How can i get media attention?
How do you communicate with mass media? Startups want to get media traction — to attract investors, clients and possible employees. But most of them won’t spend their resources on a PR agent. By using the right practices, every startup could get their story published, and here’s how to do it.
Decide what’s your message. The recipient of the PR text you’re about to launch is a journalist, so his knowledge of the subject is more than basic — but his audience might be clueless. Therefore, you must construct you message plainly, with a minimal usage of technical terms (so nobody will think you’re patronizing) and no superlatives like “the most advanced, cutting-edge, super awesome technology” (journalists want the bottom line, marketing lines make them angry). This bottom line is your message: “we’ve raised money”, “we created a new technology”, “we joined an exclusive program” etc. try wrapping your PR text around such messages.
Then, you can draft a PR message. It should look like an article — headline, intro, main story and related content.The text shouldn’t be longer than a single word page, with separated paragraphs and links if required. You should also make the text easy and comfortable: for example, you should include a link to an online photo gallery (if you have any), and not stick them in the text file. The PR text should end with a short company info section — who are you, when were you established, what is your key focus activity and who invested in you in the past.
Decide who’s your audience. You could go either reach or target; the reach tactic means that there is a possibility that many readers will be exposed to your message, but only fraction of them will be relevant to your activity. Such tactic is good for your company’s brand exposure, but will be less effective in generating direct business engagement. The target tactic means that your message will go towards your ecosystem’s watering holes — publication read mostly by the people you’re trying to engage (investors, clients, partners, job-seeking developers and more).
Make sure the story fits the publication. Most Israeli publications won’t cover investments lower than $1M, unless there is a high-profile investor involved (or a celebrity). If your story is about a new product, you should contact publications covering technology and not the business side. These will require material to work with, in order to illustrate to story to their readers. For example, a short video (if you got one) or a company presentation. If the publication is a TV station, Video is a must. If it’s Radio or a podcast — there will be an interview and you should present the subject simply, clearly and shortly. If it’s a website — just ask the reporter what aspect of the story will suit him most. And if you’ll get turned down, just ask “to your knowledge, which publication should I contact?”; Most journalists will be happy to assist.
Pick the right timing. The best time to launch the message is in the beginning of the day, so that the reporter will see it early and have time to suggest covering it to his editor. Pay attention to other stories around; if a big story regarding your field of activity was published, you might get covered as a follow-up article; if the main story of that day is unrelated to you, you might get ignored.
Use the right approach. How do you get a hold of a journalist? reporters don’t like to get phone calls, since they usually don’t have time for conversations longer than a few minutes (and people calling don’t always respect that). Some of them use social channels such as Facebook as a strictly personal tool, so contacting them through messenger won’t do the trick. The best way is just to send an email. You don’t know the Journalist’s address? Just call the publication, introduce yourself and ask for his email (or for the address of somebody in the relevant section — tech, economy, etc.). Your email should include a very short introduction to the story — what happened, who are you and why is it might be interesting to the publication’s audience. The PR text, carrying the full story, will be attached. How will you know what to write in the email? Simple: think about what would interest the journalist. You can tell by reading articles they previously wrote, to fine-tune your approach. Either way, don’t argue with the reporter if he’s not interested — even if he covered similar stories in the past. You can’t tell what other assignments rest on his desk and an argument will only generate antagonism.
Could you do your own PR? Yes, at the beginning. PR companies are not that expensive in Israel; while an average American PR firm might cost 10K per month, In Israel the same service will cost about one tenth of that. PR agents might have personal connections with news publications and a broader toolset, but the base practice is the same: sending a PR announcement to journalists and hope for the best. No PR agent will be as fluent as you in your company’s technology and messages — or will be able to simplify them without changing the message.
Want to learn how to effectively contact the media and get better exposure? Join our meet-ups and get all the best practices.