Startup publicity is hard, really hard. It takes a healthy mix of strategies and ideas to get your new business out there to the right audience. It’s not an exact science. Strategies that work for Uber may not necessarily help Slack. You can only measure and improve on what works.
In a reddit post, Brian Roberts revealed how he got featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Inc. & more.
I’ve been featured everywhere from Forbes and Business Insider to Huffington Post, Inc Magazine and many others. The most common question is “how do I get press coverage?” so I figured I’d share some insights behind the process. Enjoy my friends!
Law 1: Know Thy Business
Before you can start building a world class PR presence and reap the the wonderful secondary and tertiary benefits that come along with it (increased credibility, repute, website traffic, sales, awareness, etc.) you have to know your business well. Like very well. Using my former brand as an example, I’ve boiled it down to 6 key components.
Tip: The more niche and easily defined the better. If you’re having trouble fitting your responses into these brackets you probably aren’t ready to launch a publicity campaign.
Law 2: Know Thy Outlets
Next you’ll want to take the press section and expand on it further, listing relevant media outlets in order of influence. Pack these sections with as many outlets as you can, making sure they align with the other parts of your business map. For instance, if your market demographic matches the demographic outlined in a blog’s press kit and you’ve seen market competition featured on it, that’s excellent.
Expand upon market media using the following criteria.
Law 3: Know Thy Contacts
Next you’ll want to expand on the media section further, making a list of specific editors and writers at all your media outlets. Sort them in order of increasing influence. Stuck? Use a site like [ahrefs.com](ahrefs.com) or [openlinkprofiler.org]
(openlinkprofiler.org) and populate the search field with the URL of a brand from your market competition list. This will allow you to see where they’ve been featured and help you fill in your spreadsheet further.
Oftentimes, editors and writers keep their email hidden. This is for good reason as publicists and well intended entrepreneurs pitch them half to death. Here’s how to find emails if they’re not publicly displayed.
Using LinkedIn and a service like Sell Hack (sellhack.com) or Sales Force’s Data Connect (connect.data.com) reverse search the contact name or company name. If you can’t find the contact on these sites, download the gmail plugin Rapportive and enter the following email combinations. Switch out “john doe” and “company.com” with your contact’s name and the company’s URL.
Rapportive should be able to tell you which of the emails is legitimate. If you don’t know what name to lookup, search for the appropriate title and company name on LinkedIn then.
Look for a “Press” or “Media” page via the company’s website.
Virtually every reputable company has one. If not, look for an “Investor Relations” page. If they have any of these, a direct contact email is probably displayed. Also, check elliot.org for company emails. Simply swap out the name of your intended contact with the email listed.
Typically whatever format you find is the format the entire company follows with email. Using these methods I’ve been able to find virtually every email imaginable – from extremely high profile tech executives to lowly local newspaper writers.
But finding the email is just half the better.
Here’s how to get them to respond to you.. and cover you.
Law 4: Know Thy Newsworthiness
Before you hit the send button to any of the contacts you’ve gathered you have to remember something. It’s not about you or your business. It’s about how you and your product/service will impact their bottom line and readership. Before hitting quiz yourself on the contents of your email:
1. Is it new and fresh content that is relevant to the readership?
2. Is there a concise explanation why your idea is new and fresh?
3. Do you have a link to several high-resolution pictures?
4. Do you have all the above packaged into a compact email?
5. Have you written it out well enough so all they have to do is hit publish?
Here’s a 96 word email that was sent to a specific contact of mine (gathered through the above methods) who met all the above conditions. Identifying information has been removed.
Hey, it’s [first name] with [brand name], I wanted to pass this idea along to you. Noticed that a lot of sites have been covering grills lately (priced on the higher end) but never any economically sound options. I think Hypebeast readers would appreciate knowing about other options available.
We recently released these grills and I think you’d find them interesting to share. We could definitely drive some eyeballs and shares to. We already have a press release and some high-resolution images. Here’s the link: [link] Thoughts on everything? Thanks!
Once you click that link, it takes you to a press release page. Mine was customized along the lines of “www.mywebsite.com/mediaoutletname”. This is just one simple step you can take to make them see you aren’t sending them a boilerplate press release… even if you are ;)
Here’s what mine read:
[Brand location] – What do ancient Mayans rulers and ASAP Rocky have in common? They’re all fans of jewelry; specifically, jewelry that goes over their teeth. Although the methods of applying them have changed considerably over the years (wealthy Mayans would literally drill jade into their teeth) these removable jewels worn over the teeth, or “grills” as they are commonly referred to as, have always been a hip-hop novelty.
Whether made using simple gold plating or elaborate rows of expensive diamonds, grills have had many periods of popularity over the years – starting in the late 1980’s and reaching a peak in the early 2000’s. That is, until now.
Superstars such as Rihanna, Kanye West, ASAP Rocky and more have been seen sporting these grills everywhere, but unlike the celebrities, most people can’t afford the $1,000-$100,000+ price tag that comes along with them.
[Location]-based brand [brand name] was one of the first brands to meet the demand, offering grills in both 14k gold plated and silver toned varieties all at a reasonably priced $[xx.xx] per set. And don’t worry, no drilling required. Get them while they last: [link to website]
In retrospect, I would’ve made this press release and email shorter and more concise. Nevertheless, it worked – and that’s all that matters. Here’s why it did in my specific case:
1. It’s interesting. The readers of this blog are into street-inspired fashion and grills are a novelty in the niche. You can’t be the same old story.
2. Included noteworthy examples. This blog is, based on their post history (and this particular article author’s post history), big fans of Kanye and ASAP. Hence why I included them as examples.
3. Explained why my offering was unique. Grills aren’t cheap. They can run anywhere from several hundred to several thousand bucks. Mine started at $39 bucks and are entirely custom as well.
4. It was all written out for them. Putting myself in the publisher’s chair, I wanted to make life easy for them. If they wanted to, all they would’ve had to do was hit publish! Life is hard. Make it easy.
5. Included several high quality images (not shown). There’s a very important reason why you want to always include several HQ images. Options alter the dynamic from “yes or no” to “which one?”
And this setup was not unique. It was replicated and scaled many times both before and after this particular feature. You’ll also notice how much of the sections of this press release can be taken right from the business blueprint I requested you do in Law #1 (i.e., market price points and market need, etc.).
Follow the reddit thread here.