Every startup thinks their story is remarkable. You’re lucky when journalists agree.
Between 2009 and 2010 Apple gobbled up 14.1 percent of technology news headlines, according to the Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism. Google was a close second with 11.4 percent, of headlines, roughly equivalent to the combined tally of Facebook and Twitter in the news. Seems like ancient history. While the breakdown of news coverage is different today, the media landscape for startups is no less bleak.
Scrappy startups fighting for recognition have a seemingly impossible task. How to get noticed in a landscape dominated by juggernauts. Your best opportunity to shine is to make journalists fall in love with you through your corporate blog.
Why do you want journalists to fall in love with you?
If you’ve ever been in love you know the feeling of wanton desire. It’s unquenchable.
To be with your lover for one more moment you’ll climb any mountain and swim the deepest ocean. Every phone call, text message or display of affection is a gift.
Desire is a powerful motivating factor. When journalists desire you, they will seek you out to tell your story with gusto. As a reporter I’ve definitely fallen in love with startups before.
How to make journalists fall in love with your blog
A well-designed, and well-executed blog can make journalists fall in love with you. It’s a peek into your world.
The startup company blog is the ultimate platform to share your vision, engage customers and to show off your startup swag. Until you have a media footprint your blog is the first thing people searching for information about you will see. The more passion you have for your company mission, the more your blog content will reflect your desire to improve the world.
Make content journalists love!
The best writing is personal and feels like it was written just for you. Maybe it was.
You can use your blog to speak to the specific interests of the journalist whose attention you most want.
Journalists are infomaniacs who are passionate about their beat. They will gladly consume any new information that fuels this passion. Make your blog irresistible to journalists by cramming it with the topical information they crave.
When he or she finds your blog the effort will be instantly recognized. Forbes editor Kashmir Hill write almost exclusively about privacy. Her blog is called “The Not-So Private Parts.” If you care about technology and privacy as much as she does you’re bound to create a lasting relationship. The best way to demonstrate this is on your blog.
Comment on your favorite reporter’s stories on your blog. Challenge his or her ideas, and come up with stories of your own that match the tone and content of their writing. It’s a great way to add value to their reportage. At the very least you’ll be broadening your subject matter expertise and industry knowledge.
The risk of courting a single journalist with your blog is that your content ignores the needs of your broader audience. However, if you’re speaking from the perspective of your company’s product mission, your customers should be happy to join you for the ride.
Always put your best stories on your blog first
Put your best company stories, updates and insights on your blog first. Resist the temptation to hoard your juiciest tidbits for the big interview with that influential startup journalist. Later may never come.
And if you do snag press coverage and don’t have anything to talk about with a reporter, your company has bigger problems to worry about.
The exception to this rule is when you’ve got a story ready for your blog that a reporter has agreed to print on his or her site. When you’ve tempted a journalist with proprietary data, an infographic or other exclusive insight, make sure they get first crack.
Blog like your life depends on it
Because so much is riding on your blog you should treat content creation as if your life depends on it. An excellent corporate blog for your startup can distinguish your from your rivals. And you never know who will find your content, and how it can open doors in the future.
Today’s startup public relations is about telling your story to the right people, not the most people possible. Once your content is out in the wild it’s easier than ever to understand who has viewed your your content, for how long, and where they found it, with Google Analytics and social media monitoring tools.
Startups with excellent company blogs
Creating a seductive, lovable blog for your startup will take time. Fortunately you can and should emulate startups with excellent corporate blogs. Below are a few of my favorite startup corporate blogs, with an assist from Smart Recruiters:
- General Assembly
- Ready For Zero
- OKCupid (sadly inactive)
More tools to make journalists fall in love with your blog
Blog articles are just one of the ways you can use your blog to make journalists (and customers) fall in love with you. If writing isn’t your forte–or even if it is–you should feel free to experiment with a wide variety of content types.
Reach your audience across platforms and and demonstrate subject matter expertise with:
A startup blogging lesson from Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious says: Update your blog regularly. Publish stories that show how you’re changing the world in big and small ways.
Depending on the content appetite of your audience you may need to post daily, weekly or monthly. From an SEO standpoint you want to publish more rather than less. But always make sure that posts are high-quality and relevant.
Grammar mistakes, spelling errors and technical hiccups are easy ways to damage your credibility.
Blog content is a long-term investment
A love that was built to last takes time.
Investing in original content guarantees that when startup journalists finally do find you the have something to chew on. But remember that you’re building a reputation over months–years even.
Until you’ve cobbled together some reputable press clips you’re media footprint is likely too small to attract the attention you crave. It’s the age old problem. It’s easy to get press when you have press. With a corporate blog you are the publisher, and you have control over how much content is published, and when.
Big companies don’t have to make journalists fall in love. Where charm fails they have scale, they have money and they have power. But it wasn’t always this way.
There once was a time when Dropbox, Airbnb and Instagram were longshots. By their various means they found champions in the media who made their rise to greatness seem inevitable. If you have dreams of the big time, you’re going to be charming, scrappy and seductive. Content is your best friend. The way to a journalist’s heart is through your blog.
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