Crawl, walk, run – The steady path from vertical to mainstream media

Most brands that we work with are in a rush to get into the media. One of the first questions we get asked is “how long will it take?”. Well, that’s all relative to how much work you’ve done so far. The “work” doesn’t necessarily pertain to PR work, it may mean work that you’ve done to differentiate yourself. I often find that many startups are so internal in their thinking (you know, drinking their own juice) that they forget to ask themselves questions from an outsider’s perspective. Here are five important questions to ask yourself (and your team) before expecting to be on the front cover of Forbes.

Who is your target audience?

What do you want from them?

Are you first, better, best at something and do you have proof? (I know this is really two questions)

What are you doing for the world or industry in the big picture?

Why should the media care?

Answering these questions may be a rude awakening to many when they realized what you think you are or what you think you want isn’t yet possible. This happens to many of the startups that we work with. If you aren’t ready for the big leagues, there is a path you can start creating without that news hook or angle to pave the way to bigger opportunities. We call this thought leadership!

It’s not as sexy as running into a New York Times reporter at Starbucks and getting a feature story because you’re THAT cool, but its a solid way to create credibility and steady buzz while you’re waiting for that golden opportunity to strike. Trust us, it is not that easy to get into the New York Times either. Here’s where you can start.

  1. Build credibility by sharing your industry expertise (this blog is a great example ;)) on a company blog, medium and LinkedIn.

  2. Create expert contributed content for your key trade and business magazines.

  3. Start monitoring media contacts and engaging with them via social media

  4. Try and set up coffee meetings or meet and greet when you travel.

  5. Give any of your top media targets advance notice (at least a week or more) before you have a significant announcement. They have other things on their plate and may be interested, but can’t drop everything just for you. Make sure you follow up too.

These things are easy to get started on and you could be on the path of creating a winning strategy. There are more things you can do to further establish yourself and gain credibility, but there is no substitute for time, so start with these things and check back on our blog for next steps.