There’s always a moment when people start to think about how to best get press for their startup. Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, shares his experience in the form of an ultimate guide. Buffer was featured by Mashable 6 times and also articles about it appeared in TechCrunch, The Next Web, ReadWriteWeb, GigaOm, LifeHacker, VentureBeat, Inc. Magazine, etc. So now you judge for yourself whether this tips work or not.
Leo Widrich points out that you should bear in mind that such results are also connected with a specific nature of Buffer – a tool for social media.
As the article contains much information, read only one point at a time, do it at once in and then proceed to another point.
1. Make your startup blog and tell stories
Leo says that a great part of their success was due to an active blog.
It’s also very important as when you blog, you enhance your writing skills. As a result, you’ll understand why this headline is shared more than that one and why this post has got more readers than that one. They key thing here is that people want to listen about your product if it’s made in a form of a brief insight on what problems it solves.
If you have a blog, 2 things will happen:
- When you send your stories to tech writers, you’ll be on the same level. Be a creative writer with a breathtaking story, not a dry marketing specialist trying to fulfil a mass media plan.
- You can also make your own coverage in your blog.
2. Meet writers via Twitter and Facebook
It’s not Mashable that covers your story, it’s a writer!
You should get to know a great many of writers so that your startup get covered. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook. For example, you can explore these about pages: Mashable,TechCrunch, and ReadWriteWeb. You’ll find the writers that can cover your startup the best.
You also need to show interest in what they do. Answer their questions, if any, retweet, comment and like their stuff. If you’re able to communicate with writers personally, your pitch will be several times better. So be genuinely interested in that writers do.
3. Avoid the most popular writers
If you still try to submit your story to them, you will likely get no response.
Why? Because the most popular writers are the busiest ones.
It would be better to find writers covering your startup industry. New and young people who aren’t hammered with thousands of letters are the best choice.
Open a front page and scroll it down. If you see 3-4 stories from one and the same person during the past few days, that’s the person you need.
Craft an email pitch for reporters. An email that got Buffer on Mashable
Leo Widrich shares an email that got them written up by Mashable:
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?
Don’t get frustrated if your pitches are declined, it’s OK. It’s not that writers dislike you, they’re very busy.
4. The art and timing of sending your pitch. Communication with reporters
Don’t hurry to send your pitch. Remember that there’s an endless competition there. A great number of startups and even PR agencies want their stories to be written.
Leo usually sends a tweet to a writer asking whether he could drop him/her a quick line on an exclusive story. And once he gets a reply, he sends the letter. The most important thing here is to make your communication personal, not from a startup to Mashable but from a writer to a writer.
Timing is also essential. According to Leo, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for traffic for getting a coverage for your story.
The best time is morning, before 10am. And don’t forget to check time zones.
Try to play around with timing and social media.
5. So your story is written and published
Congratulations! But it’s not the time to rest on your laurels. Roll up your sleeves and proceed doing your best. Unfortunately many people forget about it.
- check out comments and respond to feedback.
- write comments.
- share this story and thank the author. It would be great if you mention their accounts in social networks.
- check the posting on Facebook and do all the above-mentioned things.
- check Twitter stream. Thank users for retweets and feedback.
- send a follow up email to the writer. Thank them for their great work.
If comments are negative, don’t defend yourself. Be thankful and appreciative. Look into the problems people tell you about.
6. 4 types of stories you can pitch
The main goal of getting covered is to get covered as many times as possible.
Here are 4 completely different ideas that you can use for pitches.
- “Big disaster happened your product is there to help pitch”
Leo says that it’s very powerful but hard to detect as you need a creative mindset of a writer.
Think of ways you can provide value for readers (not how you can get coverage for your startup). Because if you do this, you’ll get many chances to get features about your startup written up.
- “Awesome data – pitch”
It’s a well-known fact that news sites love data. They love data even more if it’s connected to social networks. Why? Because it spreads unbelievably fast and is interesting for users.
Find some interesting statistics and think of what may be valuable for readers.
- “Brand new features to make users awesome – pitch”
The majority of startups use this pitch type nowadays. If you have a new feature in your product, you surely need to cover it.
But the most important thing is that you should concentrate on only 1 feature. Because it will make your pitch easy to understand.
What’s more, it gives you an opportunity to pitch various stories as different features are added to your product.
- “Hit big milestone – pitch”
It’s a great type for signups and branding. People understand that you’re still here, you grow and deserve attention.
It’s good for news sites as well because they get an exclusive insight into the background of your startup.
7. Make it a habit
We all want our startups to be mentioned and featured again and again. Make it a habit that it appears in the news once in 2-3 weeks (it may be a new feature, provocative data, a big milestone and so on).
Leo Widrich suggests to write various stories and make a schedule for reaching out for write-ups. It should be a recurring and consistent point in your list.