A good story in the media ensures attention for your company and product. But how do you ensure that you get into the columns?
How difficult can it be to get into the media as a start-up? You are going to change the world, you are convinced of that. You quickly type a press release full of praising words about your own work. You collect as many e-mail addresses as possible from journalists, send the message and then wait until they call you. Yet?
According to Remco Janssen, this is how many starting entrepreneurs think, but exactly how it doesn't work. With his PR agency Proudly Represents, he helps start-ups with their communication. "I often get clients who have received a press list of journalists' names from a friend - who also has a start-up. But if you work in tech and your friend in health care, it makes little sense."
"Journalists are not there to promote your company." Remco Janssen
Communication is a profession
Admittedly, working with a PR agency costs money that is sometimes not budgeted for by a start-up. Yet picking it up yourself can cause more damage than you would like.
"If journalists do not respond to a press release, start-ups start calling and e-mailing. That quickly becomes annoying, so that people no longer want to work with you. Journalists are not there to promote your company, but to bring news. Communication is a profession and many starting companies have understood little about it. "
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Find out who you are working with
To reduce costs - which can vary from a few hundred to thousands of euros per project - you can work with an independent PR consultant. Freelancers can offer their services for less money and sometimes work with a package price, whereby you are supported for a certain amount per month.
Tessa Oostdam, independent PR advisor at Más PR, advises you to find out who you are working with. "What other companies does this person help and do those organizations get into the media that also benefit you as a company?"
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What makes your start-up different from the rest?
According to Oostdam, it is also important to think about what makes your company different from the rest. "Do you produce your products sustainably, is your product innovative within the sector or do you have a business model with which you want to have social impact? Then that is what you want to convey in press releases."
In addition, support your messages with facts. "A press release with quotes and beautiful stories about yourself is often not that interesting for journalists, they can easily see through that."
"A press release with quotes and beautiful stories about yourself is often not that interesting for journalists." Tessa Oostdam
Moreover, one story can be very interesting for a certain professional journal, while other news catches on with a national newspaper. "Where a message about a new senior manager can be interesting for a professional journal, national media are not interested in it," Janssen explains.
"There is a good chance that you will not reach both media with a general press release." According to Oostdam, it is a matter of customization. "PR people often already have a network of journalists who can call them with specific stories. As a starting company you can make good use of it."
Systems such as Smart.pr, Buzzpress and deperslijst.com also provide up-to-date data from journalists for trade journals and national and regional media. If you don't want to free up money for PR, you can browse social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn to discover what journalists are doing.
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Funny ideas sometimes work
Five years ago Janssen founded the medium Silicon Canals, in addition to Proudly Reprresents, where European tech start-ups are written. "It is important to me that there is a clear message in a press release. For us, it is about business models in large markets, so I will respond to that."
"Ultimately, it's about bringing the right people together." Remco Janssen
At the same time, he has a weakness for funny ideas. "We recently received a press release about a kind of Airbnb for gardens, for people who don't have space but would like to do some gardening. That will never be huge, but we can add this to a story about different start-ups in a certain market."
Janssen itself is not concerned with the content of the website due to conflicts of interest. A critical editor in chief assesses which press releases are interesting for an article. "Sometimes I even tell the clients for whom I do PR that their story is not interesting for Silicon Canals. Or we give big news to a competing medium that I know fits better there. Ultimately it's about bringing together the right people. "