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5 Reasons Journalists aren’t Giving Your Startup the Time of Day

Depressed businessman sitting under question marks

Gaining media traction as a startup can be difficult. You approach a reporter at a trade show, but he gives you a blank stare and mutters, “Who are you again?” You write email after email, but they seemed to have fallen into an abyss of no return. This anonymity can be especially frightening against the fact that 90%of startups don’t make it. How can people buy your product or service if they don’t know you exist?!

If journalists are ignoring you now, here are 5 reasons why this might be happening.


1. Your Pitch Needs Work

Not getting any responses? It’s time to tweak your pitch. It may not have enough information, or too much. Or it may not be punchy enough. Even trying a new subject line could help stoke media interest. An email with the subject “Interview Offer: ‘Ending Cyber Attacks’” is much more intriguing than “Unknown Company X Requests Meeting.”

2. You're Not Reaching the Right Person

Press rooms change frequently nowadays, so having an updated media list is important. Also, editors have writers that cover many beats. Reading articles written by the people you want to target or following them on social media can give insight to what kind of stories a journalist prefers. Don’t send a product pitch for your amazing software to an investigative reporter who covers the white house! 

3. You Haven't Proven Yourself Yet

Even though Uber is one of the most successful startups ever, with a possible 2019 IPO valued at $120 billion, they had a slow start on the media front, with journalists wondering if it crashed and burned in their first year. Media can get anxious about a new company, because who wants to write about a “promising company” and it shuts down in a few months, thereby tainting the reporter’s credibility. They want to write about companies that will last. However, only time and consistent growth on your part can prove to them that you’re worth the risk. It’s alright if coverage is not instantaneous, if you believe in your company’s growth, the headlines will happen soon enough!

4. You're Just Talking About Yourself

People get tired of listening to someone talking about themselves all the time, even if the speaker is a star. Focus on telling journalists about how your company helps the larger world. By showing how your business makes an impact in the community or industry is far more interesting to a journalist than waxing on about what your business is. One solid example is the Apple iPhone story. Before the iPhone, most of the world had just used our mobile phones to make calls. After the iPhone, we’re using our phones for everything else, from getting directions, to online banking, to photography and social media and more. The iPhone has changed major industries, and all our lives.

5. You Encountered Bad Timing

Sometimes it just comes down to bad timing. Maybe a busy conference is occupying all of the media outlet’s manpower, or they just published a story that is too similar. Luck is a part of the game and sometimes it’s a swing and a miss. But luck happens to the prepared! Planning ahead can help you avoid those “OOO” replies and you can time your pitches and launches to better align with the media’s timelines and schedules.


Don’t be discouraged if a journalist doesn’t immediately recognize you or your company! Think of this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and rework your approach. If you’re ready to explore more ways to optimize your media outreach, we can help. Click the button below to speak with a PR professional from SKC. To pick up more PR and marketing tips, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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