newspaper-412452_1280Congratulations, you’ve launched a startup! Now what? It’s time to get your name in the press, but on a small startup-sized budget, is this possible? Absolutely! Here are some tips on getting free press for your startup:

Use free tools.

So, you’ve written a press release about the launch of your new startup, but you’re not sure how to well, release it to the press? There are a number of free tools that can be used to send press releases to reporters, including both print and online publications. Some of these tools, like PRLog, will even set up free news alerts for you so you can easily track if your story is picked up. 

Do a background check.

Research journalists who frequently write about your startup’s industry and reach out to them directly to start a conversation about featuring your business. How do you do this? Make a list of keywords that people may search for when looking for information about your industry. Then, visit any publications you want to see your startup featured in, and search for articles using these keywords. Once you’ve found them, see if there seems to be a resident expert journalist who is assigned all the articles in your field. Most publications will include a Twitter handle or email address for their journalists, so use this information to your advantage and reach out to them directly to introduce yourself. State your case and tell them you would love to be considered as a source for a future article. The worst that could happen is they could say no, so swallow your pride and don’t be intimidated by contacting journalists directly.

Help A Reporter Out…literally.

Every PR person’s secret little tool is HARO, Help A Reporter Out. How does it work? Anyone can sign up for this free service, which will send you emails three times a day with a list of reporter needs from all over the country. You see, when journalists are compiling experts and other sources for a story, they’ll post on HARO so anyone who fits the profile needed can contact them directly for a chance to be included. Let’s say you are launching an e-commerce business selling women’s clothing. While browsing through the daily HARO requests, you notice a journalist in need of someone to give them advice on the latest women’s fashion trends for winter. Reach out and pitch your ideas and your name, along with your business, will be featured in the journalist’s piece. All you have to do is remember to scan the daily emails for relevant stories!

Start small.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and when it comes to getting free press for your startup, it’s best to start small. Don’t expect The New York Times or The Washington Post to instantly feature you in a front page article the second you launch your products. Start with local media, who are more likely to feature a homegrown talent, and work your way up from there. Also, be sure to research bloggers who work in your specific industry as they would be likely to feature your business or even review your product if needed. Building up a portfolio of features through smaller media outlets will help you get national press in the future, so remember, take baby steps in the beginning!

Perfect the pitch.

Before you do anything, the first step you must take is perfecting the attention-grabbing pitch. The best way to do so? Use the one sentence approach. Fill in the blanks: My company, (name), is developing (offering) to help (target audience) (solve a problem) with (what makes your company unique). By following this straightforward formula, you’re delivering all the necessary information in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for journalists to sift through the hundreds of pitches they receive on a daily basis.

What are your tips and tricks to get free press? Share with us in the comments below!