Newsflash: the launch of your startup is not newsworthy. The trick to securing coverage is to identify the company’s niche audience and tell your brand story effectively through media outlets that reach that audience.
Let’s take a look at three PR strategies from startup companies featuring lessons from Turo, Uber and Bridgit.
# 1 Add a personal connection to the brand’s story:
The CEO of pioneering peer-to-peer car rental marketplace, Turo, shows his enthusiasm for cars in the most authentic way: by sharing his keys.
Andre Haddad, the CEO of Turo, put his very own, brand new Tesla Model X up for rent in San Francisco to showcase how the service works. The Turo executive team’s belief and passion for the company is a testament to the company’s values. As a result, they’ve captured the attention of high profile news outlets. A Forbes journalist covered the Tesla rental experience with the CEO’s car. Haddad’s listing of the vehicle humanized the service and his direct engagement added credibility to Turo.
The thought leader or CEO of your startup should naturally fit the role of a spokesperson because of their personal connection with the company. With so many startups that exist in the digital age, it’s important to figure out the brand’s unique story. At the very least – the founder should ‘walk the walk’ and use the startup’s own services or products in a public fashion.
Always remember to media train your spokesperson so they’re ready to deal with being in the spotlight.
# 2 Stay relevant and top of mind with newsjacking:
Uber’s success as an undefeated brand facing constant legal backlash while still managing to look “cool” is due to their out-of-the-box PR practices.
In 2014, Uber launched an on-demand wedding service through the app just in time for San Francisco’s Pride and Celebration weekend. The app allowed users to order wedding services like pre-written vows, violinists and champagne. Uber inserted themselves into the news discussion of Pride Week and boosted its brand reputation by offering one-of-kind support.
Pay attention to trending news and brainstorm ways your startup could fit itself into the discussion. Be smart and make sure it’s a good fit for your startup, matches your demographic and offers value to the news outlets’ readers.
# 3 Increase brand awareness by participating in industry events and competitions:
Bridgit is an app connecting contractors and labourers to one platform in an effort to keep all the workers in the loop throughout construction projects. In May 2016, the two female Canadian founders won the highest prize at Google’s Entrepreneurs Demo Day for Women in San Francisco. This competition consisted of 11 startups from around the globe. The win helped create international buzz and networking opportunities internationally.
Within complex and large industries such as construction, it’s hard for startups to secure media coverage and exposure. Locate the niche audience and events that pertain to your startup. Speaking or competition opportunities offer your startup a direct way to showcase the knowledge and services it has to offer to its target demographic. These event appearances not only help land the company more press, they also place your startup in the right setting to connect with its audience and market to potential clients.