Reporting on a firm’s media profile, with full local media & internet database checks, are now a standard part of the due diligence process for investors and support agencies, as is reporting on firm’s (and it's management teams') social media activity. So it makes sense to actively develop and control how you are reported, and how you are viewed on social media. The message? Use the opportunity well - build your track record from the get-go, control what you can control, and influence what you can influence.
One of the key benefits of actively building your media presence for start-ups and SME firms is the influential role that positive third party coverage can play in due diligence and discovery activity. In this regard, no amount of self-penned or self-published ‘content’ can replace a good track record of real media reports in bona fide industry journals and on reputable industry websites. Actually making market news trumps blog posts and newsletters every time.
Reporting on a firm’s media profile and full local media & internet database checks are now standard practice in the due diligence process, as is reporting on social media activity. This is especially true of bad news or mishandled social media postings, but equally, a well handled news profile adds to the overall good and professional feel of your organisation. Obviously researching a company's media profile is just one very small part of the due diligence process, but it makes an important impression - positive press coverage helps tick important boxes for investigators in a way self-published content never can.
When your company is written about in an industry journal, it is being commented upon and written about by proper industry influencers and experts, people with a good view of the overall market in which you operate. So even if, as a start-up, you don’t have a huge customer roster, a positive media presence still represents a strong market validation for your company – the simple act of being written about means that the informed industry watchers who publish and write about your market consider you and your company as an important market participant, worthy of comment and reporting.
No self-penned content can compete with that level of imprimatur, no matter how well written or produced it may be, whether video, infographic, or other ‘brand’ journalism efforts. Because it’s all about context – and genuine industry commentators considering your company worthy of reporting will always trump what you say about yourself – no matter glossily produced.
This is why media engagement should be front and centre of every ambitious firm’s communications effort: because it is 'real'. Formal media engagement – press releases, announcements etc., - should be only undertaken rarely: twice or three times annually at most for an average SME or start up. But these should always only be announcements of achievement: real company milestones like funding, investment, new product releases, key new hires, strategic partnerships. Over time - as well as disseminating your news - they will also create a valuable knowledge reserve, which when made up of credible media reports, is drawn from a very influential well.
And the due diligence process is not just undertaken by investors – it is also undertaken by prospective customers, who are considering committing their future technology direction to your firm.
So pro-active media engagements like press releases – and the resulting reporting in key industry journals and websites – are now more important than ever, differentiating your firm as a real 'newsmaker' in an era of ubiquitous manufactured 'brand' content and news faking. Real news coverage builds a library of authoritative, objective, credible and considered reporting for discerning audiences, in a world of self-authored lookalikes and paid for promotional programmes. Discerning audiences and due diligence investigators know the difference, and can quickly discriminate between the two.
Your important news can create a lasting good impression of your firm, so it makes sense to take control of it from the outset. Identify your newsworthy events, make maximum use of them, and build your year-on-year communications programme around them.
There is no substitute.