We all want journalists to cover our startup. How do you do it without bugging those journalists? The right way to do this involves making creative noise. Yes, you do have to make noise, because otherwise nobody will notice you. Particularly if you have a product launch, an event, or something time sensitive that you need people to know about.
The thing is, not everybody wants to know about it. That’s the truth. You can’t broadcast. You can’t rely on a thousand points of data scatter. Getting specific is good. The key is to discover the right journalists who will be interested in your startup, usually by using Twitter. Journalists are on Twitter a lot, writing about what they’re writing about. It’s an easy way to get to know them. You can look in their Twitter profile and get a snapshot of who they are. So far, so good?
The next step is retweet and mention the stories your favorite journalists have written that you like. Say something intelligent in 140 to show that you’ve actually read what they wrote. When you have gotten to know them a little bit, write a short email, without any attachments, describing your best story pitch in a couple of sentences. If you have a press release, cut and paste the text at the bottom of the note or do a link to it, but even that’s optional. If you don’t know they’re email, you can DM them on Twitter if they’re following you, but most journalists list their email as part of their byline, so there’s your point of contact right there.
If they don’t get back to you, don’t worry. Send one or two followups, and try to be interesting. Journalists and bloggers are busy and often they won’t respond unless they want to write something. Writing to them with something like ‘did you get my first email?’ is not an example of being interesting. Also, be certain your story fits their beat. If they are covering startups and entrepreneurs, you’re good. If not, don’t pursue. Simple? Yes.
You know you’ve stepped over the line when a journalist posts a note like this on Twitter.
me to PR people who don’t know what they’re doing and just won’t quit. http://t.co/xnV9fB9wcA (p.s. no i’m not talking ’bout you!)
— Lora Kolodny (@lorakolodny) June 19, 2014