In her monthly column for ‘Entrepreneur,’ Brit Morin answers reader questions about how to get press coverage, and how to get comfortable being in the spotlight as an entrepreneur.
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Brit Morin was 25 when she left Google to start Brit + Co, a lifestyle and education company aimed at helping women cultivate creative confidence. Now — 10 years, $50 million in funding and 1.2 billion pageviews later — Brit’s passion is empowering more women to take the entrepreneurial leap. She’s a managing partner at VC fund Offline Ventures, host of iHeartRadio podcast Teach Me Something New, creator of Selfmade, a 10-week start-your-own-business course for women founders, and most recently — Entrepreneur advice columnist. Find her here on the first Thursday of each month answering the most personal and pressing questions of women entrepreneurs.
Have a question for Brit? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could answer it in an upcoming column!
Q. I know I need press…how do I attract it?
Having your business featured in the press goes a long way. The right kind of media coverage helps strengthen your brand’s reputation, credibility and exposure.
When you’re thinking about finding press opportunities, I believe it’s really important to first take a step back and remember that the heart of publicity is storytelling, relationship building and patience.
It’s easy to get caught up with the end goal of wanting and needing headlines, but getting there takes a lot of legwork in advance!
Start off your process by coming up with great story angles. On a broader level, what trends do you notice in your industry, and how does your business fit in? What’s an interesting narrative that your business has been a part of? I’d challenge you to think bigger than just your business’s features and offerings, and focus instead on anecdotes that will grab the attention of both journalists and their readers.
Once you have your angles figured out, it’s time to do your research. Seek out publications and writers that are already reporting on stories similar to the ones you’re trying to get placed. Track these journalists, editors, outlets and their contact information. Now, get to know them! Start complimenting them on Twitter or IG. Build a DM relationship. Offer them ideas for their next story (that aren’t about you). Try to be legitimately useful to them, and do it with integrity.
After you’ve built this relevant relationship, it’s time to consider your pitch. What kinds of articles does this journalist like to write about? Is it more about a big picture approach, something changing in culture or a before and after case study? Have they covered anything similar to what you do recently, and if so, how can you make your pitch slightly different? Tailor your outreach for each individual. As you’re pitching, having a human approach, unique angle and a lot of persistence will ultimately pay off.
Related: Dear Brit: ‘What’s an Elevator Pitch, and Why Do I Need One?’
Q. What tips do you have for those of us who don’t like being in the spotlight?
For better or worse, it feels like we all have a spotlight on us now, doesn’t it? Thanks, social media!
As an entrepreneur, exposure is definitely important, but know that you don’t have to expose every part of your life. I’m a person that has chosen to expose more than what is normal of my life because my name and persona are quite literally part of Brit + Co — and I want other women out there to understand that I’m just like them in many ways.
But for other types of founders, you can still be relatable and human without having to put your life on the world’s stage. Here are my best tips:
Pick one social network, not all of them. Invest in posting content here that is useful to your audience and in line with your company’s brand mission at least two to three times per week. One of my favorite examples of someone who does this well is Adam Grant, professor and expert in the field of organizational psychology who smartly repurposes tweets as IG posts. Pro tip: Almost every social platform lets you pre-schedule posts. Get a month ahead if you want.
Consider authoring the “about us” page on your website, or even some of your customer emails. Let your users know who you are so that they inherently trust you and the brand more.
Get good at public speaking. As a founder, you will be required to speak, pitch and promote way more than you’d like. I personally knew people like Eric Schmidt (longtime Google CEO) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) before they had public speaking coaches, and trust me when I say that it’s possible to go from awful to amazing with a bit of practice.
Have a great number two. If you aren’t the type to be in the spotlight, cast one of your executives who enjoys it. But do your best to make sure that this representative is also a steward of the brand and the customers. For example, I don’t think the millennial women who follow Brit + Co would love to see an older man speak on behalf of our brand.
Most of all, try to have fun with it! This is Socialization 101 at the end of the day. Be kind, smile, use energy and people will generally like you. Good luck out there!