Moving the Flywheel


Buzz. Hype. Coverage. Everyone knows how important it is to break out of your start-up bubble, and put your company and product in front of your market. But building that momentum, and getting the flywheel to start rotating can seem tough.

If you ask most tech start-ups who travel to a trade show how they were received by visiting press, the answer is invariably the same: polite interest, and no coverage. Fast forward 12 months, and the position may well have changed. Now, that same start-up can find themselves being courted by the media and invited to participate in industry features, Q&As etc. How is this achieved?

The answer is simple: they have proved themselves capable of delivering clever, compelling, high quality, non-promotional content, on time, and with photos or diagrams to back it up.

Here are 3 steps that will help you get your flywheel moving.

Research

In tech especially, your media is generally predetermined by vertical and by technology. Thus, it shouldn’t be too hard to see where products like yours are being reported. Mostly, CEOs will have their own favourite publications or websites – your own industry reading is generally a very good guide as to where you want to be seen. Another good trick is to check out your competitors’ websites – specifically their press pages. See where they are being reported, and what their angle is. Also, note who the reporter is, because he or she will probably be your contact too. While you’re there, check the forthcoming features to see if there is anything you can contribute to.

Be relevant, offer quality, non-promotional comment

Keep abreast of the issues affecting your industry and offer comment. Editors and writers like good content, and they like reliable contacts who they know will offer good intelligent and non-promotional industry commentary, and do so within their deadline. So put yourself forward. If you don’t, you can be 100% certain that someone else – probably your direct competitor – will be offering themselves in your place. And let’s face it, nothing cheers a CEO up more than the sight of their competitor grinning back them from the pages of their favourite trade magazine. To all their customers and prospects. What a great start to the day that is.

Be persistent, offer ongoing regular contact

If you don’t make the front page of Electronics Weekly on your first attempt, don’t despair. Keep trying and keep pulling the levers. Continue to build your list of industry media contacts, and communicate regularly with them – offer commentary on published articles, send out occasional press releases for relevant company milestones, offer opinions for forthcoming features. Offer photos and diagrams.

Some of your efforts will fall short simply because they don’t fit in with the writer’s planned article, so don’t despair and take it as a slight on your company. It's not.

Keep going. Eventually, the flywheel will begin to turn in your favour.

(Pic: March Crocus)

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