For tech startups, getting media coverage can be a golden ticket to expanding brand awareness.
This can work for other kinds of businesses, too.
But how do you get someone to write about you?
You have to reach out and contact them, but these people get dozens of emails daily from people just like you.
So it can be tricky to get their attention.
There's a lot of outreach and work involved, but coverage in the right publication could be instrumental in developing a sizable audience for your brand.
So it's worth the effort.
There are some best practices you can implement that increase the number of responses you'll get.
Journalists can be reached in some ways, but not others. They're busy, they get tons of pitches they're not interested in, and you've got to really stand out from the crowd.
Here's some great advice about how to start contacting journalists who might be interested in writing about your startup.
DO: CONTACT JOURNALISTS THROUGH EMAIL
If there was one universal agreement among the journalists I spoke to, it was our preferred contact method:
Though this communication method may seem antiquated in the social media age, it’s a medium that works best since a single message (if you craft it correctly) contains everything we need to know–and it’s one we can read and reply to at our leisure.
In fact, not one journalist I spoke with had a desire to be contacted via social media.
“Twitter and LinkedIn are not good ways to get in touch,” says Fast Company senior editor Kathleen Davis.
“I don’t check LinkedIn frequently, so it’s not the best way to get hold of me, and if you don’t include a message with your connection request, I likely won’t accept it because I don’t know who you are.”
DO: BE CONCISE
Another universal agreement among those I spoke to was to get to the point quickly.
“Be incredibly concise,” says Fast Company senior editor Harry McCracken.
“Focus on the news or story you have, and describe it super briefly, remembering that I get a gazillion pitches a day and don’t have time to skim a lengthy pitch, let alone read it in its entirety.
If I’m intrigued, I’ll ask for more.”
Fast Company staff editor Jeff Beer agrees.
“Send an email, maybe ONE follow up. Get to the point very quickly: What it is, why FC readers might be interested, and why you’re pitching me specifically,” he says.
This should be obvious, but it bears mentioning: Write a unique pitch for each journalist/publication and make sure it’s clearly formatted.
“Don’t create a form letter pitch in some weird font that looks like a spam email newsletter. That’s almost an immediate delete.”
DO: EXPLAIN WHY YOUR STORY IS RELEVANT
A concise pitch is a must, but in that brief one- to two-paragraph explanation of why you are contacting us, one of the most critical things a journalist wants to know is, why, specifically, is your story relevant?
“Show me how it fits in a trend or what’s going on right now,” advises Davis.
“Show the scale and impact that it’s had. Ask yourself, Why now? Why would we cover it now? And why would people care? What’s in it for the reader? What value are you bringing?
Keep it short and readable, and give me a useful and clear subject line on the email.”
Anisa Purbasari, an editorial assistant at Fast Company, sums it up like this:
“Treat it like you would pitch a VC: What problem are you solving, why is your solution unique, what makes you the right person to solve it?”
Do that convincingly and you’ve gone a long way to getting us interested.
You can learn more about how to pitch to journalists successfully over at Fast Company.