Media Strategy 101
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When you’re just starting out and have no brand name yet, creating media buzz can be challenging. After all, you’re competing with not only a plethora of startups but other small businesses and large companies that are already established and have a strong following.

You can view this as a disadvantage, or you can view it as an opportunity. The reality is that far too many small businesses haven’t separated from the pack. To do this, you need to be creative and purposeful about building your brand and giving people something they need.

Small businesses, in particular, have to be extra clever and should focus on the following objectives:

1. Solve a Problem

Every successful product, service, or company provides a solution to a problem. What problem is your business solving? Do people need your company to exist, and are you providing them with real value? Use solutions to write your story and bring it to life.

Every business – whether it’s a startup or a massive corporation – should be in the business of problem-solving.

2. Create a Brand

Branding is as important as it’s ever been. In the age of social media, even a great product isn’t enough to propel your startup to greater heights. You need to develop your own identity that can attract prospects and build leads.

You can accomplish this – not only by having a great name or logo – but also by creating a style guide, generating original content and circulating it online, and building a positive reputation for exceptional customer service.

Don’t be afraid to be bold (but not controversial) and be sure to keep the media pipeline fed. This will help your brand grow its audience and leave a mark.

3. Use Customer Testimonials

You can share about your company or your new product until you’re blue in the face, but people know that it’s in your best interest to promote your brand and present it in a positive light.

Testimonials, on the other hand, are more compelling and increase your street credibility. They show people that others already believe in your budding company and have had great experiences with your brand – to the point where they are even willing to give their stamps of approval.

4. Keep Tabs on Your Competition

We often view competition negatively, but competition helps us determine what works and what doesn’t work. Instead of testing every idea or option, we can look at our competition and start identifying successes and failures within our respective niches and industries. This is a huge timesaver!

Similarly, you need to know what differentiates you from your competition. What are you doing that others aren’t doing? What is influencing customers to choose your product over another’s? Knowing these things and capitalizing on them will only add more value to your brand.

If your product doesn’t fill a need in the marketplace, it doesn’t matter how great it is. Be sure to have all your marketing ducks in a row before you start pitching it to the media. Don’t rely on press releases alone; they aren’t always newsworthy and won’t necessarily get you media coverage in the news or appropriate outlets.

Finally, utilizing a marketing or PR consultant can be extremely beneficial when trying to reach your company’s objectives, as they already have established relationships with the media and can help pitch new ideas, develop thought leadership pieces and submit your company for interviews or awards.