There is no shortage of articles suggesting ways startups can get press coverage. But what I find is a shortage of articles and materials suggesting ways startups can maximize the press coverage. When startups get featured on traditional media channels, say CNN or BBC, the exposure rarely translates to improved sales.
So why do many startups not maximize press coverage? How does a local startup that gets featured by the international media still not pull in more customers?
There are many answers to the above questions. It could be that the founder doesn’t know how to evangelize the product. Or maybe too many people just aren’t interested in what the startup is selling. There are many other possible reasons.
International media exposure can help or hurt a startup, depending on how the startup uses it. There have been cases where a founder gets featured on international media and lets the hype get to him, sometimes making him believe his startup is bigger than it really is. In the end, the startup pays dearly for thinking they are Apple when they really aren’t.
Here’s how to convert the coverage, not just into more hype, but into more sales.
Tell your customers ahead of time
A simple way to use press coverage to your advantage is to tell your customers about it ahead of time. You should do this through social media and by word of mouth. You know that your startup will be featured on CNN in a couple of days or weeks, it would be a smart move to alert your customers about it long before it happens. If you do not know the exact time, tell them you don’t. And let them know that you will communicate the time of release to them.
A feature on CNN is a big deal, for you and for everyone connected to your startup, so make a big deal of it.
Ask your customers to tell others
Don’t stop at just telling your customers about the upcoming feature, tell them to inform their friends (and enemies too). Allow your customers make noise about you. Empower them with one-click social media buttons that will broadcast the information on all their social media channels. Involve your employees in the noise making process too.
Once you have confirmed the time the feature will be published, make sure you relay it to your customers who are already expecting.
Create a package to be distributed once the feature is published
Whether it is an article in Forbes or a video on CNN’s website, look for a way to package the feature and distribute it among your customers and online audience. If it’s a link, share it with them. This way, they can have access to it for the sake of reference at a later time.
Add it to your website
You really don’t need anyone to tell you this. There should be a section on your website dedicated to showcasing the links to the press coverage your startup has gotten so far. Embed videos, tweets, posts and article links on your website.