You’ve worked hard to set up your new company. You came up with an idea, gave it a name, filled out legal form after legal form and designed your logo, website and other branding assets. Maybe you sourced products or a manufacturer, opened a brick-and-mortar shop or successfully pitched investors on your concept. Whatever you’ve done to get to this point, congratulations! Your hard work is paying off, and you now have a brand new company to call your own. But now what? Once all your new business ducks are in a row, how do you share your brand with the masses? How do you reach new audiences, generate sales and grow? The answer is simple: media coverage.
There are many ways you can promote your new company, but it’s my experience that media coverage can play an integral role in helping a new or young business move forward in its journey.
With this in mind, below are three media coverage tactics you can use to promote your new company today:
Send an introductory note to relevant reporters
One of the first things to do once your company is ready for its debut is to introduce yourself to the media.
Send a brief, friendly email to any reporters you think might be interested in your company as well as your products or services and your area of expertise. Research each reporter you plan to contact carefully to ensure you’re sending them information they truly might find useful.
Provide each media contact you target with basic background information about your company as well as a short, bulleted list of sample topics you could discuss with them. These topics should have some relationship to your company but shouldn’t be overly self-promotional. If, for example, your company sells the next “must-have” toy for toddlers, you might offer yourself to talk about what makes a good age-appropriate toy for a 2 year old.
Don’t expect this type of outreach to generate immediate media coverage. Rather, think of your introductory emails as a way to begin developing new relationships with journalists. A reporter might not reply to you right away — but it’s likely you’ll hear back from some down the road when they’re working on a story that aligns with your company’s area(s) of focus.
Reach out to reporters on an ongoing basis
Media outreach shouldn’t end when you’ve finished your intro emails. Now, it’s time to think about other ways you can promote your new company with earned media coverage.
Plan to pitch relevant reporters on an ongoing and regular basis. Reach out with suggested story angles and company news announcements, and offer yourself to comment on major news stories within your industry.
Keep an eye on the coverage produced by reporters you plan to pitch regularly. Over time, you’ll develop a solid understanding of the types of stories a reporter tends to cover. This will help you customize your pitches when you reach out, increasing your chances of grabbing a specific contact’s interest.
Don’t forget about owned media
Generating earned media is exhilarating and can really make a difference for your business, but it isn’t the only type of media you can use to promote your new company. Owned media — content that your brand creates and owns — is another impactful way to introduce yourself to potential clients, customers, fans and other key audiences.
Whatever content you choose to produce, it’s a good idea to put together a strategy and timeline for what you’ll produce and when. For owned media to be truly effective as a promotional tool, it’s important to share new content with your audiences on a regular basis.
In some instances, it will make sense to share your owned content with media reporters. If, for example, your company commissions a study that reveals something new and interesting about your industry, reporters in your space might want to cover the findings. Share the highlights of your study with targeted reporters via email, offering to send them the full study should they be interested in learning more.
Another way to use owned media is by sharing it across your social media channels. Each time you generate a new piece of owned content, share it — at least once — on each social media channel you use regularly.
Key takeaways on media coverage tactics
There are countless ways for a founder to promote his or her new company. But when done well, the use of both earned and owned media is a highly efficient way of getting in front of valuable audiences.
With respect to earned media, consider this: each time a reporter mentions you or your company in a piece of their work, he or she is introducing you to an already interested audience. An audience reading coverage of the health care industry, for example, is already well-positioned to take an interest in your health care startup. One article by the right reporter or in the right outlet can help introduce your new company to thousands, tens of thousands or even millions of potential customers.
Similarly, owned media can be used to target potential customers or clients with a pre-existing interest in your area of focus. Let’s say you start a blog for your home furnishings startup on which you write about how to care for furniture, what type of furniture looks best in which rooms and related topics. Readers drawn to your company blog are likely to have an interest in furniture, and if your owned content offers meaningful advice to this interested audience, your readers will begin to engage with and trust your brand. This trust and engagement will then translate into sales.
Starting a new business is a big accomplishment. Taking that business from being little more than a founder with a website and a great idea to a living, breathing, thriving company is an even bigger accomplishment. With the right strategies and know-how and a little help from media coverage, your new company will be off the ground in no time.