How to Get Press Coverage
Press coverage is one of the most important factors for success for your campaign. It’s also one of the trickiest things to ask for and receive.
Getting coverage from publications and from blogs is the most effective way to receive funding from outside of your network. Here are a few tips and guidelines for reaching out.
1. Reach out before your campaign launches
There is no reason to wait until you make your campaign live before you reach out to press.
Your campaign is going to do a lot better if it gets strong coverage on the very first day of its launch. When potential funders see your campaign as it just gets going, they think that they’re one of the first people to get into something special; if they see that you haven’t done so well when you’re nearly through your campaign, they may feel more reluctant to back something that hasn’t yet generated momentum.
So do the bulk of your reachout before your launch date, and build it into part of the preparation of your campaign. Pitch the bloggers and reporters, and ask them to publish on the day of your launch.
2. Build a big list of contacts, and know who you pitch
It’s almost certainly the case that most of the people you reach out to will ignore you. Bloggers, and to a greater extent reporters, get pitched all the time on ideas that they can’t write about or don’t have interest for.
That’s a good reason to build a big list of people you may reach out to. You just can’t be sure that a reporter or blogger is as enthusiastic about your idea as you think.
Careful, though. Building a big list doesn’t mean that you should include the name of everyone who’s ever written anything. You need a compelling reason for people to cover you, otherwise all you’ll get is wasted effort while adding annoyance to someone’s day.
What qualifies as a compelling reason?
- The writer has written previously on other crowdfunding campaigns.
- Your product is in exactly the industry that the writer covers.
- Your product builds on the writer’s previous coverage.
In your pitch make clear that you have a solid basis for reaching out.
3. Write a compelling pitch
Your pitch should be concise and to-the-point. Tell the reporter or blogger how your product fits in with his beat, say a few cool things about your product, and ask him to cover you when your campaign launches.
Try not to waste any sentences. If you can link to your video, include it in the pitch because it’s a better introduction to your product. There may also be a chance that the video gets embedded in the article.
Not sure how exactly to finesse everything? Take this template as a starting guide:
How to Pitch Reporters: A Template
Click here to access a template that you can fill in and modify to pitch reporters and bloggers on your crowdfunding campaign.
Bonus tip: Offer an exclusive
If you think that you’ve found the perfect reporter to cover your story, and that the reporter is at a publication that may be hard to place into (for example, Wired or The Wall Street Journal), then offer an exclusive.
Offering an exclusive means that the reporter has the first-dibs to cover a story, and in effect “break the news” of your campaign. Every reporter likes to be the first to cover something, and you’d be offering them that right.
Of course, you have to make sure that they actually get what you offer. If you offer exclusives to more than one party and more than one take the offer, then you’d sour relationships for the future.
Keep in mind that although offering an exclusive could improve your chances of being covered, it also limits your ability to cast a wider net. Make sure that you have reach-out notes ready to go after you’ve locked up an exclusive feature.
If you’d like to ask an exclusive, consider adding in this line to your pitch:
We’d like to offer you an exclusive on this story. Our campaign goes live on [launch date] and we’re notifying no other publication except yours.
Add that enticement to increase the chance of getting covered.
Tools for Getting PR
In order to pitch the right journalists, you first need to find them. Here are some tools to help you discover media that cover your industry and connect with them.
Followerwonk is a tool from the folks at Moz that lets you search people's Twitter bio's (among other things).
For example, if you wanted to get covered by TechCrunch, you could search for "techcrunch" and then browse all twitter accounts that contain that keyword in the bio section, sorted by number of followers. Once you have a list, you then want to find which reporters have written about your industry or your competitors in the past, as they will be most likely to cover your story.
Muck Rack is an easy way to connect with journalists. You can find the right person to pitch by searching keywords, company names, competitors, beats, outlets, media types and more. It also allows you to receive email notifications when journalists tweet or link to articles matching your search terms.
Cision is a media database that provides information on reporters including: location, email, phone numbers, social media profiles and areas of focus. You can easily generate lists based on verticals or reporter beats, helping you to find the most appropriate targets.
ProfNet connects journalists to sources and vice versa. When a journalist is writing a story and needs an expert source, they submit their inquiry to ProfNet and it then gets distributed to a list of subscribers. It’s a great way to stay informed on current stories that reporters are writing and to be introduced to new targets.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
HARO is a service reporters can use to request information for a story. It's similar to ProfNet but since the basic subscription service is free, many reporters get inundated with pitches based on their inquiries. Again, it’s a great way to stay current on any stories that reporters are writing but due to the volume of responses they receive, it is crucial that the pitch provides exactly what they requested.