Marketing

How Do You Get Influencers and Media To Take Notice of Your Startup?

Capturing the attention of influencers and media for your startup: Strategies to stand out and be noticed

By:

Jill Kernaghan

An image of a woman sitting in an office

Imagine this: As a founder, you find yourself in the enviable position where you've got a cool, marketable product. You can feel it, deep in your belly, that this could be huge - but you need a little nudge to push it to the masses.

A little external help to release you and your idea from the shackles of obscurity. You've heard of the term "influencer", but you picture them as vapid celebrity hungry shill's looking for their next pay check.

This is unfair. Why?

Well, influencers are just as viable a marketing channel as any other. Provided they are of course utilised in the correct way, again, just as you would want to any other marketing channel.

In 2023 and beyond, gaining visibility and recognition in a crowded market is an indispensable quest. Where connections span the globe with a click, the attention of influencers and media can serve as the much-needed catalyst for your startup's journey to prominence.

In this article, let's quickly go over why you should consider influencers, as well as delve into the art of garnering the interest of influencers and media for your venture, and explore strategies that can help you rise above the noise and make a lasting impression.

Should You Even Bother With Influencers?

The short answer is, yes, you absolutely should consider promoting your product offering with the help of an influencer (or two). Here's why:

  1. Massive Reach and Engagement: Influencers hold the power to connect with massive audiences. According to a survey by Influencer Marketing Hub, 89% of marketers find influencer marketing effective in increasing brand awareness. This highlights the substantial reach influencers can provide to help businesses break through the digital noise1.
  2. Trust and Authenticity: One of the driving forces behind influencer marketing's success is the element of trust. A study by Edelman found that 63% of consumers trust influencer messages more than brand messages. This emphasizes the authenticity influencers bring to the table, as their followers perceive them as relatable and genuine sources of information2.
  3. Targeted Impact: Influencers have the ability to reach specific niches and demographics, allowing businesses to precisely target their desired audience. A report by Mediakix indicated that 71% of marketers believe influencer engagement is effective for reaching their target audience3.
  4. Return on Investment (ROI): Influencer marketing can yield impressive returns. Research from Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that businesses earn $5.20 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, showcasing the potential for a high ROI1.
  5. Social Media Dominance: Social media platforms are the playground of influencers, with Instagram leading the way. According to Oberlo, Instagram remains the top choice for influencer collaborations, with 89% of marketers choosing it as their preferred platform4.

Sound good? Want to get involved, create a strategy, and establish a working plan for working with influencers? Great - get ready for the power of recognition.

The Power of Recognition

Before we delve into the strategies, let's underline the importance of recognition. Startups, often borne out of passion and innovation, are likely to be relatively unknown to most because, well, you're new, have a limited network and a limited means of promoting your business. Essentially, new businesses require validation from external sources to establish credibility and widen their reach. Cue the power of the humble (or not so humble in some circumstances) influencer: they can wield substantial influence over public opinion, making them ideal channels to amplify your startup's narrative.

With that said, let's jump straight into a 10 point plan, detailing how to get the best from an influencer relationship!

1. Crafting Your Unique Story

At the heart of every successful startup lies a captivating story. The narrative of your journey, motivations, and the problem your venture addresses is what sets you apart. A well-crafted story resonates with influencers and media, making it more likely for them to share your tale with their audience. You've probably heard of the term, "Necessity is the mother of invention" - in simple terms, it basically means that when we really need something, that's when the coolest inventions pop up.

The heartbeat of your startup, the very reason it exists – the problem you, as the founder, are on a mission to crack – should weave seamlessly through the tapestry of your story. It's an influencers mission to share this with the world.

2. Research and Personalisation

Understand influencers and media outlets that align with your startup's domain. This is crucial. Conduct thorough research to identify those who share an affinity for your industry, and an affinity for similar product offerings. Personalise your outreach by showing genuine interest in their work and demonstrating how your startup complements their interests. Remember: working with good influencers is a two-way relationship, and it's important that you help them to help you!

Speaking of relationships...

3. Establishing Genuine Relationships

Building relationships with influencers and media is a long-term investment. Engage with them on social platforms, share their content, and contribute meaningful insights. Authentic interactions create a foundation of trust and make it more probable for them to notice and reciprocate your efforts. When working with influencers, ask them how you can help them achieve their goals and aspirations - with this level of empathy towards what they do, your relationship will be far smoother.

4. Providing Value through Content

To catch the attention of influencers and media, create valuable content that addresses industry challenges, provides insights, or offers solutions. This positions your startup as an authority and gives them a reason to take notice. Don't dismiss social media in general as a nice to have that only certain people have the time for. Build your network, and most importantly of all, connect with key influencers and thought leaders within your industry.

5. Leveraging Mutual Connections

Connections often open doors that might remain closed otherwise. Leverage your network, on a daily basis, to connect with influencers and media through introductions or collaborations. A shared acquaintance can lend credibility to your outreach, a shared acquaintance can lead to other introductions. Pro-tip: set aside time to demo your product to interested influential people in a webinar setting, craft compelling pitches to those that join...

6. Crafting Compelling Pitches

Important: your pitch is your startup's first impression. Craft concise, personalised pitches that highlight what makes your venture unique and how it aligns with the influencer's or media outlet's interests. Clearly communicate the value your startup brings to their audience.

7. Optional: Providing Exclusive Access

Offering influencers and media early access to your products, services, or events can pique their curiosity. Exclusivity adds value to their engagement with your startup and incentivises them to share their experiences. The better your relationship with them, the better the feedback loop will be if you subscribe to an iterative design process, which by the way, you absolutely should!

8. Showcasing Social Proof

Numbers speak volumes. Highlight positive customer testimonials, user growth, or collaborations with reputable partners. Influencers and media are more likely to take interest when they see evidence of your startup's impact. Follow the main principle of the school I used to attend; facta, non verba - actions speak louder than words.

9. Creating Shareable Visuals

Don't underestimate the power of a good graphic designer with a background in social media. Visual content reigns supreme. Develop shareable visuals that encapsulate your startup's essence. Infographics, videos, and striking imagery can make your story more engaging and memorable.

10. Persistence and Patience

Finally, while an influencer will certainly help your marketing efforts, it's unlikely you'll be an overnight success. Call it what you want, the hustle, the daily grind, the early bird catches the worm - gaining the attention of influencers and media requires persistence and patience. Not every outreach will yield immediate results, but consistent efforts will increase your chances of creating meaningful connections.

Conclusion

Securing the attention of influencers and media is a strategic endeavour that can significantly contribute to your startup's growth. Crafting an authentic narrative, fostering relationships, and providing value are key components of a successful outreach strategy. Remember, the journey from a startup's humble beginnings to becoming a noteworthy success often involves the recognition and support of those who wield influence in the digital landscape.

Sources:

  1. Influencer Marketing Hub, "Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2021," https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report-2021/
  2. Edelman, "2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust?" https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-01/2019_Edelman_Trust_Barometer_Special_Report_In_Brands_We_Trust.pdf
  3. Mediakix, "Influencer Marketing Survey 2019," https://mediakix.com/influencer-marketing/resources/influencer-marketing-survey/
  4. Oberlo, "Instagram Influencer Marketing: A Starter's Guide to Success," https://www.oberlo.com/blog/instagram-influencer-marketing

About The Author

An image of a woman sitting in an office
Jill Kernaghan
https://wearefounders.uk

A writer captivated by the world of marketing and startups, crafting insightful narratives that illuminate the path to entrepreneurial success.

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