One of the main goals of a PR program is to get coverage. In the early days of a start-up, it can be difficult to get coverage for your company because you are unknown, you may not be able to talk publicly about your initial customer case studies and you likely won't draw a crowd like Apple for your product launch. So how can you get coverage?
Having your company quoted in industry trend stories so your brand is seen in conjunction with others in the space is one of the best forms of coverage at any time. This helps to build not only awareness of your company but also credibility as a thought leader. Being part of these industry trend stories puts you on the list of companies for buyers to check out when they are looking to solve a problem.
But how do you get quoted in these stories if you are still an unknown start-up? The key is to react quickly to news and events by reaching out to reporters writing these stories and offer your help and expertise when they need it most. David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) calls this real-time marketing and PR and has written a book about it that's on my reading list.
One approach I've used to find the stories that editors may write about is to follow the news for your industry. Then, leverage these news items by looking for trends that are happening and pulling them together into a bigger story, think up a new angle, or when news breaks figure out what it means in a larger context.
While this may sound like PR 101 (ok maybe PR 201), the key point is that you need to react quickly, or in real-time, and not spend a week or 2 writing and publishing a news release on the topic. You need to reach out to editors when they are working on the story and before it's old news. You should also blog or tweet your throughts on this news or post to Facebook and your website about the topic as it's happening.
For example, news breaks of an online attack or database breach at a large company. If your company is in the enterprise security space, then you could reach out to editors at other security or enterprise-focused publications and give them insights into how this could have happened, what it means to other companies in this space and how companies can protect themselves. Don't make it about your product though but instead help the editor tell a better and more complete story.
Editors are always looking for resources to give insights and explain the news. If you follow the news and trends in your industry and then react quickly to add a valuable new angle to the story that the editor is working on, you'll either be quoted or remembered as a resource for the next story. When you don't have your own news to tell, leveraging industry news in real-time can get you coverage.