Press releases are rarely the best outreach strategy for fresh companies. Here’s what you should be spending your time on instead.

“Could you write a press release for us? We would like to be featured in the media.” 

Many fresh businesses share this wish with me – and I can understand that. They have brilliant products that really have a possibility to change the world and they want everyone to know. Traditional media is often the quickest way to get big exposure.

Sadly, many magazines and newspapers rarely get interested in small start-ups. Sending a press release is like trying to make a job application to stand out from the 2-meter pile of virtually identical CVs.

For that reason, drafting press releases, sending it to a massive contact list and spending the next two days calling everyone and asking if they’ve read it is not the best use of your limited budget.

There is a reason why this tactic is referred to as “spray and pray” – it can yield results if you’re lucky, but you should not hold your breath while waiting.

Climb a ladder instead

What to do instead of holding your breath, then? Start building your external outreach step by step, like climbing a ladder. That’s what I call a publicity ladder model.

It starts with your own content channels. It can sound dull – like watching Hello Kitty when you actually want to see the latest James Bond – but it’s necessary. Make sure your website is in order and keep creating content regularly on your content marketing channel and social media.

Check out these content ideas if you need fresh inspiration:

Time to guest blog & speak

Then it’s time to get your content and wisdom in front of more pairs of eyes and ears. This means guest blogging and speaking – often for free. And yes, you can guest blog, even if your own channel is not blogging. 

The guest blog opportunities and free speaking gigs are relatively easy to get, that’s why we start with them. They help you grow your own following, and also showing up in front of someone else’s audience gives you credibility. 

and other ideas on repurposing your content:

Get interviewed

The next step is to pitch your story to podcasts, video blogs and online video shows. And don’t just expect them to find you, pitch them with your idea actively. 

Make sure you have a clear story to pitch. What is special about you? Also prepare to share some pieces of your personal story because that is what podcast and video blog hosts are after. 

For this purpose, you don’t necessarily need a press release but a media kit will come in handy. Send it alongside your pitch because it gives all the necessary information in a beautiful, easy-to-read package. Remember to update it as you go and mention some of your features there as well.

Then, media!

Now, it’s time to go to the online media. Try online magazines first, and only after that traditional printed media. TV and radio are even harder to get. Start national and move towards international.

Targeting media outlets in your region and industry is a better strategy than sending a general press release to everyone. Do your research and contact someone who writes about topics like yours.

At this point, all the visibility you’ve accumulated, backs up your story and makes you more interesting in the eyes of the media. In addition, you’ve gathered experience in being interviewed and that raises your chances of nailing that feature!

Coming soon! Media kit ABC

How to draft a media kit that supports your story? Drop all your questions below and we’ll answer them in the upcoming blog article about building a memorable media kit.

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