Whether you’re just starting your marketplace or rolling out a new feature, PR can help you connect with your target audience and grow your brand. Large companies often employ a Public Relations Manager to create and execute a detailed PR strategy. For most bootstrapped entrepreneurs, that just isn’t an option.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to grow your marketplace platform through PR. Below are 5 strategies you should deploy to get your brand featured in the press.
1. Do Your Research
The one-size-fits-all method just doesn’t work here. There’s no way that blasting out a generic pitch to 100 reporters will get you the attention you’re looking for. Not all writers cover the same topics and very few have similar styles.
Research the reporters you are planning to reach out to. Get to know their previous work and understand their audience. Most importantly, find something to connect over.
Skim their last 5 articles and ask yourself these questions:
- What are they talking about?
- Is there a pattern to the topics they cover?
- What is their writing style?
- Who is their target audience?
- Have they covered any of my competitors?
Look up their Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts with these things in mind:
- Read their bio, do you have any of the same interests?
- What are they posting about?
- Do they engage with their audience? Read some of those exchanges.
- Do you share any of the same friends? If so, ask for an introduction.
Remember, most writers are LOOKING for a story. If you can find the ones looking for YOUR story, you’ll give yourself the best chance to succeed. Make a list of 10 writers that have the right audience and have covered similar companies… bonus points if you can get a third-party intro!
2. Make The Writer’s Job Easy
Before asking anyone to write about your marketplace, you need to understand your story and be able to communicate its value. Storyboard a potential feature in the style of the writers and publications you researched in step one. Think of a possible headline and lay out a framework in your pitch. Things to communicate:
- Who you are
- What your marketplace is
- Why should they (and their readers) care
Most reporters are bombarded with multiple pitches daily. It’s no secret that they only read two or three sentences (if that), so be as short and concise as possible.
3. Stroke Their Ego
Compliments will get you everywhere! If you’re looking for coverage in a prestigious publication, you may want to consider offering an exclusive. This gives the reporter right of first refusal and guarantees that they will be the first to break the story. Don’t burn the bridge by not following through on the promise!
After the exclusive is published, you can issue a press release and reach out to other reporters to cover the news.
4. Have A Party!!!
Whether you’re launching your marketplace or introducing a new product or service, hosting an event is a great way to connect with your community. Invite local reporters to participate in the celebration and see your work in action. It doesn’t have to be a big production, and your small investment could lead to a HUGE ROI with your guests of honor.
Here are a few things to plan for:
- The space: somewhere that complements your brand that’s closed to general public
- A greeter: someone who can show the reporter around and make introductions
- A photographer
- Something to give away
Make sure your event answers the questions in part two, that way your followup won’t have to explain as much. You may also want to create a media advisory and submit it to local news outlets.
5. Build Relationships With Reporters
Even though you’re asking a lot from them, you should always have a healthy “What can I do for you?” attitude. Get to know the people who are helping others get to know you. What are their interests? What projects are they working on?
The best way to nurture a healthy relationship is to reciprocate. Look for ways you can help them. Maybe it’s a retweet of their latest story. Or maybe you have a blog that you can feature them in.
Think of reporters as you would a friend and your ROI will go through the roof.
PR is all about building and maintaining relationships. Taking a systematic approach in the beginning will help you identify the right reporters to pitch. Once you make contact, it’s up to you to nurture the relationship to help you create the biggest media impact for your marketplace platform.