8 Tips on How to Get Market Visibility on a Shoestring Budget as a Startup

by Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Startup New Business Project With Rocket Image Development And LAs a startup, chances are that you only have a limited budget for your marketing program. However, getting market visibility is crucial to your business success. How can you compete against large companies with vast marketing resources? Public relations can be a powerful and efficient tool to reach your customers, if used smartly. While you might not have the same marketing budget as your competitor, your advantage will be speed and focus. Following are eight PR and marketing tips to get your company on the map.

1. Focus on key influencer network: Scan the media, the blogosphere, social media and industry events to identify the top 15-20 influencers in your sector (media, analysts, academics, etc.).
2. Compile corporate quick facts: Develop a one-page backgrounder on your business:  who you are, and what you offer to whom.  Include third party validation, such as awards and market stats, as available. Turn technical language into simple words that clearly explain the business value of your product or services. If your grandmother can understand your description, you’re good to go. Post it on your site and social media platforms like LinkedIn and Google+.
3. Include key words in press materials.  Make a list of your top 10 key words. Use GoogleAdwords’ search-based keyword tool to find the right key words that improve your search engine pick up and website traffic. Use those key words consistently in your website and press materials and as tags.

4. Develop a “story calendar”: Use your news pipeline and tools like editorial calendars and the “Help a Reporter Out” newsletter as well as seasonal events to develop a story calendar (what you will pitch at what time) and pursue story opportunities on a week-by-week basis.
5. Keep releases for hard news only: Separate your story calendar between hard news and soft news. Hard news includes announcements like product and service launches, management team changes, funding rounds, new partners and customer wins.  Soft news includes trade show appearances and speaking engagements, minor product updates, and ongoing CSR initiatives (unless it is a major campaign). Only hard news should be used for press releases and top tier media pitching. Soft news can be used for targeted media pitches or social media outreach.
6. Pitch trend stories: Make it a weekly habit to scan publications and social media for trends and seasonal topics that you can tie your business story to, such as mobile lifestyle, social innovation, aging population, holiday gifts, or climate change. Set up Google alerts for industry topics.
7. Pre-pitch opinion pieces:  Opinion pieces are a good way to place an article in slow news periods. But keep in mind that publications only accept opinion pieces that are exclusively written for them and they cannot sound like a corporate brochure.  To make sure your opinion piece gets accepted pre-pitch your idea to the publication before writing the entire piece.
8. Repurpose results: Capture the coverage after interviews and releases.  Re-use clips and quotes for marketing materials, presentations, your website and social media posts.