Starting a company from scratch can be immensely challenging.
You have to convince investors to give you funding, and use what little capital you have to launch a brand to compete with a plethora of existing competition.
New companies form more frequently than ever before, with 50 million new organizations being created every year across the globe. Thus, the challenge to find a unique value and convince others to buy in is more difficult than ever.
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As a new entity, finding product market fit, gaining an audience and clients, and obtaining committed partners will be challenging, given your lack of credibility and success. Not to mention – a lack of consistent revenue limits the actions that you can take. All of these factors considered, gaining press and recognition is no easy task.
The good news is that many startups have shown that while it is difficult, gaining press as a startup is entirely possible. Companies have shown that there are ways to gain an audience that don’t necessitate large upfront costs. By employing basic tricks, there are promising ways for startups to gain press.
Here are a few proven strategies to get noticed as a startup.
1. Use the Competition
Rather than trying to establish yourself in the market as a new concept, consider leveraging the existing competition. People can be skeptical and doubtful when they see a new name they have never seen before. By using existing competition, you can make your brand more recognizable to potential clients.
People are generally more comfortable with brands they are familiar with and recognize. While your company hasn’t achieved this level of recognition yet, others have. Place your company next to others and make you brand eye-catching. This will help to establish your startup as a trustworthy and credible establishment.
If you are making a new athletic shoe and you size yourself up against NIKE for you customer-facing marketing schemes, your customers will view you as more legitimate and well-known than you really are. In this sense, you can use your competition’s success to create your own.
2. Leverage Your Network
Your existing connections are some of your most valuable resources. The people you are friends with and work with may have existing relationships with PR outlets or press that they are willing to share with you. Rather than worrying about spending time and money finding press that will cover you, see if any of your connections have recommendations.
You may find that a former business partner has a connection to a media outlet and would be willing to include your company in their next publication. If you find yourself lacking relevant connections for gaining PR, consider expanding it.
Meet with new people who are affiliated with the press, and see if they can help you get a foot in the door. Grow a network of relevant people whose goals and values are in line with your own.
3. Get People to Vouch for You
Once you have used up your network for PR, it is time to go beyond your network. Find people who write about a topic similar to your company, and contact them. If your company works to produce clean energy, then find media outlets that focus on green technology and energy. The easiest way to make a case for why an outlet should cover your company is if you share a common interest or goal.
Make it known to the PR entity that your belief system and goals are in line with theirs. In this sense, make it clear that you can help them out in return for them writing about your company. Be creative when you think of ways to return the favor. The best way to get a favor – whether it’s press, media coverage, or marketing – is to first demonstrate to this PR entity that you can provide value to them.
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4. Make You Customer the Star
Much of how you will be able to build and expand your company depends on the input that other customers have. Consider the functions of Yelp, a popular restaurant rating website. Potential customers go to Yelp to see what other people have said about a restaurant, before going there themselves.
Thus, customer feedback is critical for gaining new customers. Making them feel like a star will encourage your customers to spread good words about your company. The reason why a customer’s words are so powerful when compelling other customers to buy in is because they are not biased. When a customer reads your claims and statements, they know that you have a motive behind it. When another customer compliments your organization, however, there is no hidden agenda.
One of the most recent examples I’ve seen in the media is the partnership between Ugly Christmas Sweater and the “The Night Before.” The sweater company provided the cast with funny sweaters to wear for the film, and the film advertised the sweaters to millions of viewers. Partnerships like these are becoming more common as breaking through the noise has become harder and harder.
As a new entrant, making your customer the star in a way that’s mutually beneficial allows you to ride their established success to a huge market that you were unable to reach before.