Securing publicity for your startup is daunting. Avoid costly public relations firms and launch your own PR campaign. Taking charge of your own publicity will be a lot of work, but a lot of “sweat equity”, ingenuity and passion for your company will take your business a long way. No one knows your business better than you! Know your brand, know your market and know your mission inside and out. Enthusiasm is contagious and your goal is to infect everyone with the same passion you have for your new company.
An important early step in your publicity campaign is to submit your start up to local media outlets and to websites that connect start up businesses. Local newspapers continue to be relevant media outlets to focus on if you are a local business start up. If you have a larger reach, submit to websites that welcome new start ups and offer free publicity to them. Do both, if possible.
Now that publicizing yourself in the digital and/or print media arena(s) is started, the next step is to get connected. Start sponsoring events to get people talking about your business. These events can be in-person social events such as tables at conferences, or virtual events like blogs that get people talking about your business. Linking your event and your business to a current related trend, area of interest, or even another event is good publicity. Be in as many places as you can and get to know as many people as you can. Attend other events in related fields, and always be ready to talk about your new business with passion and integrity. And always have your print materials with you! Business cards, white papers, books, etc. are essential to make the most of every publicity opportunity.
Cultivate Your Core
Once relationships are hatched, cultivate and create deeper, more personal relationships with a smaller number of perspective contacts by playing host to dinner or cocktail parties. This is where collaboration with other trusted industry members begins. These collaborations can lead to many beneficial situations. And personal, even one-on-one, attention is appreciated and needed in the market place. Human interaction with your market cohorts is as vital to your publicity as your online presence. Make these occasions as fun, delightful and as often as funds allow. Save your money for these types of events.
And finally, reach out to the press yourself. This proactive approach takes your publicity campaign by the reigns and directs it consciously. Before contacting any reporter or blogger, do your research. Read all of their recent articles or posts before your first phone call to pitch them story ideas. CEOs should stay in direct email contact with journalist and bloggers. Take control of your message with the press to avoid being misquoted. Owning your publicity campaign gives your new business an edge and saves money. The best publicist in a start up is its founder.
Research Analyst, Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces)
Courtney’s research focuses on tracking emerging business trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and virtual office trends.