Startups and the Seductive Powers of Blog/Media Coverage

startup media blogger coverageAs someone who blogs and used to be a newspaper reporter, I get the appeal of attracting media coverage. Nothing says you’ve made it than having a story that shines the spotlight on what you’re doing. Heck, everyone likes the attention and notoriety that can be shared with friends, family and colleagues.

What’s interesting, however, is the importance many startups place on blogger and media coverage. If only they could get TechCrunch, GigaOm, the New York Times, CNet, et al to provide even modest coverage, it would a cause for celebration, ignite a flurry of social media activity and attract a wave of new users or customers…or, at least, that’s the idea.

But here’s the thing: blogger/coverage is the cherry on top of the sundae. It’s tasty, flashy and a nice-to-have but, in the scheme of things, it’s not that important.

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Attracting blogger and media coverage is a bonus and often an anomaly that comes and goes. It makes you the belle of the ball for a day (or an hour) and it can generate a lot of attention, but it can disappear into the background pretty quickly too.

Sure, there is value in getting blog and media coverage. It can get a startup more users, make it more appealing to potential employees and investors, and provide some validation the product or service being offered has some value or interest.

But if I had a choice between blogger/media coverage and sales traction, I’d pick sales traction every day of the week, even if meant never having a blog post or article appear. Sales pay the bills and get investors interested in taking a deeper dive; blogger/media is a frill, a nice one albeit, but a frill nonetheless.

Don’t get me wrong, the stories written by hard-working bloggers and reporters are great when they happen but it shouldn’t be a huge priority and it should not consume a lot of a startup’s resources.

The reality about blog/media coverage is it’s a crapshoot and as much as art than science. You can create well-crafted pitches that include relevant and topical themes but it doesn’t guarantee a blogger or reporter will give you the time of day.

Coverage happens due to relationships (the key value PR agencies provide), it happens when a pitch hits a blogger’s inbox when they’re desperate for a story idea, it can be sparked by random conversation at a conference, or a quirky or different pitches that, for some reason, resonates.

The bottom line is enjoy the coverage when or if it happens but don’t spend too much time or energy worrying about it. Instead, focus on the task at hand: developing a great product or service that drives sales. What you might discover is sales and success will get the blogger/media as a nice and well-deserved dividend.

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  • Matthew Slutsky

    …but, don’t forget the lasting power of the hyper-link from the online-paper or blog! The story might be forgotten in a few hours, but the link will be remembered for a long time.

  • Mark Evans

    Matthew: Good point.