I think you’ll agree with me when I say this:
No startup can acquire users and grow without publicity. Or at least, it’s one hell of a challenge to do so.
But publicity helps achieve another important thing for a startup – attract potential investment.
Investors are more likely to get interested in a company that’s already gained some traction and is visible on the market. I’ll show you the five marketing channels you should use to generate more publicity for your startup and attract attention from potential investors.
What’s Startup Publicity Anyway?
Google tells me that publicity is:
“The notice or attention given to someone or something by the media.”
And of course, I’m not one to dispute this definition. However, I think publicity goes further than just the media when it comes to startups.
You see, startups live and die by their visibility.
But also, if potential customers don’t see or hear about your business pretty much everywhere they go online, chances are they’re not going to trust you.
And without that trust, there’s little chance they’ll sign up.
Without those user acquisitions, though… you’re going to have a hard time convincing investors to your idea.
So, in short, you will find it hard to grow your startup without publicity and online visibility.
Luckily, you can generate publicity and interest about your startup by focusing on marketing channels that drive visibility and acquisitions.
And here are the five most effective of them.
With 72% of your potential users starting their buyer journey in Google, your startup simply cannot afford NOT to do SEO.
SEO gives you the opportunity to position your business right in front of the very people who are currently experiencing the problem it helps to overcome.
Out of many SEO strategies you could use, these three are particularly useful for generating publicity:
Researching your competitors’ strategies. After all, if something has worked for your competitor, it will most likely work for you too.
For a startup, conducting an SEO competitive research means:
- Discovering what keywords your competitors focus on in their strategy,
- Learning how they structure their content, and
- Analyzing their backlink profile to learn which links you could easily replicate.
Tool to use: any organic research tool that allows you to discover and then reverse engineer many of your online competitors’ strategies.
Finding the most relevant keywords. Apart from assessing your competitors’ keywords, you should also research what other phrases your audiences might be using to find the solutions you offer. This will help you position your startup for the most relevant searches and in doing so, attract a highly-targeted audience.
Building backlinks. The quality and quantity of links leading to your site directly affect its rankings. And so, you should focus on building as many strong backlinks as possible to ensure your startup ranks high for relevant and authoritative searches. The easiest way to find the right websites and the journalists or bloggers to connect with is to check the domains referring to your competitors’ sites with one of the SEO tool available on the market: Majestic, SEMrush, or other tools available on the market.
If you want to get links from an authoritative website, you should know what content interests them. You can look through their recent articles and check whether or not your company’s topic is related to their content and if it might attract them. For that, you can use Buzzsumo, or go even deeper and find content gaps for a more original angle with Topic Research.
But does SEO really work?
“It took me a while to get over my fear of SEO and realize that it’s not just some scammy tactic. Now that we’re taking it seriously, our traffic has never been higher. I regret not putting in the effort from the beginning.”
I admit, the term “paid marketing” might sound ambiguous. After all, you have to pay for pretty much all marketing activities.
But, in this context, it simply relates to any online advertising strategy.
Paid marketing typically includes:
- Buying ads on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can use these ads to promote your product or position your content in front of the target audience.
- Running Google AdWords campaigns with the aim of attracting potential users to the site.
- Placing display ads and banner ads on websites your audience visits, again, you should do it to strengthen brand awareness and position your startup as the provider of solutions to the problems your audiences may have.
- Promoting your brand through sponsored posts.
- Running paid remarketing campaigns to re-engage people who have visited your site before.
- Engaging in affiliate marketing and enlist other people to help you promote and grow your startup.
I know, it sounds cliché, but it’s so true. Social media and startups are a match made in heaven.
Every startup’s goal is to build an audience. These people don’t necessarily have to be users yet. But the earlier they’ll engage with the brand, the greater the chance they’ll eventually convert.
And social media gives you the opportunity to achieve exactly that, build and engage an audience.
But before you jump and start creating accounts on all social media, here are a couple of things you should consider:
Focus only on the most relevant social networking sites. Try as you might, you won’t be able to manage your presence on all social media networks. There’s just too many of them. Plus, the chances are that your potential users are active only on some of them.
Check which social channels bring the most traffic to your competitors and focus your efforts only on those sites used by your potential audience. And don’t be afraid to ignore big networking sites if your audience isn’t that active on them.
Hint: use the Social Media Tool to analyze how your competitors use social media and quickly discover low-hanging fruit strategies that you could implement into your business right away.
Respond to brand mentions. Don’t focus just on sharing content. Connect with anyone who mentions your startup online too. Use tools for brand monitoring to check and respond to brand mentions to build engagement with the audience.
Test and try new things. There isn’t a magic formula for the social media success. You should constantly try new things to find out what engages your specific audience and increases your publicity. This could include:
- trying new headlines for your social media updates,
- experimenting with different posting schedules,
- testing different message formats,
- experimenting with visuals, emojis, and other formats
Public Relations (PR)
I know that many founders have a problem with PR. And I understand their reasoning. The strategy can feel a bit dated, particularly in the times of the internet, blogging, and social media
But there are many opportunities for a startup to use PR to gain publicity too.
Product reviews are a great example. With so many customers making a buying decision based on reviews, it’s crucial for startups to showcase positive feedback from users.
With equally many users following advice from influencers, it has become more important than ever to engage the movers and shakers of your industry in your promotion.
And with media still having the power to send good referral traffic back to the site, it’s a channel not to ignore.
So at the most minimum, consider the following PR strategies:
- Find industry bloggers who would be interested in reviewing your product.
- Seek podcast interview opportunities to introduce your brand to relevant audiences.
- Build relationships with influencers.
- Guest post on top industry sites. Groove has reached over 1 million people this way. Buffer attracted 100,000 users with this strategy.
- Create profiles on startup sites like Crunchbase or AngelList to ensure investors looking for the next big thing to back up will find you.
I’m sure you already know this. Content is the most powerful marketing strategy today.
And, it goes beyond just publishing stuff on a blog. Content forms a part of almost every other strategy I mentioned it in this article.
You promote it with paid marketing, use it to rank pages in Google, and of course, there’s no PR without content.
But there are other reasons to engage in content marketing for publicity:
Content allows you to create your story. And this, in turn, will help your startup stand out on the market and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Check out the possibilities offered by Prowly, a content and PR platform, and make sure you also give their Brand Journals a go.
Blogging will help you attract people at various stages of the buying cycle. Again, a hugely important thing if you consider that, on average, users will need a couple of interactions with your startup to sign up.
Publishing power content. Long-form guides and resources will allow you to propel your visibility.
And by creating lead magnets, you will be able to convert many visitors into leads to further nurture them into users.
As a startup, you need publicity and visibility to attract users and grow the business.
But you also need it to position your startup on the radars of potential investors and help secure their backing.