media coverage is not amplifying it. Once you land that initial piece of expert commentary in the media or you’re featured on a blog, podcast or print publication, it’s important to promote it. Chances are your colleagues, peers and investors aren’t going to see your media coverage unless you share it with them through your social channels (especially LinkedIn) or even through email.
Media coverage is the single most powerful tool in creating credibility and influence. When you get the attention, have a plan in place to let the world know.