Seed or Early Stage startups find themselves in a really fluid and variable status, where they haven’t found the right direction yet.
Reaching the right product, and success, is a long and difficult path made out of errors and adjustments.
To find out the mistakes make and apply the right adjustments is important to get in touch with the market, with our own clients, and in general with our own stakeholders.
Getting in touch with the market is essential for a startup.
The problem is that early stage startups cannot afford to spend their money in paid advertising.
The goal of a startup is to gain in the most efficient way the “innovators” identified in Rogers’s diffusion of innovation curve.
Innovators are always looking for innovations, they are always ready to adopt new solutions to solve their problems and for this same reason they can be reached more easily than other customers.
They found news and information on websites, newspapers or blogs, where journalists collect, filter and analyze innovations for them.
In order to get free advertisement you have to convince and engage journalists
Journalists and bloggers, in their work, process a huge amount of data and it’s really easy to less relevant or tempting ones to be ignored.
To avoid this situation and maximize the journalist “conversion rate” (obtaining an article, an interview or just a simple mention) is important to be careful on the materials is be going to be sent to them.
For this reason the Press Kit of a startup must be perfect.
A Press Kit is a package, in the hard copy version, and a file, in the digital version, where all the relevant information of a company can be found.
In this extract of an article of www.businessinsider.com we can find a guide on what an effective press kit should include.
“In the Online Version here’s what your press kit should include:
•Company logos in different formats (.jpg, .eps, etc)
•A demo video (if you have one – or if the file is too large a link to the video in your fact sheet)
•Screenshots of your web site, app or service.
•Your about us/how it works section, including contact information
•All the press releases
•A “Startup 101” fact sheet – who you are, FAQ, where you’re based, and any other pertinent information. You can combine this with your about us/how it works if you want
•Headshots for any company executives/spokespeople
•Optional/nice-to-have: key features descriptions and customer testomonials
For the Hard Copy of the press kit:
•Package it all together. It’s easy to have an online media kit because it’s all in one folder – the same idea applies for hard copy media kits. Keep all the paper info in a folder, and include any business cards or additional material. This makes it easier for people to keep track of your information instead of sending it all to the recycle bin
•Find a way to stand out. Journalists get pitched every minute of every day, and bloggers are increasingly receiving numerous pitches from startups and PR agencies. Find a way to be unique
•Personalize. Don’t write “To whom it may concern” on your intro letter, or have a generic press kit that goes to everybody. Find a way to personalize the pitch – include their name on all documents and include a name tag on any items. Make sure the recipient knows why you think they’re important and should be receiving it”
Complete article at this link
Naturally curing the materials in the press kit is not enough, in order to get what we want it’s important to catch the attention of the reader.
We need an interesting story to tell, the press kit is only the way we tell it.
The story can be interesting only when it’s told to the right person
Therefore, you need to contact a journalist/blogger that can directly write about you and witch readers are interested in your story.
It’s really important to contact a journalist who can influence the largest possible target audience.
Find all the site, blogs, pages, newsletter, forums, real places, events, where you can find your customers and then contact the journalists who will write for them.
Send them a private personalized message, interact with them on social networks, keep them updated on all your recent activities. Your final goal is to make them interested in you, and make them write and talk about your startup.
In conclusion, most of the startups can’t afford to pay for their customers. They need to improve their product and create their base of “innovator” customers first.
The “innovators” are customers that are more easily converted and the most efficient conversion rates can be obtained by attacking them first.
You can get in touch with them in different places, websites, forums, social networks, blog, newsletters, digital and classic newspaper, and to be present in this places you must engage and convince the journalist who will write on these media news about you.
You must make easy for them to understand what’s your business in order to make them write about you, and this is why you give them a complete press kit.
In a perfect press kit they can find all the information they need, or maybe more.
Finally, If you contacted the right people and your story is worth telling you got your free visibility and hype.
There is a lot of work to be done before being able to collect results, and you can’t always be sure to get the visibility you want.
It’s a continuous effort with discontinuous results, but at least it’s free!