A number of entrepreneurs have come to solely rely on social media as a means of gaining media attention. And why not? It’s (mostly) free, and many entrepreneurs have the experience to grow a following on various platforms. However, it’s important to not neglect other forms of public relations.
With the right strategy in play, you can grasp the media’s attention. Here’s how.
Contact the media
A good pitch starts by tailoring it to fit the particular outlet you’re targeting. In other words, don’t send in a blanket pitch to hundreds of media outlets all at once.
When starting out, try utilizing sites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or ProNet. Once you’ve signed up for HARO’s emails, you’ll get source requests three times a day. You’ll then have several opportunities to become a source for a reporter’s next piece. You can use a similar tactic with Google Alerts.
Related: Using HARO for Free Public Relations
Connect with industry influencers
Check out who the leading influencers are in your industry and try to connect with one. Not sure who that could be? Entrepreneur Magazine contributor, Rich Kahn, has a few suggestions to offer, beginning with social media:
“Search relevant hashtags and don’t forget to comb through your existing followers. Look for those influencers who truly love your brand, ones that are already raving about it.”
One way to foster a relationship is to offer to promote them if they promote you. Ask if they wouldn’t mind referring you to other influencers if they see an opportunity where your startup would be a good fit.
Conferences offer plenty of ways to promote yourself and your startup. Devin Schain, founder and CEO of National Education Initiative, spoke to Entrepreneur Magazine about getting the most out of a conference:
“While sponsorships can help to elevate your brand over an extended period, speaking on panels and media opportunities on-site at conferences can build your thought leadership profile, which also lends ultimate credibility to your brand and is just as valuable.”
Be proactive and connect with conference organizers to seek out speaking opportunities. If public speaking isn’t for you, ask about hosting a booth or other possibilities to present your company to a larger audience.
Hire someone to do it full-time for you
One common mistake that entrepreneurs make is putting public relations on the back burner after an initial surge of media attention and a boost in sales.
The truth is, public relations is a full-time gig, and if you yourself don’t have the time to fully commit to it, find someone who does. Public relations firms offer a fast and easy way to hire experienced help. While it’s an investment to hire a professional, this step could very well help you to run your business efficiently and get the media attention you desire.
Traditional public relations strategies may be out of your wheelhouse, but by putting in the extra time to learn them or seek outside assistance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at your return on investment.