TechCrunch, TechCrunch – everyone wants to be on TechCrunch. And why wouldn’t they? A good TechCrunch story generates significant shares on social and tends to bring all the people to your website.
That is until they bounce.
As Dave McClure says, “TechCrunch don’t pay the rent” and while it can be the, be all and end all for some startups (yes, one perfect media mention can trump ten), the reality is, for some startups, TechCrunch isn’t going to generate the users and customers they’re after.
So what will? Meet the all powerful niche outlet.
Small and Mighty with Strength in Numbers
This best kept secret to getting great media coverage, isn’t as cut and dry as saying business versus technology outlets. In fact, it has a variable meaning that depends strongly on the startup’s product, service, and goals. So the trick is knowing what you want first.
Let’s say you’ve created a product that will very specifically target human resources professionals; the HR market. Your ideal customer is an HR manager or consultant – the big dawg doing the hiring or making the decisions. After all, it’s his life you’re about to make easier.
As tempting as it may be to pitch your story to TechCrunch or Mashable, your gut is telling you otherwise. Your desire is based on vanity and not common sense or logic. Because Bob the HR consultant you’re after doesn’t read TechCrunch – he’s not even that tech savvy. But that community over at TalentCulture.com or those email marketing newsletters from multiple HR resource websites? Bob probably loves those. As do all of Bob’s HR loving friends and colleagues.
These are your niche outlets – where your most dedicated and loyal user base are waiting for you to find them.
Discover Your Future Customers
Bob is fictional and he definitely isn’t your customer but you know who is and you’ve likely already identified their needs and you know what they want. Now it’s time to identify their haunts.
In many cases, a niche outlet isn’t one that everyone in your industry has heard of – they aren’t the TechCrunch or Mashables. And chances are, depending on your product, it’s possible you’ve never heard of these outlets until you researched your customer base. They are huge in their own right to their followers and sometimes they are the underdogs. But don’t underestimate their hidden value. These small but mighty communities may not bring the traffic numbers TechCrunch will but they will bring a much higher conversion rate.
Why? Because you’re already preaching to the choir – your targeted audience.
Harness the Power of Your Niche
With your market research done, you know who you want. Now it’s time to locate the communities they’re a part of.
Start by identifying the more obvious niche outlets. For an HR product, HR.com is an obvious oulet. Got a golf app? There’s a variety of golf magazines and websites to choose from. Next, identify the keywords you feel best describe your product/service and see who is chatting about them. By setting up alerts for keywords, you may discover niche outlets you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. While there will be niche media outlets that are mainstream (ie: industry magazines and websites), chances are, there will also be some amazing industry blogs that speak directly to your audience and have a dedicated following. Offer up a contributed post (points if you score a contributed post on the day or week of a launch or announcement) or invite them to guest blog on your own website and cross-promote within their own networks.
I’m constantly amazed at how willing and passionate members of niche communities are to help and would suggest getting to know a few as early on as you can. That way, when it comes time to ask a favor, they’re ready and able to lend a hand.
Don’t Spend Time a Wastin
Time is a luxury not many startup founders have and much of the time spent dedicated to securing media coverage and startup PR wins, should be spent first identifying your story. Your why. Storytelling is everything. And sometimes, it takes a fair amount of hours to really fine tune yours.
When the hard part is over and it’s time to tell your story, don’t waste time on the media outlets that won’t convert. While vanity wins are great, they won’t lead to quality traffic. So next time you’re getting ready for a launch, a new feature announcement, or just looking to keep up the post-launch momentum – look to the communities already singing your praise.
Armed with a small army of loyal, targeted users – the right niche outlets can secure new sign-ups, paid customers, and a helluva lot of good attention from the right people that matter most.
Have you experienced success from a niche outlet? Curious how to pitch one? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!