Marketing your startup as the second coming of ‘Apple’ is tough. Not only are you facing high expectations, but also a long line of fellow dreamers ahead of you. So how does your product make it past the mile long queue?

“My startup is the greatest thing coming out of Asia since fried rice.”

OK, I’ve never heard ‘fried rice’ before, but that ‘my startup is greater than thou’ attitude I’ve come across plenty of times. And by all means, that’s a healthy attitude to have as a startup founder. But just because you exist, does not mean your startup is going to make it to the front page of Tech In Asia.

Let’s be honest here, there’s steps and thresholds that you must pass to be placed on any news publication. If startups were selected based on existence and nothing else, the front page would have more failed dreams than little girls wanting to be ballerinas.

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But I’m that good

Sure, your idea might be off the charts amazing. But unless you just built a real-life working Gundam, there’s going to be a very long line of people ahead of you. And chances are, they’ve been building onto their idea since they got in queue.

So how does your startup cut in line without a working Gundam? It’s complicated, but here are a couple of tips to get your startup the attention you think it deserves.

You need a story

Since you don’t want to be John Doe #12374 waiting in line for 5 minutes of fame, you’re going to need to stand out. This is a lot harder than it sounds and is also the hardest thing to understand.

Everyday new startups pop up around the world. They have glitz and glamour in their eyes and the first thing they achieve often seems like the premiere of a James Cameron movie. Keep yourself focused and don’t let your achievements get to your head. Just because your smartphone startup got seed funding does not mean that people should instantly recognize you to start contending with Apple for the throne.

Instead what you should be focusing on is the impact you’ve made. While potential can sometimes get you covered, your accomplishments are more likely to vaunt you over the top. So maybe you’ve made a dent in the market, a technology that’s never been imagined, or you’ve got a sizeable number of customers; either way, achievements are more likely to get headlines than puffs of smoke.

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Build collateral

If I Google your startup and your website and social media pages look dismal, I’m not so sure about your startup. Now granted, many startups are at points where they haven’t had time to build a web presence. Up to a certain point that’s perfectly acceptable; for getting media attention, it’s not doing you any favours.

I’ve explained to startups time and time again about the importance of social media and websites. It’s material on these pages that catch media attention. If your office shenanigans are out of this world, post pictures or recounts on your blog! You might just get featured on ‘Top 10 Fun Startups to Work At’, and then build your way to better features from there.

While many of us would like to creep up unannounced and shock the world FFVII-Remake style, building up hype and then getting recognized is a much easier road to travel, in my opinion.

At the same time, this isn’t about just checking off a checkbox, you need quality. Websites and social media posts with grammar errors, unintentionally crappy images, and lack of creativity are going to get you nowhere. Take a minute to go over your material for quality or hire staff/agencies that can do this for you.

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OK so I need…

To put it simply, a startup’s existence, web presence and news serves as the barometer for media coverage. So dear founders, please, please, please stop bugging out if your startup is not recognized as absolutely brilliant from the get-go.

Your startup may just be the second coming of fried rice; you just have to entice the rest of us to try it first. 


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