It’s always fun debating a StartupPR strategy with our clients and our team at Onboardly. Weighing the magnitude of interest a story will have with the news media is always a challenge. You’ve got to ask the tough questions like:
Who’s going to care enough to cover the story;
What piece of information is specifically going to capture their attention;
When’s the right time to ask for coverage.
…and the toughest of them all: Is this even a story in the first place?
What constitutes a media-friendly story?
A surefire way to do an initial gut-check on whether or not your story is a ‘good’ one is to ask yourself the golden question; “Is my product or service solving a real, relatable, and understood problem for a certain group of people willing to pay for that solution?”
The question is easy enough but telling it to the media is much more complicated than that and a variety of factors come into play. Do you have competitors with a similar product? Has the service you’re providing been offered before? Most importantly, why are people going to care?
I’ve seen companies with exceptional stories get passed over for media coverage because of poor timing or unforeseen conflicting events, while companies with lackluster stories secure dozens of mentions simply on account of an influential investor or affiliation.
The moral of the story is that often, even with all of the planning in the world, coordinating a massive ‘launch event’ just isn’t what it used to be.
Got a really great story? Choose Quality.
Here’s a StartupPR refresher. We already know that getting to know journalists is important. But realistically – how many media relationships can one person really maintain on an ongoing basis? (Especially if PR isn’t your full-time gig.)
If you’re simply looking for another entry for your Crunchbase profile and have funding news or a feature launch to brag about – I say sure, coordinate an effort and go for as many media hits in one day as possible. Offer an embargo, cue up your favourite media outlets by distributing a media release, and let the news fly. While this can be effective, you get what you put out. If journalists know they’re one in many covering your story, it’s not safe to assume each piece will be unique and powerful.
Want someone to tell your startup story in a way that will resonate with your target audience, establish yourself and your company as thought leaders, and potentially lead to several other spin-off story opportunities? Offer a journalist you know and trust the opportunity to tell your story exclusively. In my experience, a journalist offered an exclusive will take the time and effort, to really dissect your story and understand your why. The article won’t solely be about the bells and whistles but will focus on why you’re solving a real world problem and why the audience should care. It should come as no surprise that quality media leads to quality conversion.
Quality vs: quantity when it comes to time
The quantity vs: quality debate doesn’t end with the media you receive – it extends into the time spent securing said media. The reality is that most startup founders are strapped for time and only have a limited amount of hours and energy to dedicate to PR efforts. Which is why that precious time should be used for quality outreach that will lead to quality coverage.
Prioritize building a relationship with a few key journalists whom you’d trust to appropriately tell your story – interact with these guys tastefully and frequently enough to be on their radar but not scream obvious. When the time comes to pitch them – be cool, be human. By focusing on engaging with who will care the most, over who will simply get the job done – you can rest easy knowing your time wasn’t spent in vain.
You can also sit back and watch your quality media convert.
What are your thoughts on quality vs: quantity? We’d love to hear your success stories!