Start-ups may be experts in selling their services or products locally, but when it comes to launching products or services in new markets, there may be several barriers and unknowns. With this, entrepreneurs may want to enter new markets through digital media relations first.
Launching products and services through digital platforms eliminates large expenses, exhaustion of human resources, and minimises risks.
Advancing your reputation globally via digital channels can provide you with an exponentially wider reach (as there is a greater propensity for media to be shared with a greater audience), provide cross-country branding opportunities:
Speaking engagements and partnerships as well as investment opportunities.
Without the right connections to owners of media platforms (niche and mainstream) in these emerging markets, or the perfect concoction of digital marketing and PR efforts, target audiences in these new markets may never learn about products and services a company has to offer.
Worse, start-ups could be ignored in a brand new market and establish a bad rapport with editors due to horrible public relations efforts (i.e. pitches). Way to go, new kid on the block!
Various media platforms and bloggers that I’ve pitched to over the years including Olusheyi Lawoyin, founder of Ijinle Africa (an online portal based in the US), have provided me with a few robust tips for business owners.
Drawing on Lawoyin’s experience as a niche media owner with receiving several – both good and horrible – pitches from publicists and business owners, in addition to my experience as a publicist and web & content developer for media platforms such as Hearst Digital Media’s first West African media platform, Cosmopolitan Nigeria, has put me in a great position.
I’ve provided five powerful tips for entrepreneurs to advance their reputation globally, using digital media platforms as accelerators.
1. Do Your Research
Using an excel sheet, collect a list of niche and mainstream media platforms that target emerging markets you would potentially like to expand into.
After doing so be certain that contributors and/or editors on each platform would be interested in your story. To be certain, research former articles they’ve published.
When you’re ready to pitch, you should reference previously published articles on the platform to show yourself studied and well-verse in topics that matter to the platform.
2. Tailor Your Story (One size does not fit all)
Lawoyin emphasises (and I agree), “know your market.” Your strategy must be inclusive, but yet with a respect for the nuances that exist among cultures and contexts on the continent. Make a conscious effort to dispel the myth of ‘the single story’; what will work in Kenya might not work in Nigeria.
Let’s look at a continent like Africa. Many companies are entering into that “market”, right? Wrong. They are entering into markets- notice the “s” at the end of markets- meaning plural.
Africa has over 50 countries, with as many as 600 dialects in one country (for example Nigeria), pitches and stories need to be focused and adapted to each market. Not every story that works in Nigeria’s media platforms is going to be relevant to an Ethiopian based media platform.
3. Create Beautiful Visuals (Saved for Web & Devices) for Audience to Share
Media platforms are likely to scoop up your story when your visuals are mighty and strong. Lets face it, when you provide sharable content — the type of content that would increase a platform’s audience engagement — media platforms’ desire to share your content and story will be innate.
In other words, don’t just tell us how innovative your product or service is, show us with a montage of stunning photos, gifs, or appropriate videos. It’s a no-brainer.
4. Provide Heart Wrenching and Eye Popping Statistics
To grab the attention of various platforms (especially from the news angle), provide interesting tips, insights on industry trends, and riveting data, make it useful to the readers (its always about the readers). Content should equal quality not quantity.
With the right equation in mind, you’re bound to gain the attention of the right media platforms. Statistics that trigger an emotional reaction will always do the trick.
Example: Our company provides access to healthy food because X number of children are without food X number of days of the year.
5. Interact with Media Platforms via Social Media
There is nothing worse than requesting press from a platform or contributor that you do not follow or haven’t interacted with on social media.
Beyond receiving placement on media platforms, show your interest and care by communicating with target media platform via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram.
You may do so by liking, sharing, or commenting on content shared.This, however, does not provide you allowance to become a stalker. Make your interactions thoughtful, insightful, and strategic.
6. Attend events where Editors or Contributors Are
Strategically networking and planning business travels around press-riddled events doesn’t hurt. In fact, it could be quite brilliant.
Related: How Not to Commit Reputation Suicide
Create a calendar of events to attend where you know contributors, writers, or editors of media platforms will be. Mingle and make friends with them and watch the relationship flourish.