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It’s debatable whether or not any press is good press, but as a startup, you’ve got to figure out how to get some coverage on a budget.

Getting your business noticed by the media is something many entrepreneurs and startups only dream of. If you don’t have a big budget for a PR firm like giants in your industry do, you may feel like there’s no chance you’ll be noticed by a big publication. Fortunately, PR firms don’t have exclusive access to reporters and journalists. This means that with the right plan and approach, you could wake up one day to learn that your business has been featured in the media, reaching a national audience of potential customers.

How To Land Press For Your Startup Without Paying A PR Firm

1. Build a good media list

Start from the top. You study your industry. You know what publications out there are relevant to your business and your customers. If you search hard enough, you can almost always find the contact details for journalists and staff at news agencies. This also goes for social media influencers on relevant platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Start to put this list together long before you have a story to tell. When the time comes, you should be able to write a pitch for your story in 140 character or less and reach the exact professionals you would want to tell your story.

2. Personalize your approach to journalists

Journalists are busy professionals under a lot of pressure to find interesting stories to tell. If you don’t take the time to learn a bit about who they are and work they’ve done, it’s fair to assume they might not take the time to respond. Do your research before you contact a journalist or news anchor. Compliment them on something they produced recently. Confirm with them the kinds of topics they like to go after so you can be more targeted with the pitch you send their way. Showing this level of care and interest can go a long way to building a mutually beneficial relationship that could land you the press you’ve always hoped for.

3. Sign up as a trusted source on Haro

One of the best resources out there for both journalists needing credible stories and businesses seeking PR is called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). On this site you can sign up to be a trusted source where you will then be added to a list of contacts that receive frequent newsletters with containing topics that journalists need sources to contribute to. If you respond to one of these topics in your industry with information that a journalist finds helpful, you could be contacted and gain some valuable media coverage for free!

4. Contact blogs and offer to guest post

There are plenty of smaller online publications that constantly need content. Often, it is difficult for these companies to curate enough topics to meet their publishing quotas. Reach out to some of these and offer to produce a piece on a topic that is relevant to (or even references) your business. This can be great for SEO and PR!

5. Make sure you have a story to tell

Before you actually reach out to a journalist with a specific story to pitch, make sure it is something worth talking about. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be interesting. Think about it from the standpoint of a reader, not as the owner of your business. If you spotted this story in your news feed and knew nothing about your company, would you stop to read it?

If you play your cards right and keep at it, there is a good chance you’ll catch a break and land some valuable media coverage for your company. When you do, it will be important that you are ready to handle all the extra attention that comes with being in the spotlight. Having a plan in place and partnering with a great phone answering service should put you in a strong position to field more calls, put forward a professional image, and even prepare you for potential growth. Who knows? Your next news story could be the moment your business becomes a well-known brand.

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