If you are a start-up founder or entrepreneur and you are trying to do something a bit new or disruptive, something that’s a little bit outside the square, then you should be able to attract mainstream publicity. But why would you use traditional media rather than just relying on digital and social media to get the word out? And how do you go about running your own publicity campaign anyway?
Well, let’s start with why.
Traditional media such as TV, radio, glossy mags, metro newspapers and weekend inserts still has enormous reach. Google absolutely loves mass media sites as they rank online presence using metrics that measure content changes and traffic, something that this media has in spades. Other non-traditional media such as social, blogs and podcasts tend not to have the same reach (although there are always exceptions).
So how can you use the power of traditional media to drive people to your crowdfunding campaign? Well, first you need to craft a story around your business or product idea to make it appeal to the consumers of traditional media. That means that you need to have some advice to offer, or your business needs to be solving a problem, or you need to be doing something that is innovative or unusual. With PR you can’t just write about how great your business is and why people should use/buy it. That won’t fly.
Try googling ‘newsworthy story angles’ to see how to ‘spin’ your story. See how to make your story into something that the media will be able to use. Having coached a number of crowdfunding campaigns now, I can tell you that you will need a compelling story and if you can get free media coverage, it will make a huge difference to your campaign.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Work out timing and approach the media that will be able to deliver publicity during your campaign. Be aware of media lead times and work within their parameters. If your campaign is starting next week and running for a month, then there is no point approaching monthly magazines. Their stories won’t be published for 3-4 months.
- Know your target market. What media are they consuming? Would your story work well in the weekend newspapers, in the business section of weekly metro newspapers or on radio? Perhaps you have something that is very visual and would work well on TV? If you know who your target market is then you can tailor your story to appeal to that market.
- What are your secondary markets? Can you get to your target market by appealing to secondary markets – for instance, if you have a product for blokes, could you also do a campaign to women (they often make the purchase decisions for their partners), or if you want to get to CEOs, can you appeal to them via their EAs or PAs?
- Have you got a beta site or micro site set up where people can go to get more information? If it’s an app, can you offer it to a journalist to try and then review?
- Have you got some fantastic photography? If not, it’s probably worth investing in good pics – particularly if you have a product, or perhaps you want to get publicity by using one of the founders to seed the story? If so, the media will want photography – and of good quality – to run the story.
- Work out the media you want to approach, ensure that your story will be compelling to their readers (and remember, you need to be offering information or advice, not just telling them about your campaign) and send it to them!
If you haven’t got much time before your campaign starts, then go for radio interviews and the online versions of big media outlets. Often they are happy to put stories up online only, and forget the print version, and you can get a story up on a major website within days rather than weeks or months.
Traditional media is a great way to get the word out about your crowdfunding campaign, you just need to know how to go about it. It’s not rocket science!
About the author
Jules Brooke is the founder and owner of Handle Your Own PR.