The following post is a summary of How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup: A Complete Guide, a guestpost I wrote for Dharmesh Shah on Onstartups.
Getting stories written up for your startup isn’t easy. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most important things, especially during your early days I found.
The below tips have helped us to get Buffer written up, well over 40 times on Mashable, TechCrunch, GigaOm and co. in the last 9 months. I hope they will be of use for you also:
1.) Build an active blog for your startup
One thing I’ve found is, if you start publishing regularly on your own startup blog, two things will happen:
- You will understand a writer’s point of view. You’ll know how to pitch stories, not feature releases and you will be able to get to know reporters on a much more personal level.
- You can provide your own media coverage on your blog. As the community around your startup grows, posting an exciting story about your latest features, milestones and so on, can spread incredibly fast from your own blog. Here is an example of how we do this at Buffer: The brand new Buffer Browser extensions.
2.) Get to know tech writers on Twitter and Facebook
“Mashable doesn’t cover you; a writer does!”
This is one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt in over 40 stories that Mashable, TechCrunch and co. have written about Buffer. Get to know writers and get to know them properly.
Become genuinely interested and understand what they like.
3.) Avoid the Alexia’s and Sarah Lacy’s
These people are seriously busy. Instead, look out for the newcomers amongst tech reporters (those that don’t get 1,000 emails every day).
4.) Craft an amazing email pitch
Only now would I suggest you get onto the email pitch, do steps 1-3 before that. It will increase your chances of getting features by many multiples.
In the complete guide to getting press for your startup, I have dissected all components of how I write emails to reporters.
5.) Your story is on a super awesome tech blog – what now?
It’s easy to stop when your post finally gets published, when really this is the time when you can make yourself stand out from all the other startups getting press.
Here are 7 steps to follow:
- Monitor the comments on the post, be lightning fast in responding to feedback and support if readers ask for it.
- Write a comment yourself. Be grateful, thank the writer for the story, and highlight something you liked.
- Share the story, again, by emphasizing the writer. Mention their Twitter handle when you Tweet. Mention their G+ name when you post.
- Monitor the Facebook posting from the blog on your story. Do the same thing as with the comments, reply to them, jump in and offer your support.
- Monitor the Twitter stream, thank people for retweets of the story, pick up responses and conversations. Again, jump in, be grateful for feedback and offer support.
- Send a follow up email to the writer, thanking them for the story and truly appreciating their work.
6.) 4 Different stories you can pitch to writers tomorrow
One thing I have learnt, is that it is easy to wait for when the story you have is “big enough”. The thing is, in many cases, it already is.
To help you get more ideas for what you can get coverage about, here are 4 different types of stories a press writer my want to write about:
- Big disaster happened, your product can help – pitch: CoTweet Gone: Here Are 7 Great Alternatives
- Hit big milestone – pitch: Buffer Has Scheduled 10M Social Updates
- Brand new features which are awesome – pitch: Send-it-later service Buffer expands Chrome extension to support Facebook, Google Reader and more
- Amazing data found amongst your users: Buffer Finds Tweet Scheduling Can Increase Clicks by 200%
7.) Make Getting Press a Habit, Not a one-off event
All the above things, have hopefully set you up to get not one, but lots of stories written up about your startup.
Try to get into a cycle, where you release one new story every 2-4 weeks, showing progress in some form as shown in 6.
Ok, I hope you’re all set. Go get those stories written up now, I’m confident you will be well equipped. To read a much more detailed version of this, head to Dharmesh’s blog and learn more about getting press coverage.
Got some more questions? Leave a comment below.