Marketing is a crucial element for any startup's success. If people don't know about your product or service, how are they going to buy it? As obvious as this may sound, many entrepreneurs put their marketing and public relations efforts on the backburner because they can't afford professional services, and it simply becomes another item on a never-ending to-do list.
If you have this mindset about marketing and aren't making it a priority, you may be missing out on valuable leads. Developing and executing your own PR strategy as a startup does take time and effort, but the increased customer awareness — and consequently, sales — is well worth it.
Lisa Carole, co-founder of fashion retail company Hoodsie, took the "do-it-yourself" approach to publicizing her recently funded Kickstarter campaign. Though she had a lot to learn about writing releases, pitching reporters and designing media kits, she now feels confident that Hoodsie can manage its PR as it gets off the ground. [How to Write a Great Press Release]
"Being able to do your own PR is liberating in the sense that you don't need to rely on anyone," Carole told BusinessNewsDaily. "You are your business' best advocate."
Carole offered the following tips for startups that are handling their own public relations.
Make yourself relevant.Take the time to develop relationships with relevant media contacts. They're not there to serve you — a journalist's job is to report the news, so make yourself newsworthy. Carole found that for Hoodsie, targeted outreach from the founders was the best approach to reaching journalists. Rather than trying to force their story on the media, the team worked to find angles that would be relevant to the publications they were pitching.
What's your story? Spend some time thinking about what makes your company and product interesting. How can you tie these points of interest into a memorable and positive representation of your company, product and brand?
Make your own lists.There are lots of shortcuts to the list-building process, but Carole recommended taking the time to create a comprehensive list of publications that would suit your company's angle. From there, go through each publication's website by searching relevant terms to find the correct writer to contact.
Newswire services are worth it. If your budget allows for it, sign up for a press release distribution service to increase your media reach. Many sites have services tailored for small businesses that are writing and sending their own press releases.
"We used a newswire service halfway through our campaign that really boosted our web presence and got quite a bit of unsolicited coverage," Carole said. "Had we known this would be the result, we would have scheduled one for our initial launch."
Utilize the cloud. Use cloud storage services like Dropbox to host PDFs of your media kit, press releases and a few high-resolution images, and include the link to the files in your pitch emails. It's a great way to share your materials without having to add any large attachments.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.