Being a startup comes with many challenges: developing, funding, getting users .. the list goes on. When you’re a B2B startup, you face those same challenges and the realization that your packaging may not always be as shiny as that new dating app or ride sharing service. But as we all know, B2B startups can be successful. And while you’re out there working toward that success, it’s important to spread the word about what you’re doing and how you’re thinking. Outside of creating your own content, you will want to be engaging with reporters as appropriate. Though they no longer serve as the one gatekeeper between you and your audience, the media is still a powerful source of credibility in a world where a new company blossoms into life every day. Here are a few ways to get in front of the media as a B2B startup:
Launch. This one is common sense for everyone. Have you officially launched yet? Do people know you’re there? Of course, you have to be sure that your product or service is 100% ready to go. You wouldn’t want to launch too early and risk negative press because some loose ends weren’t tied up. Once you are ready to go, a launch can be a big driver of media coverage a) if you have something worth talking about and b) if you prepare correctly. We covered some tips to help prepare for a big announcement; scroll through that checklist. And once you’re ready, start reaching out to reporters who cover your industry. Introduce yourself, give a quick bit about what you do; if they’re interested, set up interviews in advance of your launch day with the goal of coverage coinciding with your launch. If your product is a real game changer, they will write. If nothing else, you’ll have started to build relationships with reporters who you can work with in the future.
Work the trades. Everyone dreams of a media hit in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, but sometimes it’s just as beneficial to start where your core audience is: the trades. There are trade publications for all types of industries, from cloud computing to cyber security to telecom and more. More likely than not, they’re always happy to hear from a new player in the game. And the great thing about these publications is that they’re what your core customers will be reading. People who are serious about their industry will be the ones checking out these sites and magazines on a regular basis. Trade publications may not have the luster of a mainstream business pub, but they should not be tossed aside.
Invite reporters over. If you’re proud of what you’re working on and proud of the team working on it, invite the media to stop by and take a tour. Now, if you’re working from four blank walls, it might not be the right move to make. But if you have a cool space where you’re constantly creating and building new things, inviting a reporter to stop by and check out the digs is a good opportunity to give more insight into what you’re working on and where all the magic happens.
Participate in startup competitions. Startup competitions, like TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlfield or Hatch Pitch, offer the opportunity to pitch your company and ideas in front of a live audience, often times in front of judges who are also venture capitalists. Media are also frequently in attendance, especially if it’s at an event like Disrupt or SXSW. It offers you a chance to get on their radar (not to mention the VCs as well.) There are a ton of them out there. Find a few that best fit your startup and apply!
Gather some competitor intel. Unless you’re the stubborn startup CEO who constantly declares they have no competitors; you probably in fact do have a few competitors. Do some research into where they’re being covered in the media and the reporters that are covering them. These indicate opportunities where you could be building relationships and getting coverage as well. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be losing ground to a competitor because they’re grabbing eyeballs in spots where you could be too.
There you have it. A few ways to get some media love around your startup. Always remember to do your research and make sure you’re reaching out to the right reporter with something worth their time. You don’t want to burn bridges before they’re even built.
Senior Marketing Analyst