When you’re starting your awesome startup, you’re facing many challenges and you have a lot of assumptions you have to test. For instance, you often don’t know if your Minimum Viable Product will find its market fit (OK, you can meltdown this a bit thanks to customer development), if you’ll be good enough to motivate people (read: other fools) to join your journey, if your business is really scalable, if investors will catch the potential of your startup and if you’ll be credible enough to convince them to bet on you… And there are many other assumptions I’ve not written here.
And there’s also getting known on the market. How do you handle that?
For sure, you can build your brand awareness by making targeted advertising. But that’s often too expensive for startups and probably not so effective. Or you can establish your web presence and attract people on your website by blogging (free, but hugely time consuming), leveraging social media or buying traffic (SEO, Adwords, etc.).
And there is journalists and bloggers, who can write on your amazing startup. For free. Just being interviewed (or even without any interaction) and BANG, you’re the one that everyone would like to meet as you’re now so famous. Stop dreaming. Getting covered on TechCrunch is good, really good. Or on TheNextWeb. Or what else. But it is not a success metric and you have to go back to work ASAP. You’ll get some hype among the tech community, but are all the geeks and startups guys really your targeted customers who are willing to pay for your service? Think about it…
All that beeing said, you can leverage press coverage to support your commercial activities. And it seems not so difficult or expensive, as you basically “just” need to meet the right guys at the right place at the right time with the right story. A lot of right, isn’t it?
As ever in startup world (and in every industry), everyone is fighting to be first and above the crowd. Talking to journalists/bloggers is not so different as to pitch investors. You don’t have much time to pitch them your project when you bump into them at a conference. And making them getting excited by your startup. Or making them feel exclusive (yeah, there is so much content off-/online that exclusive content is hunted). As investors, they are getting pitched all the time and receive boring inefficient press releases all the time…
As it’s right that press coverage (or Public Relations) is by definition affordable, it’s time consuming and you have to learn how to do it (how many small startups have their own experienced PR manager?). You could go make a degree as a journalist. Not so efficient! Or use new services supporting your efforts?
I’ve discovered an incredibly clever service some months ago: TheMediaGraph. As the name already tells it, this startup aims to crack the graph of media (Facebook cracked the social graph, as we already know)… But what does it mean? As a young entrepreneur, you just don’t know how are the journalists who can write about you and how to go pitching them.
TheMediaGraph is an all-in-one tool to manage your press relations, as you would use Mailchimp for your newsletters. You can find journalists interested by your topic (recommendations from the service) and manage your current press relations. And plan (+ track… so important!) your PR campaigns. Moreover, TheMediaGraph helps you building solid and convincing media pitches. Lastly, it brings you a tracking of your competitors’ press coverage.
Until now, there is no automated manner for journalists to register, but if you’re one of them and would like to benefit from the good stories coming from TheMediaGraph, ask Nicholas.
The company is based in Google Campus in London and was started by Nicholas Holmes, a former TNW journalist and University of St.Gallen’s student.
There’s no freemium model and you have to pay for the service after a trial phase. But you can get an additional month free by asking Nicholas and telling them you’ve been recommended by me!