Far too many founders fall into the trap of thinking their products are too good to not be noticed.

Here’s a fair warning for you: Your product will not be noticed.

This optimistic misconception is likely a large contributing factor to the 14% startup failure rate, due to poor marketing.

That myth isn’t alone. There are plenty of other misconceptions founders make and end up regretting.

Here are our favorites. Read. Avoid. Beware.

1. Once they hear about you, they’ll write about you.

Spoiler alert: It’s not true. The reason journalists and other influencers aren’t writing about your product isn’t necessarily because they haven’t heard of it – it’s because they just don’t care about it.

It’s up to you to give them a reason to care. Simply placing your product in front of their noses isn’t going to do the trick.

When pitching your product or startup to a journalist, you need to be the one to put in the majority of the legwork. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to write about you. Meaning, you should present them with a story and an angle already established.

Your angle should be adapted to both the writer and their audience. After all, if you’re pitching your new pet-sitting service to journalists who write only about social media networks, you probably shouldn’t expect a stellar response.

Even if you built it, they will still not come - Parody on "If you'll build it, they will come"

2. Your target audience is whoever wants to buy your product.

I’m sorry to say, but your target audience doesn’t consist of seven billion people. If you truly want to see success from your promotional efforts, you’re going to need to narrow your focus a little bit.

You want to go right where your audience already is, in order to be truly effective and see the best results.

So, do some research to find out where your target audience is online – that’s where you’ll want to focus your efforts.

A good place to start is Submit.co where you’ll find all the necessary information about pretty much every media outlet there is.

3. Blanketing the world is the best way to spread your message.

I get it – firing off a quick press release or a generic email to your entire press list might seem like an efficient way to get things done. But, let’s not confuse efficiency for effectiveness.

Now that you’ve found a few of your platforms, it’s time to identify authors that are already working in those spaces. You’ll have a much easier time getting a journalist to cover your company if it fits the types of content they cover.

Search for authors that have already mentioned a problem your startup solves, covered your competitors or similar apps and startups, and those who are well-known in your industry. It’s best if you start a folder or even a spreadsheet to save all of those relevant articles that catch your fancy – so that you can reference back to those bylines at a later date.

Think of this as your golden rule: Relevancy is crucial. Pitching relevant topics to journalists who are already interested in those subjects will yield much better results.

4. Crossing your fingers is a solid strategy.

If you think closing your eyes and clicking your heels together is a solid way to spread the word about your product or business, you need to think again.

There are a lot of elements involved in an effective PR strategy. But, sitting idly by and simply hoping for the best isn’t one of them.

This post is part of my free guide to PR for startups, I hope you found it useful, you can download it at prforstartups.co.

About Dunja Lazic

Founder @ PR for Startups