Once you have figured out what about your high-tech startup is unique and interesting, it is time to actually do the work that will get your company and its products out in front of the editors and reporters.
First off, who is your target market? Who are you reaching out to and what do you want them to do? If you are looking for financing, what media sites and publications do these kinds of investors and organizations refer to for information? If you are looking for customers, what websites and publications do they read? For example, if your startup has created a component that is of interest to the OEM companies that manufacture sub-assemblies that go inside of cellphones, pitching publications that target people who buy and use cellphones is a waste of time and money. You need to target the publications that are read by the engineers who design and develop cellphone technologies.
Where do your customers live? What do they access for information to make their lives and jobs easier? If you don't know how your customers make their buying decisions, you need to find out.
Are they relying on social media? Do they use LinkedIn groups to help analyze and assess technology decisions? Do they refer to the top, large circulation horizontal technology publications like UBM, ECN, Electronic Design, etc. or are they looking at the smaller, narrowly focused vertical books and websites that cover a narrow spectrum of technologies? They may look at both. For example, the big behemoth tech publications companies often offer both general technology books as well as an assortment of narrow vertical sites and publications.
Be careful of targeting the publications and websites that you as the innovator and startup read. Those often are the books that your competitors read — not your customers! Yes it is nice to read about yourself — but it doesn't help sales and it alerts your competitors to what you are doing.
The big business publications and newspapers are also valuable — the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, the San Jose Mercury — but make sure you have a good story for them. They love great startup stories and are open and interested. But remember that you are competing with everyone and the world. It will be hard to get their attention, so the more prepared you are the better. The good news is usually they are friendly and accessible. They survive by listening to pitches and discovering interesting stories. They are not as scary or as intimidating as some make them. They may read your first pitch and then ask you to come back later when your story is better and more complete.
By carefully targeting the media outlets that will do you the most good, you will be able to optimize your media relations campaign and avoid wasting time and money chasing down publications that don't carry weight with your customers and are of little use to you and your company.