Swyft has written extensively about how PR has evolved in recent years to help tech startups scale their growth. From increasing brand awareness and website traffic to assisting with revenue generating activities around the sales funnel such as sales enablement and repeat sales, PR is a powerful contributor to a startup’s marketing mix.
But did you know that paying attention to PR, namely news media coverage, can actually help startups find new customers?
Think about it. When you get your startup in the news, be it TechCrunch, Forbes or an influential tech news outlet in your particular vertical, the vast audience each news outlet serves pays attention.
News coverage about a potential customer can help you gain deeper insights into their operations and even signal future buyer intent, as in the case of a company that recently did a capital raise, launching a new product or is expanding into a new geographic area.
So the idea here is to flip the usual PR equation. Instead of what PR can do for you, look at what it is doing for potential customers in your target market. Here’s how to start:
Subscribe to the news
When you follow the news, you learn new things about the world, your industry, the competition and, yes, potential customers. The sooner you know about what is new and different, the sooner you can leverage that into potential sales opportunities for your startup. So be sure to subscribe to all manner of news outlets, from general business news outlets like WSJ to tech startup focused ones like TechCrunch. Pay particular attention to news outlets serving your particular tech vertical. Most have daily news updates in the form of newsletters and these are great ways to keep abreast of new events, innovations and trends.
Pay attention to LinkedIn
All news outlets share their latest news coverage across multiple channels. Swyft favors LinkedIn as it’s a massive network of professionals and news outlets are active on that platform. Watch out for any news coming from the media outlets of your choice and be sure to engage with that news by liking, sharing and commenting. If it’s a potential customer you’ve been targeting, make sure you drop the company profile name in your comment or share it with your network to let them know you’re paying attention.
Read between the lines
As mentioned in the introduction, news coverage can be a signal of future buyer intent. Say a company is undergoing massive growth yet is also experiencing supply chain or operational challenges trying to keep up with the demand. Your startup may have the solution they need to streamline key processes. Leverage the news the right way and be the first to reach out and you may have a solid opportunity on your hands.
Industry thought leadership
Normally we’d recommend your startup conduct a thought leadership campaign in order to raise brand awareness and even help with your SEO backlinking strategy. (And we do!) But in this case, you’d be wise to read contributed articles written by potential customers in the industry you are targeting. It will give you deep insight into their organization and provide you a chance to share their insights on your social networks to win their attention and favor.