Leafing through  a business magazine, do you wonder how that story made it into the publication’s editorial content? And, most important, how do you get your company and product featured as well?

The reality is, there is no magic PR wand to make it happen. For starters, there are two parts to any founder’s media outreach. The first one starts with the elements you and your team control. Those are, your story, the angle, timing and choice of news outlets. The part that is out of your hands should also be factored in, that is, how your message will be received by the news editor or reporter.

Alyson Shontell, editor in Chief for Business Insider was a guest during a fireside chat at New Jersey Tech Meetup. Part of the discussion ventured into how a start-up or any company for that matter can improve their chances of  getting media coverage.

Start by asking yourself this question: Why do I want media coverage? The simple answer may be,  so people know about me and my company.  But Alyson sets off an early caution for founders, “Be strategic because while getting media coverage can be great validation it can be more harmful than good. Don’t let ego be the driver for wanting media coverage” says Shontell who has seen many start-ups garner strong media coverage out of the gate only to be defunct a few months later sending a big tip off to competitors.

Being strategic is key to approaching media relations and the “why” should be the starting point.

How can companies earn media from business publications?

If in fact your story does contain media value Shontell suggests working through contacts and referrals who have a connection to the reporter you are trying to reach.

Tip: Study the publication, know what they’ve written and what might be of interest.

Do cold emails get ignored?

Reporters are bombarded with hundreds of emails daily. The subject line according to Shontell is the first tip-off.  If this is a mass email vs. something customized to the respective publication it’s more likely to be met with the “delete” button.

Tips from vWire for getting a reporter to consider your pitch:

  • Have a good handle on what you are pitching and why your story would be of value to the publication’s readers.
  • Don’t give up too soon. Persistence can pay off. Maybe your story is not right that day but, in a week, or a month a door of opportunity may have opened.
  • Keep records of your outreach to reporters.

How can bootstrappers get press?

Know what’s compelling about your start-up. Fundraising news may not be the most compelling unless there’s a unique angle to it. Instead focus on the growth numbers, solid revenue generated.

“Numbers really stand out to people whether it’s stats or growth, try to figure out what is the most exciting thing to the most people about your company”.

But what about early stage, pre-revenue companies?

Getting press at too early of a stage may be “the wrong time” according to Shontell, press can be a distraction from a founder’s focus on getting the company off the ground and cautions that strong press coverage when it comes too early “can create a false sense of traction and end up being fad”.

Using a PR agency vs. doing your own media pitching

While it comes at a cost, many small companies outsource the publicity component. Is this a good idea? Allison says a personal touch goes a long way when it comes from a founder, no one is more passionate to tell their story. A common mistake founders make is not knowing what the most interesting thing about them or their company is.

In the early days it’s all about the human stories, people want to root for the underdog, they want someone to succeed, want to know how you got where you got, how they can get there too. Entrepreneurship is very aspirational and inspirational, everyone wants to follow a dream.

Finding your story

Think about what a person would like to read. Be genuinely honest, what would your friends want to read? Think wide audience.

Once you are ready to ramp up your publicly for 2021 bring your news to vWire where you can access the niche vegan media and influencers national and internationally.

Thank you to NJ Tech Meeting for allowing vWire to replicate this content.