How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup: A Complete Guide

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How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup: A Complete Guide

 

The following is a guest post by Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, a smarter way to post on Social Media. [Note: I'm an angel investor in Buffer and love what they're doing]

The Complete Guide to Getting Press Coverage For Your Startup

Whoa, this guide was long, long, long overdue. Over the past few months, a lot of people reached out for help on how to best get press for their startup. I could help them with a quick email response, but it never felt quite appropriate.

So from now on, just a link to this guide will hopefully be useful.

Over the past 6-9 months, I am extremely thankful for the amazing stories lots of great writers from news and tech sites have written about Buffer.breaking news

To put it into perspective:

Mashable featured us 6 times, TechCrunch twice, over 10 articles in The Next Web, plenty of write-ups from ReadWriteWeb, GigaOm, LifeHacker, VentureBeat, Inc. Magazine and others. In total, there were over 40 stories by these notable sites written about us, each one based on the tips in this guide.

It is up to you to judge how good or bad the above outcome is and there are others who have done better of course. And one of the things I still fail on, is getting covered by mainstream media, such as CNN, Forbes,and FastCompany and co.

Yet, I wanted to share my experience with you on what we have achieved with Buffer and spill all the knowledge I have for getting covered. Literally everything, down to the tiniest detail.

First off, I don't want to fool you and need to emphasize the nature of our product, Buffer. It is a tool for Social Media, making you more efficient and productive. It is a consumer product, helpful to anyone using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

That's pretty helpful if you want to get featured by tech sites. So, please bear in mind, that any results below, are biased towards and tied to the nature of Buffer. It might not make any difference to your approach, but just in case.

Secondly, don't be overwhelmed with the info below. A lot of these things took me a long time to figure out. Trying to follow all these points right away, might leave you frustrated and with too much to do at once. I would suggest:

  • read one section,
  • do it,
  • get back to the guide at a later time to do the next step.

I believe, getting your startup covered, is one of the most important things you can do to get your product out there. It can help with and did so for us with a lot of things, such as new signups, getting investment, partnerships and biz dev deals.

Especially if you are a first time entrepreneur, who can't rely on a huge personal network, that helps you get the word out, press can be an amazing way of doing it.

All set? Let's get started:

1) Have your own startup blog, learn to tell stories

Yes, I can't stress this first point enough. Especially as it seems quite unclear at first. A lot of the success I have had with getting covered comes down to us having a very active blog.

I have written before about why your startup needs a blog. This point is different to anything mentioned there. That's great right? On top of all the good things that happen through having a blog, it also plays a major role when getting covered. Here is why:

If you learn to blog, you will learn to become a better writer. You will understand why one headline gets shared more than others. You will understand, why one piece of content attracts more readers than others. You will understand that no one wants to hear about your product, unless it provides a focused insight on which problem it will solve for your readers.

So once you run your own startup blog, 2 things will happen:

 

a) Once you submit stories to tech writers, you will be on the exact same level with them. You will understand their struggle. See, a writer doesn't care about your product. But they care about providing value for their readers. Once you understand that, the door to getting loads of write-ups is wide open. You will be a writer suggesting a great story, not the marketing guy trying to get his startup featured.

b) Being a blogger and knowing how to write, will give you an immense pull. You can provide your own coverage on your own blog. Let me give you an example. Recently we added Buffer for LinkedIn. The write-up on our own blog, got well over 500 shares, brought more sign-ups than the tech coverage we reached out for AND without any further emails triggered 4 more write-ups from notable blogs, just because it was getting shared so wildly.

So the first step to getting coverage for your startup is to build an active blog, that teaches you about writing and telling stories.

2) How to get to know writers via Twitter and Facebook

Mashable doesn't cover you a writer does!

Here is one of the biggest mistakes I made at the start. I thought if I had something news-worthy, I would pitch that Mashable site or that TechCrunch blog with a story. Not surprisingly, we never got any write-ups from it.

Then I realized something, it's not the news-outlets that write about you, it's individual writers that do. Sounds stupid and obvious right? Yet, it changed my approach completely.

So, in order for your startup to get covered, you need to know those writers and you need to know LOTS of them.

The first thing I did is follow them all on Twitter and subscribe to their Facebook updates. Here is a list of the about pages from Mashable, TechCrunch, and ReadWriteWeb (these are just examples, make a much bigger list, than just those 3). Go ahead and find the most suitable writers covering the industry your startup is in.

Now that you follow them and are subscribed, become interested in what they do. I don't mean to make this a big task, do it very casually and make it a habit. Browse your Twitter and Facebook stream and you will come across them.

The best part? Those writers are all great people. It's a lot of fun to read their stories and hang out on Twitter and Facebook with them.

Answer some questions if they ask, reply to Tweets and Facebook posts, retweet their stuff, comment on what they write about. Do it, because you are interested and they write about your industry. One more time:

Become genuinely interested and understand what they like.

Your pitch will be ten times better once you email them. You will be able to relate personally and they will have seen your face before. When they see your name in their inbox, they are much more likely to at least open that email.

So the second step is to start connecting with those writers on Social Networks.

3) Do your best to avoid the Alexias and Sarah Lacys

So, we have added this great functionality to our product. And there is that woman Alexia, who writes about startups. What a great match, let's get in touch!

Oh boy, was I naive, when I started out. Later I understood that it is not enough to just submit a news tip and realized I had to reach out to writers themselves.

Armed with lots of courage through this newly gained knowledge, I would email Alexia, Ben Parr, Sarah Lacy and MG Siegler, with my fantastic story for them.

And yet still, no response. Here is the thing:

These writers are the busiest of them all and most exposed to pitches all day long. They get literally hammered with hundreds of them every day. The chance that they will pick up your story is very slim. Do yourself a favor do not reach out to them.

Instead, be laser -focused on writers, that cover your industry. And look for people, that are young and new and don't get hundreds of emails every day.

This is very easy, just go to the front page and browse through the latest stories. You will easily and quickly find the right person, after you have seen 3-4 stories from them over the past few days.

So as the third step, avoid to reaching out to the most prestigious writers. Narrow your focus and find the rising stars. as much as you can.

3) Crafting that email pitch for reporters an example that got us on Mashable

With anything you do in life, expect to have a 25% success rate. ~ Auren Hoffman, CEO Rapleaf

We have come a long way by now. You know it is all about your story, not your product. You know you need to build personal relationships with writers and you know you need to reach out to younger writers, who actually write about stuff related to your product.

If you have come that far, you have probably already increased your success rate of getting featured by a large multiple. The road to getting covered is still a tough one.

So lets work on that pitch. That's what will likely actual part that will determine, whether a story about your startup goes live or not.

Here is an email that got us written up by Mashable:

———————————————————-

Hi Sam,

Really loved your post yesterday on how the fan managed to get a job with the team, this is priceless and amazing example of how passion can help us succeed!

We have some big news for you. With the new release of Twitter.com, we have just released a way to post retweets via Buffer right from Twitter.com at a better time. It works seamlessly via installing our browser extension. You will have now, next to "reply" "retweet" and "favorite" a new option to "Buffer".

I believe this will allow anyone to spend very little time, glancing over their Twitter stream and retweeting everything they find interesting - yet without ever flooding their followers with too many Tweets in a row. It should be a great way to Tweet interesting content at the best times, well spaced out over the day straight by using Twitter.com. A bonus tip here is to use this in connection with Twitter lists, where most people have a lot of great content aggregated, but a hard time sharing from there.

You are the only newssource I have approached with this, do you think this could be an interesting story for you and your readers?

Best,

Leo

——————————————————-

Let's go through it paragraph by paragraph:

Really loved your post yesterday on how the fan managed to get a job with the team, this is priceless and amazing example of how passion can help us succeed!

The opening is not at all about myself or anything related to our startup. I have been following this writer for a few weeks. I really love his posts and Tweets, I still follow him and enjoy reading his posts today. So I thought of opening with a note to one of the posts I enjoyed the most.

We have some big news for you. With the new release of Twitter.com, we have just released a way to post retweets via Buffer right from Twitter.com at a better time. It works seamlessly via installing our browser extension. You will have now, next to "reply" "retweet" and "favorite" a new option to "Buffer".

Now, the first paragraph is about your product. What has changed, how does it work. I found making this very descriptive can help a lot. There is no talk about how it will change the world (yet), just what it does. Concise and easy to understand.

I believe this will allow anyone to spend very little time, glancing over their Twitter stream and retweeting everything they find interesting - yet without ever flooding their followers with too many Tweets in a row. It should be a great way to Tweet interesting content at the best times, well spaced out over the day straight by using Twitter.com. A bonus tip here is to use this in connection with Twitter lists, where most people have a lot of great content aggregated, but a hard time sharing from there.

This part is only about the value for the reader. Why would anyone care? Which use cases are there? How can this be interesting for a reader? Think of this part as the one, where a writer can scan his brain for headlines and imagine a story about this written up.

You are the only newssource I have approached with this.

Do you think this could be an interesting story for you and your readers?

The last part is as important as everything else. Be sure to always give the story away as an exclusive. Then, ask one clear question, that the writer can respond to.

Triggering a thanks for thinking of us, but I will pass on this story. Can be as important as getting a yes. You will be able to either move on or work with that writer on the story.

A lot of my pitches get declined or no response still, it's completely normal. Make that your expectation. Never expect that writers don't like you or are annoyed by you. It's not true. They are just super busy. Move on, fire off the next pitch and learn.

One more thing on this. As you grow, your bargaining power grows too. You can add deadlines to when this will go live on your own blog/emailed out. If you start out, just try lots of different pitches. It is a great way to learn what works and what doesn't.

Oh and here is the end result of that pitch as a post: Buffer App Lets Users Schedule Shares Directly From Twitter

4) The art and timing of sending that pitch off and getting in touch with reporters

You have crafted your pitch, and are ready to hit that send button. Hold off for just a little bit.

You are facing tough competition. Not only from other startups, but also from plenty of PR firms, who want stories written up for their clients. The one great advantage you have, is that you can add that extra bit of personality.

Here is what I normally do:

Before I send that pitch off, I would send a Tweet to the writer saying: "could I drop you a quick line on an exclusive story?" I've found that Twitter is a much quicker medium and triggers answers much faster. So once, I get a reply, I can hit send and it will be much easier for the writer to recognize my name and at least look over the email.

You can do the same thing by sending a Tweet after you have emailed. Mentioning them with a simple "Just sent a quick email over on an exclusive story, I hope you will be able to take a look." It again gives you a differentiating element.

Your messages often get ruled out as a mass email, so you need to take that extra step and add personality to your approach. I have had great results doing this.

Play around with this. I have also tried sending no Tweet and it worked. It is really up to you judging based on the situation. If one thing doesn't work, try the next one.

In any case, be sure to make it personal, from writer to writer, not from startup to Mashable.

Timing of your email and Tweets

Timing is also a very important aspect for getting you covered. The best days for traffic for getting coverage of your story I have learnt are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday is way too fast to get you written up, the inboxes of reporters are full it's just not a great day.

If you launched something, what I would do is, get that email over to reporters in the morning, before 10am.

Make sure you check with time zones. Most reporters live in either SF or New York. 10am PST can be a very poor timing for an EST reporter. They will see it early afternoon, when they have most stories for the day already on their to do list.

At the same time, I learnt that, whilst Fridays aren't as good for traffic, the news is slower. So your chances of getting covered on that day can be higher. With a recent story about Buffer on Mashable, I took advantage of this. I followed up on a story I had pitched earlier in the week. Since it was extremely busy, I wouldn't get a response, yet a quick follow up email on Friday would receive an immediate response.

Play around with timing and the approach through Social Media, in either way, focus on getting your pitch out before noon.

5) A story about your startup is written and published now what?

Yes, yes, yes! You finally managed to get your story written up. A great tech blog picked it up, and wrote about your latest feature. Especially if it is your first time and you are only slightly similar to me, you are jumping around in your room, opening that bottle of champagne.

Yet, now is the time to show up, roll up your sleeves and make the most of your success. It is something that a lot of people forget, yet, the results of doing the following 7 steps can be immense:

 

  • 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.

One big point here, if you get hammered in the comments, don't try to defend yourself. Instead, be appreciative, say thanks and look into the problems. Make yourself vulnerable, it's amazing how this works to build a community of raving fans. I have seen this go bad a few times with other startups and it just ends in a pointless, opinionated argument.

So really, why are you doing all that? The answer is very simple: To get more press in the future. Remember, this is not a one-off event, you want to get featured many, many, many times.

If you go that extra mile, by really showing how grateful you are, appreciating the writer's work, chances are you will be remembered and make it have it a lot easier next time you want a story written up.

For our first Mashable story, we did exactly that. Check out the example here:

HOW TO: Space Out Your Tweets Without Being Online All Day

When I sent a follow up email that day, I received a reply mentioning how great it was that we were in the comments and how well the story sat with their readers, and that I should please keep them posted on any new features we release.

You bet I did!

6) Four completely different types of stories you can pitch

The goal when getting covered by the press, as I have briefly touched on above is to get covered again and again and again. In order to achieve that, you need to have a few different types of pitches up your sleeves.

Here is a list of 4 very distinct ideas you can use for pitches alongside some examples that got written up for each of them.

Big disaster happened your product is there to help pitch

This is something very powerful and also difficult to detect. It demands quite a bit of creativity from your end and again, the mindset of a writer. If you are not convinced to have a blog by now, head back to chapter 1 and check it out again.

Let me give you 2 examples of this:

When CoTweet, a popular Social Media tool shut down their free version recently, I thought that a lot of people must be annoyed by this. So, I realized, they will definitely be looking for a replacement.

I reached out to Mashable and suggested them a story to them on this, titled CoTweet Gone: Here Are 7 Great Alternatives. I didn't even have to ask whether they could include Buffer.

When Summify, popular news aggregation tool was scooped up by Twitter and announced it would close its services, News.me did the exact same thing. They reached out to news sites and said they are a great replacement for Summify. There were lots of posts written up about them.

Again, the key for me was to always think about how you can provide value for readers, not how you can get your startup covered. If you do that, you will have a great amount of new opportunities to get features about your startup written up.

Awesome data - pitch

News sites love, love, love data. Especially if it is in some way related to the biggest Social Networking sites. Why do they love data so much? Because it spreads like wildfire on Social Media and is a very interesting insight for readers.

Let me give you an example of how we got over 5 stories written up about one data set we collected:

We looked at 1 million Tweets that were sent through Buffer and realized, we are adding a lot of value for users. Basically, we could show, that if you start using Buffer, you will get 200% more clicks on Tweets, double the number of retweets and an increase in your Klout score by 3.5 points.

This was absolute gold and the news sites loved it. How could any site not want to write about a tool that increases clicks on your links by 200%? We could use that data on many occasions even in future write-ups, when the study was no longer the focal point.

Dig up some interesting stats from your users and find out, what might be an invaluable insight for readers. It will again open up lots of great opportunities for sites to write about.

Brand new features to make users awesome - pitch

This is the most well known pitch startups use these days. You have a new feature added to your product and think it's worthy of getting covered.

The point I want to focus on with new features pitches is to keep it to 1 feature only. I have made the mistake plenty of times in the past, that I would send a pitch saying: We have added this feature and this feature and also this and this and that.

If you remember the email pitch in chapter 3 you will find, that I have only focused on one single aspect. Just that one thing, nothing else. And in fact, it was a tiny thing. Yet, by working out exactly how it will be helpful for readers, I could give a very compelling pitch.

Try and do the same, only pitch one iteration or addition of your product. Not 10. It will make your pitch a lot clearer and easier to understand. Writers have a very short attention span, and if they need to figure out how they can add up all your different new iterations in a story, they will be a lot more likely to just move on to the next pitch that sits there in their inbox.

And it will also give you an opportunity to pitch lots of different stories, as you are adding different features.

Hit big milestone - pitch

The last type of pitch that has worked well for us is the Milestones pitch. This is a great one, not only for signups, but also for branding. People will see you are still around, you have grown, you are worthwhile to get a proper first or second look.

I learnt that this is also a great one for news sites, as they get a unique insight into your startups background, that no one else has access to, like for example a feature.

In our case, we had an early story once 1,000 000 Tweets were sent out using Buffer. The key here is to pick a big number. Oftentimes, signups won't be the one. It can be any number that shows great usage of your app and makes readers curious to check you out and writers curious to cover you.

With this type of pitch, it is particularly up to you to show why the mentioned figure is relevant. Klout for example, made a big deal out of the fact that they had 100 million users scored with their algorithm. It didn't mean that they had 100 million users, yet sure enough but it helped them to trigger a huge amount of press around their milestone.

7) How to make getting covered a habit, not an accident

Whoa, we have gone a long way. I tried to go into every detail I could think of to help you get your startup written up. And yet, I have one last point, that I think might be as important as every other one mentioned here.

You don't want your startup being featured once, twice or three times. You want it to show up in the news in a cycle. Every 2 to 3 weeks, you should pop up again. With a cool new feature, with some interesting data, a big new milestone, you name it.

If you make this your goal, everything you do, will be much more focused on the long run. And I learnt, I will be able to motivate myself a lot better for things that wouldn't make sense as a one-off.

The relationships are easier to build. Writing your blog is easier to do. Being grateful once you get one story is much easier to focus on.

Everything mentioned in this guide, should set you up for making it easy to get into this cycle of constant coverage and news mentions. Of course, the development of your startup needs to clearly follow that path.

Given that you have launched with a true MVP in Lean Startup fashion, and are iterating like a madman, you shouldn't run into any troubles to come up with a new story ever two to three weeks.

If you do, work with your team and push yourself to release more stuff, more frequently.

Work on different stories as mentioned in the previous chapter, and set yourself a schedule for reaching out for write-ups. If 2-3 weeks is too tight at the beginning, make it once a month, but have it as a consistent and recurring point on your to do list.

Are you ready to rumble? Get yourself out there and get that startup covered. By following the steps from this guide, I have no doubt you will manage to do so.

If you still have any questions, just let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email leo@bufferapp.com.

What do you think? How have your PR efforts gone? Had any big hits you'd like to brag about? If so, please share in the comments and teach us a few things.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Thu, Mar 22, 2012

COMMENTS

Leo, this is an awesome article. Thanks a lot for honestly sharing your experience in details for other startups. Big thumb-up for you. 
 
Just one small thing that some startups might forget when reading your article. PR is a two sided knife. When your product still sucks, you need to work with early adopters to work on that. Once you have got something descent (I did not say awesome), then it is time to promote it. I learned my mistakes on this simple, but crucial part.  
 
Many thanks again for this great post. 
 
Josh

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM by Josh Liu


Excellent post Leo!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:49 AM by Ben Lang


Josh, 
 
Thanks a lot for stopping by and really appreciate the kind words.  
 
You are absolutely right, differentiating between product launch and marketing launch (once you hit product market fit) is absolutely crucial to bear in mind!  
 
It can easily become a lot of wasted effort if the traffic you create, doesn't give any relevant returns!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM by Leo Widrich


Wow, Leo. This article couldn't be more timely for us. Greatly appreciate your insights here, and can't wait to get to work on some of our press initiatives.  
 
Also, just learned about Buffer. You can be sure I'll be signing up for this service soon. Sounds like a brilliant product. 
 
Kudos again and thanks so much for sharing!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM by Sean @ Bravo


Great article - very helpful Leo. 
 
Have you tried persuading Dharmesh to include a Buffer button here :)

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:37 AM by Giles Farrow


@Sean, 
 
So great to see you here and really glad the post was useful. Sure thing, give me a shout anytime, no matter if re Press or re Buffer, would love to help! :)  
 
@Giles 
 
Ha, you bet I have tried it, unfortunately it's not quite compatible with the HubSpot blogging module at this point. (yet! :)

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM by Leo Widrich


Thanks Leo. That was well worth reading, despite the length. 
 
I think the major takeaway here, is that nothing valuable comes without effort. If you want your startup to be covered by a major news outlet, you can choose one of the following approaches:  
 
1. Hustle 
2. Hustle more 
 
It's work, but the reward is well worth the effort.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM by Jeremy Yamaguchi


Very useful and motivational! 
I did my first live news show taping last night (FOX CT News) and today I'm doing a million things to maximize the exposure. Sometimes I feel like a craxxy person alone in my home office click click clicking, but your article told me my instincts are good. THANKS for that :) 
I'm running a start-up non-profit, by the way.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM by Annabelle Howard


Leo, this is a fantastically insightful and incredibly comprehensive guide to navigating the generally overwhelming mess of getting media coverage.  
 
As the community manager for a startup, I can say that this perfectly sums up my experiences of pitching writers.  
 
I'll definitely be taking your advice on how to make this an ongoing cycle, not just a one-off article here and there. (And will be putting some more thought behind our own blog content.) 
 
Just wanted to say thank you! 
-Sarah

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM by Sarah Combs


This is was one of the best posts I have read in a while covering online pr & blogging, thank you so much for sharing!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM by Tom from Green Knack


Thanks for the post, Leo! 
 
Seriously, you are one of the most helpful people on the internet! I always learn a lot from your writing. 
 
Clem

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM by Clem Auyeung


Leo, 
 
A BIG thanks for this one. It comes with the good advices, in the good time for us.  
 
I'll try to do it like you from now on: the smart way.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM by Séverin (ForgetBox)


Wow Leo. This looks like awesome advice. We're working on getting ready to start pimping our start-up and will no doubt use this as a guide. 
 
Cheers and Congrats to your success!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM by Mike Ackerman


Very thorough and thought-out guide. Thanks for sharing your insights. I'll definitely be adapting these ideas to our outreach. 
 
My one addition would be to also look for opportunities to offer advice on a topic you and your startup can be viewed as an expert in. Very much like what you did with this article. You wrote about your expertise as a 'PR' professional while also gaining more exposure to Buffer. Great job!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM by Colby Nelson


Thanks Leo!  
Great info. Looking forward to implementing asap.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM by Lori Berson


I'm glad I covered you in this video: http://youtu.be/Dgdr8FbL7oQ :-)  
 
Great tips. Some things from the journalist's point of view: 
 
1. We are looking for trends. So, if you fit into a trend, tell us. 
 
2. We are looking for interesting people. So, if you've done something interesting, tell us. 
 
3. We're looking for interesting stories. So, if your app is being used by American Idol, tell us (one startup pitched me that way recently and I loved it!) 
 
4. If you have technology that works on a new product, like the new iPad, tell us. That's far more interesting than something that runs on Windows XP. 
 
5. If you have the ability to tell us something about the marketplace, please tell us. That makes you more interesting. 
 
6. Passion goes a long way. I don't mind hearing pitches. That's why I put my email up at scobleizer@gmail.com and my phone number at +1-425-205-1921 (yes, that is my cell phone). Persistence helps, but there's a line. If you push too hard you might get blocked. 
 
I would also think very hard about how to tell the market a HOLISTIC story. That means doing more than just the "big blogs." Lots of startups think that it's only the big blogs that matter. I have lots of examples of why smaller blogs matter just as much (I watch 500 tech blogs here on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Scobleizer/tech-news-brands -- I look for startups that are getting praised by a number of different blogs).

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:09 PM by Robert Scoble


Great article and insight into the work involved!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:21 PM by Alison Minaglia, TechnologyPR.com


Excelent post Leo. 
 
O like this in special: "If you learn to blog, you will learn to become a better writer. You will understand why one headline gets shared more than others. You will understand, why one piece of content attracts more readers than others. You will understand that no one wants to hear about your product, unless it provides a focused insight on which problem it will solve for your readers." - Thanks, @neigrando

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM by Nei Grando


This article is pure gold! Lots of great tips.  
 
Love the advice on focusing on getting to know and pitch to the up-and-coming reporters first, rather than trying to reach out to the prestigious and more well-known ones.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:29 PM by Lee Miller


Great article Leo, very nicely written. And it helps me a great deal because my company recently launched a product and we are trying to get a lot of media coverage for it. I am definitely going to get the folks at work to implement your tips.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM by Kaustav Basu


Thank you so much for this informative post! I'll take your advice and let you know if it works for my startup! :)

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM by Anita Fong


Great piece of advice. Thanks for sharing these tips. I also believe that having a blog helps you in reaching out to greater number of people. Especially if you are indie developer.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:38 PM by Rahul


Ripoff artists telling stories of PR when their user base is stagnant for past 3 months. Wow.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:38 PM by None


This is a great, great post. Some simple, straight forward advice that can go a long way.  
 
One thing to add: stop using the phone. Dont call to pitch your story. That's why there is a Twitter. It's the best, and most underrated PR tool out there.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM by Dave Gerhardt


This was perfect timing for us. We are right now currently struggling to find our "voice", and where to focus it when we find it :) 
 
There is a lot of information to digest, and it does, as you say, need to be re-read a few times to understand each fine point. 
 
Thanks 
 
Jim 
 
Endpoint Network Security Redefined

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:44 PM by Jim McMurry


Thank you Dharmesh! Loved this article. I hit walls and you just pinpointed to me 'why'.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:44 PM by Tracie


"Have your own startup blog, learn to tell stories." 
 
Yes, I want to, where can I get help? Are there journalists who also teach/coach critique. How about a live webinar where I see stories told and critiques received? 
 

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 2:02 PM by Randy z


A fantastic article, complimeted vey nicely by Robert Scoble's remarks. This information is GOLD for a startup like ours. Thank you!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM by Ophir


Good post Leo. I do have one question for you. When you're talking about following influencers in your industry on FB and Twitter, did you follow them as yourself or follow them from a Buffer profile. From comparing both of those profiles I'd say the latter but ya never know. Thanks.  
 
- Natalie

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 2:08 PM by Natalie


Spectacular piece, for anyone in a tech-related field truthfully. 
 
I do in-house PR / Creative for an independent video game studio in Canada, and these are all the same steps that should be followed for the world of games blogging, to a tee. 
 
Honestly, great work - I'll be spreading the word about this must-read.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM by Eli Cymet


Truly inspiring!!! As you know, in startups we often have to wear lots of hats because we are too few filling the roles of too many people. And we (I) tend to forget this simple steps that makes our communication much easier. Thank you for your post Leo!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 3:02 PM by Andre


This is a great and generous post, thank you. But I have to tell you as a writer and editor, I find it hard to read pitches that are poorly written. I think it's amazing you've gotten the press you have with a writing style that is not as clear as it could be. I would encourage all startups or people pitching without a PR agency (which I think is fine--and sometimes even preferable) to get a colleague or a friend who's a good writer to read over and edit your writing! A little copyediting never hurt--even in the fast-paced online world. Buffer sounds great--I look forward to checking it out--and articles like these, where you offer great advice, are yet another terrific way to boost traffic. Thanks.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 3:27 PM by Jill Simpson


Wow, I thought this was going to be one of those generic guides that list off what everyone already knows but is wasn't. This is an amazing article written with passion and experience that has led to success, something that everyone should read. Congratz! 
 
My only addition is that you shouldn't rely only on the media to tell your story. Get out to events, go meet people and kill it - that's what people want to see also.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 3:37 PM by Trace Cohen


Wow, I've just created a new bookmark folder just for this guide. I'm in charge of PR for CUTEC - the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club, and have been mainly making it up as I go along, but wish someone had showed me this guide when I'd started. It's been a hard lesson to find that you can't just expect a write-up, or even a reply, if you e-mail journalists you don't know. The personal approach is the only way to get noticed. Thanks for the lessons - I will put them to good use!  
 
If anyone is in the UK, we are running the largest student-run conference in Europe so come down and see us - tvc2012.cutec.org 
 
Ivan Mazour

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 3:57 PM by Ivan Mazour


What I love about this is a)it presents some very useful information driving readers to read it; b)it is in itself a great piece of advertising for Buffer; and c)it's nice to see an Angel working for their equity. :-) Publicizing the product they invested in.  
 
Good job!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM by Richard


Great info going to post on my facebook

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:16 PM by kristina


couldnt be more timely. Really good insights and practical tips 
 
great job 
sue

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM by sue


3/22/12 
 
 
 
Dear Mr. Shah, 
 
 
 
Thank you for the informative post by Mr. Wodrich. 
 
 
 
Cordialyy, 
 
 
 
Virginia Tyree

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM by Virginia Tyree


This is a pretty detailed guide - and I like that you included some very specific point-by-point examples. I want to give you a big hug and THANK YOU for #5 - the 'what now' phase; publicity is only one part of an overall, comprehensive communications push - the 'what next' is just as important. See also, the goals of being part of the news cycle, a regular in blogger's networks. 
 
Only thing: the blog, advancing the news, etc. - sometimes it is kinda like putting the cart before the horse, not to mention, you could run the risk of scooping yourself. Of the small businesses and start-ups I've worked with, when they open their doors they often don't have the content, the customer stories, the info for a blog. That's why they need guides and guidance like this, so they can learn how to develop and tell their story. FWIW.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM by Davina K. Brewer


Its nicely laid out in a short and easy steps!  
 
Your approach applies equally well to any business, not just start-ups, including local business marketing. Its just a matter of who one chooses to start reading and following at city or state media organizations. 
 
How well do customer case studies or success stories work using your techniques? 
 
Thanks! Mary 
 

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM by Mary Brophy - EffectivMarketingStrategies.com


Great article and spot on! As a marketing and PR consultant, I always stress to my clients that they always need to think of the reader first. What value are they providing and why should the reader care. 

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 6:39 PM by Susan Emmer


Having worked at larger brands for many years I've seen how much having an ongoing connection counts for to be able to effectively ask for coverage while that's time consuming for a resource strapped startup [something I know all too well these days] it's reality. 
 
Your post does a great job at breaking down the practical steps but really it's your willingness to be direct about what you think and what you've found to work that makes it a great read. Thank you.

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 6:40 PM by Ted Sindzinski


I just wanted to say, God bless you Leo and Dharmesh for sharing this incredible piece of information. Thank you so much. 
 
 
 
Lola

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:42 PM by Lola


Wow, this is the best article I've seen on this subject. Succinct but incredibly helpful. It is now buffered. 
 
-Megan 
@meganberry

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM by Megan Berry


Leo, this if fabulous. I'm an award winning journalist and humor writer with 20 years in the industry and now I provide marketing a copywriting strategies to entrepreneurs. Most of what you wrote applies to online media pitches but you are spot on. Always be pitching your company but with the intent of providng value to readers at the forefront of your pitch. Everyone needs to read this post! 
 
Shelly

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM by Shelly Cone


Oops, I got so excited about your post I made mistakes in my earlier comment. Again, great work Leo!

posted on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM by Shelly Cone


Thank you! Very useful reading. Currently starting to promote very niche software and was really puzzled on how to get in. Now at least I'm able to put up a plan!

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:34 AM by Alex Zakharenko


For the entrepreneurs with techie-background, this post will be of great help. 
 
As more people will come to know about this post-'How-To-Get-Covered-In_Media', it may become a plain vanilla approach but I am sure, some other innovative approach will evolve. However, some of the essentials from this post will still hold true.  
 
Thank you Leo for sharing such a generous information.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:47 AM by Dhan


Thanks very much Leo. I've just plundered this article for all the info I could possibly get out of it. Thanks

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:09 AM by Kate from Loco2


Few articles give willingly, freely and in such a concise, informative manner, of their writer's knowledge experience and tips.  
Extra-helpful because it also gives examples. Best wishes, Roger

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:29 AM by Roger Ellman


This is interesting and helpful. But, frankly, I found it very difficult to read. There are several punctuation, capitalization, and other errors. It doesn't come off as very professional.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 9:17 AM by Jess


Great post. Thanks Leo for writing and Dharmesh for sharing. This should certainly make it into the startup 101 kit. 
 
It was helpful that you shared specific examples and results. It was eye-opening how slight change in tone and packaging can make such a difference. 
 
Quick question- did you find news attracts more news? Did it get easier and easier to get subsequent stories? Did your strategy change once you got covered by a big tech blog?

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM by Ashish Rangnekar


Tremendous information - thank you. We just started using Bitesize PR which is an inexpensive way to get your pitch to writers.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM by John Bailey


Thanks for putting this out, we're starting on this path soon.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM by Richard Hui


Great piece,Leo! 
I'm about to help my oil & gas company enter the online marketing and PR environment. With a little bit of thought and creativity, much of what you wrote can apply.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM by Greg Olinyk


Love the article Leo, especially the part about the up and coming reporters. These are the reporters who in a year or two will be the senior staff or will have moved to a more senior position at a different publication. They'll remember that you showed them respect when nobody else paid them attention, and they'll actually call on you for material.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:07 PM by Jim Smith


A great post indeed. I just love it when you share your own experience.

posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM by Juraj Masar


You know what..... i am first time entrepreneur and me and my co-founder were wondering about getting our story done on various blogs and traditional press, the next day i find this post in my Google Reader., isn't it fantastic?  
 
Leo/Dharmesh  
 
Its great job you're doing. Appreciate that. :)

posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 5:31 PM by Jatin Kathuria


This is really a great post, truely insightful and practical. As an investment manager in a Chinese Angel investing institute (tisiwi.com), I've seen many Chinese startups struggling with media relationships, your experiences just gave me a lot of interesting thoughts, I'll refer your posts to these startups, and give you the feedbacks, well, from a different media environment, market and culture. Thanks, Leo.

posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 3:23 AM by Harry Wang


An absolute fantastic article! As someone who is going through this exact process, I find it can be a bit hit and miss with some blogs and sites.  
 
For those of you with web apps or internet startups, you are more than welcome to submit them (yes it is my site) to http://productivewebapps.com where we will review them and help you build traffic and users to your apps. Feel free to check it out and visit our submit a site page if you are interested.

posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 5:29 AM by Scott Purcell


Thanks for this exceptional article. It's right on target for me and for my company. Only wish I'd had it sooner.

posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 9:12 AM by Ellen Frank


Thank you. 
 
@zssz

posted on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 1:12 PM by Zsombor


Clever article, thanks. HARO is a great website for responding to reporters' requests for subject matter experts. A well-crafted, two sentance pitch goes a long way. Reporters from big sites like Mashable hang out there. The key is to relevant, fresh and fast!

posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 3:10 AM by Mindy Taylor


Thank you aswww.mpgleader.com andwww.tirestud.com are employing your tactics.

posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:57 AM by Andrew Gross


Thank you Leo! Great post. As a very small start-up we have these ideas and sometimes do a good job of working through the details, but regularly implementing them without a structured guideline sometimes gets a little difficult and things get over looked. We'll be incorporating more of your tips into our PR and marketing effort. Thanks again!

posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 4:59 PM by Erica


Great article Leo with the detail that makes the difference. It is the step-by-step process that you present that is so helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs. I am passing this along to our group of authors and the entrepreneurs working with LaunchAmerica.org to create more funding for all types of startups through a major tax credit incentive for the investors in startups. Thanks for the assistance for us and all the other entrepreneurs working to get their startup noticed.

posted on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 7:35 PM by Nick Bassill


This article has been very useful. Thanks for the hard work!

posted on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 4:31 AM by web development newcastle


I have found the tips very useful. We shall use it for our sitewww.indianconceptsonline.com selling India's first ethnic corporate wear

posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 5:59 AM by Manali


Leo, what an excellent resource, thank you for spending the time to put these great tips together for fellow startups!  
 
We are days away from releasing our websitewww.weBake.it and I will definitely be utilizing this post as my guide for gaining media coverage.  
 
Thank you again, I can't stress enough how great this article is! 
 
Rebecca 
@webakeit

posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM by Rebecca Wright


A great resource that has already been filed in my Evernote for future reference. 
 
It was also an excellent reminder that taking the time to help and share with others is just as valuable as anything else you can do on your path to success! 
 
Thanks, 
Lynne 
@spoketech

posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM by Lynne McEachern


This is great, it outlines step by step what you should do to succeed and gives examples - love it! Next, I would love to see a story on drumming up leads on a "start up budget" i.e. - no budget! ha! Keep the good content coming, loving it!

posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 1:44 PM by Christel Mes


Great article Leo, I wasn't able to finish your article due to time constraints but what an amazing assortment of ideas and facts that will truly wow some folks. You never know, if some of these people apply to what U are saying then they may become very successful and write their own articles such as this. Great work!

posted on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 1:46 PM by Business Solutions


Hi Leo, 
Thank you for the useful post, it's very helpful. I'm working on a start-up right now and, although I think it is a great idea, I'm not quite sure how to get press and find users, or how to start reaching them. I will definitely use your advice to get the idea out when it's ready to go! 
Thanks again! 
 
Chantal

posted on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM by Chantal Penning


This is an invaluable article. Thanks for your honesty of sharing the minute details.

posted on Saturday, April 07, 2012 at 2:48 PM by Prasanna


Awesome resource. This is a very detailed, comprehensive look at exactly what it takes to start getting the media's attention, as well as how to start your own buzz. I'm sure there are entire PR firms built on these procedures.  

posted on Monday, April 09, 2012 at 8:47 PM by Lance T. Walker, USAF


This is the best article for Startup that I would recommend to ANY entrepreneurs.  
 
I came back like 4 times trying to sink all these great info in and practice. 
 
Looking forward to more of this kind of article. :)

posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 4:14 AM by Peach


Thank you for such a great article. A lot of excellent tips. We've been trying to find ways to get our clients (oftentimes are startup companies) media coverage for a long time and haven't had much success so far. Your tips really does offers us some ideas for us to try. Thanks again.

posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM by Dallas Texas Web Design Company


Thanks for this great primer! I'm looking forward to working through these steps.

posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7:08 PM by Joanne Eckton


Great Article! Kept it bookmarked as ready reference to PR.

posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM by Prashant Parashar


Thanks for sharing your experience Leo... this is anawesome article and definitely one of the most useful article for an entrepreneur... 
 
I will definitely try these and post my experiences.

posted on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM by Shashank Singh


Great article even for a seasoned marketing executive. Getting media coverage as a startup is so different than for larger organizations and we will be leveraging your tips. One question, we just announced our website http://www.ittavi.com/ and call for beta for our first product Ittavi Support Management (Bill Payment + Expense Management for Child Support). Any suggestions on media coverage for brand new startups?

posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:57 PM by Sheri Atwood


Hands down one of the most valuable articles I've seen written for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to market their ideas. I appreciate you including your email at the end, I will be sending over something later this evening. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have the time, thanks!

posted on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM by Vincent Hofmeister


Hi Leo, 
 
I delivered this fantastic post to a friend mine just a few days ago after she told me than no one wants to write about their start-up. 
 
Thank you, I'm going to use your insights for my start-up. 
 

posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 10:21 AM by Galit Zamler


Cannot thank you enough. This story is exactly what I was looking for. 
 
@ThenameXchange

posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 1:31 PM by Jolie


This post can be one of "The Guiding Principles for Marketing" People. Absolutely fantastic write up which has such a great brief for each and every point. 
 
It would be interesting how people will follow these tips in practice now. But, i would like to follow some of your guidelines and will try to comeup with my own marketing principles which worked for me in promoting my start up as a blog post soon

posted on Thursday, May 03, 2012 at 3:13 AM by Krishna


Excellent article Leo! 
 
A very good playbook for contacting news sources about your product. 
 
Curious though...We know Mashable was a WIN, but did you have any FAIL? 
 
What was the ratio between WIN:FAIL. The reason I ask, is so folks can know what good results look like. And consequently, know what great results look like as well. Thanks!

posted on Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 9:35 AM by TVD


All hat's down for this article. This post is worth a million dollar. Guess what, we will be featuring bufferapps on KSD soon, soo stop by to vote for BufferApp. @startupsdesigns

posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 11:24 AM by Esrar Razvi


Thank you for sharing such great information with us. I really appreciate everything that you've done here and am glad to know that you really care about the world that we live in 

posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:07 AM by umpire training materials


Very timely and I have learned a lot! Thank God I read this before approaching the respective blog sites. lol Thanks for the help Leo! 
 
P.S. I'm definitely getting the Buffer app!

posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM by Fete


Excellent article! Much appreciated!

posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM by Greg Steven


AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!! 
 
I've searched and searched for similar information, and have continually struck out. Your insightful and specific recommendations will undoubtedly save hundreds of thousands of hours of work. Thank you SOOOO Much! 
 
Bill 
E4software

posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM by Bill


What an amazing article. It could apply for startups but it also gives great tips for any blogger looking to get published.Wow! Thank you!

posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM by Darlynn Nangano


great article learned a lot.

posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 7:46 PM by Josh


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