Startup PR: How startups can increase their chances of getting press coverage
Especially after the initial product launch and after achieving the first milestones, startups most often try to get some press coverage, in order to increase the attention of venture capital firms, business angels and early adopters for their product or service. For that reasons, they usually reach out to local or international tech and startup publications. Getting featured in one of those can be as challenging as securing funding or getting your first customers. So it’s important for startups to take a close look a the publications they aim to target and to avoid common mistakes.
The tech and startup media landscape, internationally, in Europe, Spain & Barcelona: Aside of international tech publications like TechCrunch, TheNextWeb and Venturebeat, there are European startup/tech publications like tech.eu and EU-Startups, Spanish ones like El Referente and TodoStartups, as well as local ones in Barcelona like Barcinno and Barcelona Startup News. In order to get to know some of these startup publications better and to get a behind the scenes view, we recently organized a little round table discussion with Vivien from Barcelona Startup News, Sophie from Barcinno and Thomas from EU-Startups. If you’re interested in Startup PR, the role/state of tech media and the startup ecosystem in Barcelona, this one is for you:
During the discussion, there already came up a few tips and tricks. Publications like Barcinno, Barcelona Startup News, and especially international startup publications receive a huge amount of press releases per day, so in order to increase your chances of getting press coverage, you should really make sure to reach out the right way. To provide you with an overview, below you’ll find a summary from the discussion between Vivien, Sophie and Thomas, and some additional best practices:
What is news? The fact that your startup exists or just launched is usually not newsworthy. Unless you just invented a time machine or teleportation technology. Most interesting content for startup and tech publications is exclusive information and news that make their readers go „wow”!
Prepare a good press pitch: Provide all relevant information. Make it as simple as possible for the editors to understand your product, it’s USP and why your story is newsworthy! Keep your email pitch short and suggest an interesting angle for an article. Also: Don’t ask for permission to send a press release. Just do it!
Sending your press releases via email: Keep your emails to each of the contacted editors short and don’t send too many releases to the same editor in quick succession. Send them out individually, with a personal note (never: Dear editor…). If your email shows that you understand/read the publication, your chances of grabbing the editor’s attention clearly increase. Best case, the press release will be sent by someone the editor already knows.
Be a good communicator: When contacting editors, pick the subject line of your email carefully and make it stand out. Some editors of popular startup/tech publications get a few hundred emails a day, so you wanna make sure they at least open your email. If they do, and afterwards reply with some questions, save them time, by quickly replying. Sometimes it’s really a matter of minutes. If you don’t reply fast enough, the editor might already consider another story. On the other hand, if you are the one asking questions, make sure the editor can answer with one line or a simple „yes“ or „no“. Saving time is key!
Keys to good press releases: Great content and exciting news spreads automatically around the web. Your press releases should be a good read, easy to understand and as interesting as possible. Readers of startup publications, like pretty much all humans, like big numbers, interesting facts they didn’t know yet, successful people/stars, nice pictures, stories that spark emotions.
A sense of exclusivity: Media people like to talk to the people in charge. That being said, press releases should be sent by the startup’s CEO not by an intern or a PR firm. This is true especially for early-stage startups. And: Journalists like exclusives! By giving a publication the exclusive right to publish first (embargoed news) you will clearly increase your chances of getting featured there!
The perfect timing for sending your press release: Send your press release with advance notice. For example: If you’d like to see your news/story covered on Wednesday afternoon, reach out on Monday morning at the latest, saying that the day of the announcement will be Wednesday. The most important thing to keep in mind is: Editors don’t like old news! On the same day the first press coverage about a specific topic goes online, all other media outlets should have received the corresponding press release. Otherwise your chances to get additional press coverage are almost at 0%.
And if it doesn’t work out? Don’t take it personal if a publication doesn’t write about you and your startup! If your team and idea is strong, you will make it anyway! Other ways to get visibility for your startup are to properly present it on AngelList, Crunchbase, F6S, Product Hunt, Betalist, and of course on big social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.