Why you shouldn't wait for media to discover your business (and write about you)

Whether it’s a lack of confidence in our products or business ideas, a fear of ‘seeking the limelight’ or talking about ourselves, a lack of know-how, or just general busy-ness that relegates PR to the bottom of our to-do list, there is no end of reasons why founders put off sharing their stories with the media.  

But in our ultra competitive world, where information travels at the speed of light, breaking news stories about new brands, technologies and ventures at the forefront of their industry can be a powerful marketing tool for ambitious founders.

In fact, if your PR strategy is simply to wait for the media to find out - and then hopefully write positively and accurately - about your business, there are a number of potential consequences to be aware of.

Limited Brand Exposure: Being passive about media coverage means your business may remain relatively unknown to a broader audience. While some media outlets may eventually discover your business, relying on this alone won't provide consistent and widespread exposure. Proactive PR and media outreach can help ensure your brand reaches the right audiences and gets the attention it deserves.

Loss of Control over the Narrative: When you passively wait for the media to discover your business, you relinquish control over the narrative that surrounds your brand. Journalists may focus on aspects of your business that you consider less important or even negative. This can lead to a skewed or incomplete representation of your business, potentially damaging your reputation.

Inconsistent Messaging: When you rely solely on media to discover your business, your messaging may lack consistency. Different media outlets may interpret your story in their own way, which can lead to mixed or conflicting messages about your brand. Proactive PR allows you to ensure a consistent and coherent message is conveyed to the public.

Missed Opportunities: In a competitive business environment, opportunities to showcase your products, services, or achievements can be fleeting. If you rely solely on media serendipity, you may miss out on key opportunities to gain publicity. Timely stories, industry trends, and events may come and go, leaving your business in the shadows.

Competitive Disadvantage: In competitive industries, being first to market - the originator or trailblazer - gives you serious marketing juice. Your competitors are likely to be actively engaging with the media to promote their businesses so by waiting for the media to come to you, you risk them finding your competitors first - even if they were not first in your category. Proactive media outreach can help prevent falling behind your competitors in terms of visibility and market share, or even outperform your competition in the public eye.

Story telling is one of a founders biggest responsibilities. At the end of the day, incorporating a strategic and proactive approach to growing your awareness and market share through PR can lead to more positive media coverage and, ultimately, greater visibility and success for your business.

I’ll leave the final word to an entrepreneur who has built hundreds of businesses around one of the world's most iconic brands.

“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” - Richard Branson

Jennifer Liew is the cofounder and media lead at FoundrPR.