How to Leverage Smaller News Organizations for Brand Building

No one denies Elon Musk is a brilliant entrepreneur but when it comes to marketing and brand building, he’s made several mistakes that would destroy most budding startups.

Twitter has lost more than 72 percent of its value since Musk took it over, and renamed it X. Luckily you can’t destroy your brand like Twitter if you’re a startup. That’s because no one has heard of your company. But, there are missteps you can make that will hinder your brand building.

Over the years, I’ve watched a few CEOs, entrepreneurs and CMOs turn down media opportunities because they thought the news organization was too small. In some cases, they made those decisions based on the news website design.

It sounds rational on the surface. Make something scarce and it becomes more valuable. But that logic doesn’t apply to branding, especially for early stage startups. Unless you’re Jeff Bezos or Marc Lore, you shouldn’t give exclusives. Your job as a founder is to get as much media exposure for your startup, and as quickly as possible.

What a News Website Reveals

Lastly, don’t judge a news organization by its website. A few months ago we secured a radio interview with the #1 morning news talk radio show in South Florida. Their website is bad, but their audience is captive. Those drivers aren’t going anywhere.

In addition, MSN, Yahoo and other publishers frequently pick up stories from these smaller news outlets under their syndicated deals. I’ve watched local NPR content on clients go viral after the search engines syndicated the story on their home pages. This is exposure your startup needs.

If you want to hear more about building a startup brand (rather than destroying it like Musk), you can read my Entrepreneur article on how to better leverage smaller news organizations.


Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice. City & State Magazine named him a 2024 top Political PR Player in New York.