Let me start off this by saying that there are absolutely no shortcuts in PR.
When you see a campaign in the media and blasted in popular channels, rest assured that the company behind it has been working their butt off to make this happen.
All of that media spotlight, article publications and video shoutouts have all been earned well before their crowdfunding campaign even launched.
The Basics of Crowdfunding PR – Should I Do It?
Crowdfunding PR is one of the most essential strategies for any crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Moreover, Crowdfunding PR is a rather specialized field. In traditional PR, companies have products for journalists to test or review. With actual tangible products to review and use, it makes it that much easier for the journalist to write about a product or launch.
On the flip side, with crowdfunding, a product might still be in its early stage prototype phase. Or even just very detailed sketches.
You’ll need to harness even more powers of persuasion with your words and relationships to secure a piece.
During your crowdfunding pre-launch stage, you need to use very effective strategies to be able to connect with journalists writing for your intended audience. It’s a tough job, but we’ll break this down step-by-step.
The Little-Known Secret to Crowdfunding PR
The one secret to absolutely nailing it with crowdfunding PR? Your story matters.
Seriously, that’s it?
Let’s get a little deeper into this.
The world of journalism is all about getting people to read a story. Every journalist out there hammering on their keyboards and banging out articles is looking for an exciting story. One that will:
Keep readers coming back to their publication to read again and again
Earn the journalist a following as a person who covers an exciting topic
That’s a lot of pressure in just a few hundred, maybe a thousand, words per article.
So what does that have to do with your story?
Everything! A well written piece, even just getting covered, all depends on having a good story to tell.
As a creator and entrepreneur, you have a lot of stories to tell.
What got you to this point in your life?
Why are you looking for funds to bring this project to life?
What experience do you have that will convince people to donate money to your campaign?
And so much more.
By embarking on this crowdfunding journey, you’ll be testing and refining your story in the actual marketplace.
No other business method allows you to engage your audience first with your story and then build your product after.
These stories, and crowdfunding is one way to describe who you are and where you’re headed with this project.
Here’s the key about story: people aren’t looking to buy the features of your product, they’re buying the story your product brings into their life.
Think about this again.
It’s not that your doodad has 3 colors that matter, it’s that each color complements a different part of that backer’s life.
And oftentimes backers aren’t just pledging money to a product, they’re pledging to experience being behind the scenes with an entrepreneur.
They’re pledging to understand the ups and downs, the logistics and hard work, the planning and wins.
It’s an absolute thrill for people to follow along. The product that comes in the mail a few months or a year from now is, to them, more like icing on the cake.
What kind of PR should I focus on?
With so many new businesses launched every day, it’s REALLY hard to stand out.
Creative types, like artists, authors, and musicians also struggle with this problem.
For an employer, where you went to school and the various degrees that you have might give you a leg up over other employees.
When it comes to online business, approval by the media is a “certificate” that you can use to stand out from the rest.
It’s a huge credibility enhancer. This is especially true with a crowdfunding campaign where your product might or might not even be past the prototype stage yet.
With that said, we can break PR in two types.
They’re both incredibly important in their own way and you need to look into getting both rather than just focusing on one or the other.
Imagine that you get into a major media publication, one that features you or just cites you. By achieving this goal, you’ll be able to include their well-known logo on your product page, crowdfunding page, social media pages – basically anywhere and everywhere. Woohoo!
That credible enhancer says to people on that page that this project is the real deal.
This entrepreneur knows what they’re talking about.
This entrepreneur knows how to make it work and the world has taken notice.
When people come to your page and sees this logo, their defensive barrier is immediately lowered.
Think about it this way. People usually have their guard up when they see online products and advertising. Oh no, they’re trying to sell to me again!
However, when they see the logo of a trusted source that they recognize, it makes them more likely to watch the pitch video, to learn more about the product and maybe even buy it.
The biggest misconception about this type of PR is that it does not always convert into sales. This one is a biggie.
Just because you’ve gotten into the New York Times doesn’t mean you’ll see a surge in sales or revenue of your product.
Don’t get me wrong, this does happen at times, but it’s not the main reason for this type of PR.
Because the person who comes across this article about you doesn’t always have what we’ll call a buyers intent. Maybe they’re just curious about this story or this new trend or this new product. They’re not necessarily thinking about buying this product or about buying something new. No intent to buy, no buyers intent.
Again, you can leverage these hits for social proof and credibility, but it doesn’t mean that these hits will always convert into sales and revenue.
Bottom-line boosting PR
The second type of PR we’ll discuss here is more correlated to boosting revenue and pledges for your campaign.
The intent of the reader when they come to read an article is the difference here. People coming to these articles will have a buyers intent.
For example, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day.
A week or so before Valentine’s Day a person will probably be looking for the best gift to get their significant other. Online they type in “best gifts for boyfriend/girlfriend” and the top hit is an article title that reads “10 killer gadget gifts for Valentines Day this year” or “13 romantic gift ideas for your significant other”.
The person who clicks on any of those articles has a buyers intent.
When they read that article, they’re in a buyer’s frame of mind.
They’re interested to see if they should spend their hard-earned money on that product and if they should buy that product.
Coming to your product from the perspective of “I’m looking to buy something” versus the “I’m curious about this article” makes a world of difference!
Including your project into these types of articles will more likely correlate to sales for your business or your crowdfunding campaign.
The Hidden Treasure of Crowdfunding PR
When it comes to crowdfunding, especially for the first 20 to 40 thousand dollars, the people that matter most are your actual friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, coworkers, and anyone else who you have even the slightest amount of personal connection within your life.
It’s these people who will get you over the first hump of your campaign and give it that initial social proof to go above and beyond.
Whoever you convert with ads and PR after that is up to you.
But one thing I can tell you for sure: any additional ads or PR will not convert unless you have a secure grassroots funding base of people who care for you.
So what’s the hidden treasure of Crowdfunding PR?
It’s the relationships you have in your life and the network that you’ve built so far.
Journalists get sent an endless stream of bland press releases, stories and pitches often with nothing newsworthy in them. And to top it off, they’re usually mighty generic and embarrassingly impersonal.
Build good relationships and “cash out” down the line when you launch your campaign.
Basically how you’re going to stand out is you’ll be leveraging the hidden treasure of relationships.
It’s all going to get personal.
10 Ways To Get PR For Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Firstly, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t know how PR works best within the crowdfunding arena.
The typical chain of events goes like this:
- Founders reach out to the press after their campaign has started.
- They’ve created a template pitch and blast it to 500 journalists.
Journalists despise these pitches because
- The product may not make it, making their story irrelevant. Numerous Crowdfunding campaigns have went belly up, their product doesn’t exist or work and/or they’re severely delayed in fulfillment to their backers, which puts media publications and editors at risk
- They despise being pestered to use their time not to interest or educate their readers, but to serve as unpaid advertisers for a near-term fundraising need.
Well, the good news is YOU can do it.
It just takes time and a whole lot of effort. It’s definitely something a lot of people don’t bother with.
You might think you know where or how to promote your project but I can tell you that there are probably a thousand more places than you think there is.
Let’s start off easy. Here are nine better ways to get the coverage that will help your crowdfunding campaign succeed.
1. Reach out to your network.
Here it is again, relationships.
As a human being, you’re sure to have formed some relationships with those around you. Be sure to leverage them and get personal.
Some people say “I don’t want to market to my friends, that feels sleazy” – but actually, everyone in your life misses you and, they want a chance to connect with you about anything.
Plenty of people will back you not because they love your project, but because they love you.
And people who love you are many times more valuable to your crowdfunding campaign that your “ideal market segment”.
2. Research coverage of similar campaigns.
Here’s where the work starts to get a spreadsheet up and ready.
Let’s say you’re launching a sci-fi book project.
First of all look for all the other sci-fi book projects on Kickstarter that were successful and got covered on news sites. Next, use Google to search for their project name.
Go to every single site that talked about their project and finds their editorial contact, or ‘Submit News’ page or contact page.
Log it in an excel sheet, with the name of the writer if you can find it, the website address, the contact email or webpage.
Now do the next one, and the next one and keep going.
Now you should have a hundred or more links or emails, a lot more if it’s a big project.
Do it again! Choose the next successful sci-fi book project. Do that all over again.
You’ll probably be seeing the same sites pop up again and again. This confirms that they’re active, important and should be towards the top of your outreach list. Win!
Working on additional projects you should also be getting other sites that the first project didn’t get featured on.
Do it again.
Seriously, after doing this 10-20 times you’ll have a kick-ass press list for websites talking about cool sci-fi books.
Replace “sci-fi books” with whatever your project topic is and you have a step-by-step action list for how to get the most relevant PR for your crowdfunding campaign.
3. Build relationships ahead of time.
You thought we were done with relationships, didn’t you? This here is about forming and building relationships with journalists.
Having relationships with PR is incredibly different from merely sending out a generic pitch to 500 other journalists. That’s a complete no-no if you want to get covered in any meaningful way.
The best way to get PR for your campaign is to be able to pick up the phone or send an email and say “Hey Jane, I’ve got a story I’d like to pitch you on.” And because you know Jane so well and she likes and trusts you, you know with 95% certainty that she’ll publish your story.
If Jane can’t work on it at the moment, she’ll most likely give you advice on who to approach next.
This type of relationship takes time.
That means working on these relationships with no promotional agenda for months or even years in advance of launching your campaign.
4. Attend events.
Too many times we forego face to face meetings in lieu of a quick Skype call or Google Hangout.
One of the best ways to build relationships with journalists and contributors is to meet face to face.
Rather than emailing them and inviting them out for coffee, find out what events the journalists you want to meet are attending. Instead of making them take time out of their normal routine, be sure to meet them where they’re in their element.
If you’re a tech-oriented hardware startup you might want to hang out at events like TechCrunch Disrupt, CES, HustleCon, or HardwareCon.
In this environment, it’s easier to chat with the press and get to know them than to approach them via email or phone.
However, don’t go to an event assuming you’re going to land a story on the spot, or you’ll come on too strong.
Instead, ask journalists what stories they’re working on and offer to help them with what they’re already doing, even if it doesn’t benefit you.
By providing value first, you’ll become valuable to the journalist. Over time the opportunities will arise for you to be included in their articles.
5. Email people personally.
Yes, it’s going to take all night.
Yep, it’s going to take most of tomorrow so you might as well cancel that lunch.
I know you had plans after that too so you might as well cancel all of those too if you want to secure some solid PR for your campaign.
It’s almost certainly the case that most of the people you reach out to will ignore you if your cold-emailing.
Bloggers and journalists get pitched all the time on ideas from people they don’t know and aren’t invested in.
So seriously, email every single person using their name, comment on their site or a story they wrote, ‘Hi Joseph, I saw the article you wrote on [insert content topic] and I thought you’d love to know we’re launching [insert your project and how that relates to journalist]’.
People respond to personal emails more than blanket generic press releases. Just think about it, are you more likely to open emails with your name in it or “Dear Ma’am”?
Guaranteed that just doing this one step of personalizing your outreach will get you more results!
Chris Birch of Modiphius, a successful serial creator on Kickstarter, sums it up pretty well in his response on a Kickstarter Campus question:
Since then, anytime I’m doing outreach for anything, each person gets a personal message from me…I’m even willing to keep track and follow up if they don’t respond to my first message. I demonstrate that I want to show up as a friend to someone before I make any kind of ask of them, and people really appreciate how much-personalized hand holding I give them to support them to make their investment amid the billions of other things that are on their mind.
6. Test and modify.
Be sure to A/B test your email pitches. This one is really important.
By now you’ve already reached out to talk to people early on about your project. And from those conversations, you should already be tweaking ways to talk about it.
You need to do the same with all parts of your campaign, including PR.
Get software to check whether a journalist is opening up your emails.
Then, move to A/B test different headlines.
Only 1 out of 50 journalists are opening emails with your initial subject line?
Change it. Try something new.
If a journalist doesn’t open the email, target a different journalist at the same publication with a different email and see what works best and keep refining it.
7. Make a video (or many!).
A video is one of the first things that someone sees when they get to your campaign page.
The video allows you to explain your product using images, voices, music, and writing.
By using video, you can explain the product to a person by triggering more than one of their senses.
This aids understanding and comprehension so be sure to use it well.
The campaign video is actually even more important than that.
You can use it to pique interest from even higher up the funnel than just on your campaign page. For one, videos drive higher engagement on advertising.
When videos go “viral”, they generate interest and bring in people to your campaign.
As an example, the well-known mattress company Purple has chosen to build its brand through video and innovative products.
Purple’s first Kickstarter video generated 274,000 views.
The video for your second campaign generated 2.4 million views on Facebook.
The video pushed their campaign to meet its initial goal in just one day.
They ended up raising $2.6M.
8. Target your ads.
One clever trick to getting PR to notice you is through targeted ads.
What? Ads to get PR?
You can run ads with headlines like “This Shockingly Brilliant Invention is Disrupting the [X] Industry”. Run these ads to target only people who write for publications in your industry.
The journalist will think “wow, what IS this brilliant invention?”
In your ad, you can even start dripping the type of story you want the journalist to write about. By illustrating the exact ways your product is disrupting the industry, you can point out the angles for your journalist to take up in their own writing.
This can drive PR mentions.
For a relatively small investment on advertising, you can get in front of most bloggers and journalists covering the space you’re targeting.
9. Create an Infographic.
It is oftentimes helpful to have something that is visually appealing and easily shareable.
Think about it.
Rather than having to put pen to paper (or hands to the keyboard!) for a longer story, journalists can just use an infographic to showcase a point.
Infographics are also easily digestible since they break difficult knowledge points into digestible chunks.
Releasing the infographic can get an idea across quicker and easier than paragraphs of text.
Writers appreciate having material that will make it easier for their content to be consumed.
They’ll also be more likely to move forward with your content because it’s easier to get something together. And content with visuals is more likely to be viewed and shared by their readers.
Having infographics is also beneficial to you as a creator. An infographic lets you have control over exactly what content is shared.
By extension you’ll also have control over what information gets shared.
Do I hear win-win-win?
10. Compile a Press Kit.
Journalists are busy.
Most of the time, getting a press kit together and making it easily accessible is already half the battle.
What do you want to include in a press kit?
- A selection of the best images in high-resolution
- A well-made video
- A pre-written release (some journalists just copy and paste so be sure to make this catchy)
- Contact information for any additional questions
This makes it easier for the journalist to take the information you have and distill it into an article to release.
So that’s it! The complete 10 ways to get PR for your crowdfunding campaign.
If there’s one thing you take away from this today, it’s to cultivate a relationship.
That’s really what good PR is about.
It’s not about who has the most email addresses.
It’s not about who has the best growth hack.
It’s about having great relationships and mutual respect with people who write about products.
When you have this down, you’ll be able to send an email to a strong network of people who will take notice and want to support you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg so let’s dig a little deeper shall we?
By now we know two things for sure. PR is:
- an excellent complement to the crowdfunding ecosystem
- DEFINITELY something you can hustle to get done yourself rather than relying on an agency and hoping for results. Yes, you’re absolutely right, none of them ever guarantee results and they never will.
When is the best time to contact Journalists?
Timing is crucial.
Just like you want to be advertising to people at the right place and the right time, you want to also be contacting journalists at the most optimal time for your project.
Before your campaign launches
This should be included in the planning phase of your campaign.
Months, even years prior, you should already be in touch with journalists in your industry.
When you’re getting close to launch, reach out to let them know the campaign is launching soon.
Do this 2-3 weeks before your launch. You want to send it far ahead of time that they can plan their editorial calendar, but also close enough to your launch that they don’t forget about it in the influx of other news.
If you can, send them a link to the preview page of your campaign.
Sending the preview and letting them be one of the first to publish your story can take you leaps and bounds.
Journalists love getting information and getting it early.
At impressive milestones
People love getting good news.
People love reading about good news.
People love writing about good news.
The journalist that you’re in touch with feels the same way.
No one really wants to write about a project that is 2% funded and needs help. No one also wants to write about a project that is probably not going to be realized.
If you’ve raised a considerable amount of money (>30%) within the first 24 hours, or are getting close to your goal (>90%), be sure to reach out.
If your campaign breaks some sort of record like getting fully funded within the first 10 minutes, be sure to reach out about that too.
Journalists are more likely to feature successful campaigns than a campaign that just launched and is sitting at $0.
It’s true that when your campaign gets to 100% raised, you don’t actually need to raise more funds. But reaching out at this point will help you raise awareness for your cause. It can also help you get potential future support and funding.
The journalist is able to feature a positive and successful story, and you have a new journalist on your list for your next campaign.
Action Steps: So how DO you get PR for your crowdfunding campaign?
With the right research and planning, you can achieve PR for your crowdfunding campaign, extend your reach and boost your impact.
More important than finding the right journal or newspaper to pitch to, is finding the right person who will be interested to feature your story.
Most journalists get hundreds of press releases and email pitches every day (seriously, so many).
Many of these releases and pitches get deleted unopened.
So how do you get your story noticed?
Here are the exact steps to getting media coverage for your crowdfunding campaign:
Step 1: Identify Relevant Niches
Keep in mind that building a reporter list doesn’t mean that you should include the name of everyone who’s ever written anything. That’s a complete no-no.
You need to get specific.
Come up with at least ten online niches to increase your chances of success.
Broad niche examples include music, technology, fashion, parenting, pet care, travel, health & wellness, book reviews, cooking, and parenting.
For your project, drill down even further and identify sub-niches that focus your outreach even more.
The more niche the better, especially if you’re able to clearly articulate how your project relates to that journalist, the publication or their viewers.
If you’re launching a new toothbrush for dogs, sure you’ll be reaching out to people who write about “pets” in general, but get more specific.
Look for people who write about dental hygiene in small dogs.
Look for people who write about taking care of geriatric dogs.
Look for people who write about the best things new dog-parents can take care of their pups.
Again, the more niche the better.
Journalists get pitches and releases every single day that they can’t write about or don’t have interest for.
You need a compelling reason for people to cover you, otherwise all you’ll get is wasted effort while adding annoyance to someone’s day.
What qualifies as a compelling reason?
- The writer has written previously on other crowdfunding campaigns.
- Your product is in exactly the industry that the writer covers.
- Your product builds on the writer’s previous coverage.
- Your product is something their readers are interested in.
By getting a niche and telling the journalist exactly how your new project will impact their readers, you’re giving them the most compelling reason of all.
Step 2: Find Your Journalists
Rule number one is you should not be emailing the generic email@example.com email or using the website’s generic contact form.
Take the time to find the journalists that have shown an interest in you, your cause or related topics before. These include:
- Journalists who have featured you or your company before. They already know you so bonus points!
- Journalists of your Local Press / in the city where you or your company are based, or where the project is happening. These guys want to know what is happening in their local area and are often overlooked for “national press”.
- Journalists of your National Press who have featured a similar campaign or cause before. They’re the ones already talking about issues relating to your project and are the most likely to want to publish your story.
There are some great free tools online to help you access the right journalists and their contact details. An effective way of doing this:
- Head to https://news.google.com/
- Click on ‘Advanced search’ and fill out the relevant search terms to find at least 5 contacts for each of the 3 categories above and build a list of articles and journalist names, grouping them by journal.
- Do a Google Search for ‘Journalist’s Name + contact details’ or go to the contact page of the journal or newspaper to find out the email format the company is using.
- If you REALLY can’t find their details you can also email the editor or use the online contact form, but this should be your last choice.
Limit your search to articles published in the last 1–2 years to make sure it’s still relevant.
Another clever trick is to do a reverse image search of similar campaigns.
If you’re launching a new product targeted towards those who need help focusing and concentrating, grab images from a campaign like Fidget Cube and drop it into Google image search.
You’ll find a large database of outlets that covered that exact campaign.
Clicking into each of these articles will allow you to find the journalist. Voila!
Now let’s go a little deeper and look for bloggers in the same niche you’re looking for.
A simple Google Search will turn up blogs and other influencers in your identified niches.
If you’re not sure how to do this, just type the following into the Google search bar
“TOPIC” + Blog
Once you review each blog, you will become more acquainted with who contributes to it, comments on it, and reads it.
To get an even deeper sense of the blogs target audience, look at their Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, G+ and Twitter communities.
This will help you decide if the blog is right for you and if you should reach out to the blogger.
Step 3: Check Website Rankings
Yes you’re interested in getting coverage.
But you’re more interested in getting meaningful coverage and making good use of your time.
When you arrive at a website, be sure to do three things to figure out if you should add this to your outreach list:
1. Check the website’s Alexa Ranking
Check to see that the outlet has a high Alexa Ranking. This means that the website is relevant and indexed by Google, with significant traffic.
To do this, go to Alexa at https://www.alexa.com and type / copy the URL of the blog or site.
You want to check for the following:
- The result is less than 1,000,000. The smaller the better in this case.
- Information about the website pops up.
- It has traffic going to it.
2. Check the website’s traffic
Check to see that there’s significant traffic going to the website. It’s sometimes difficult to determine what “significant” traffic means so we’ll use a tool called Similar Web.
Go to https://www.similarweb.com/ and type/copy the URL of the blog or site.
If the Traffic Overview section is nonexistent because there’s not enough data, you might want to move on. Websites with significant traffic typically have a considerable following and will be able to make an impact on the bottom line for you.
3. Check the website’s social media numbers
The site may not have a high Alexa ranking but it could very well have some strong social media numbers.
Look at their social links to be sure if you should scrap or keep the website on your list.
Key channels to take a look at our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Check to see follower count, engagement metrics and comments.
As a final note for this point, if they don’t have any of these three things going for them, quickly move on and find the outlets that do.
The possibilities of more people seeing your posts need to be strong in order to make this PR effort worthwhile.
Step 4: Hone down on the compelling reason
Creating great content that is not only about your campaign.
It’s also about getting something that is beneficial to the journalists’ community.
Sure you think your product is oh-so-fascinating and incredibly earth-shattering. But you need to spin it in a way that readers will also want to know about your product.
Their readers need to want to read about your content.
To succeed, you must understand what will motivate the journalists’ readership.
Offer the journalist that compelling reason to write about you and your campaign.
This is one of the most difficult parts to execute. You have to put yourself into the shoes of the readership. Look at what type of content they’ve been reading and pitch your campaign in a similar way.
Approach each journalist individually. Explain to them what you’re doing. Offer a compelling reason. Create exclusive articles or content that would appeal to each of their individual readerships.
Step 5: Engage with the journalist before you pitch
Never underestimate the importance of connections.
Again, take this opportunity to start a conversation before you pitch your campaign.
Create that relationship before you become a giant billboard for your own crowdfunding campaign.
Take the time to engage with the journalists on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and wherever else they are present.
Get on their radar by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts.
Get to know what your key journalists want and how they work by following them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and any other social networks they may have.
Get examples of what they’ve written so you can reference them later.
Step 6: Create the perfect story
If you’ve been following these steps you’ll now know the needs of your journalist and their readership.
Tweak your story so that it also includes the compelling reason in mind.
Put yourself in the journalists’ shoes and think about what aspects of the story are the most newsworthy for their readers.
What makes this story interesting? Is it the cause that drives it, the current affairs that link it, the emotion it brings up, the large amount you have already raised or the fact that this product will revolutionize the coffee making experience for the everyday Joe?
Adjust your story to each journalist and their audience (that compelling reason!) and remember to include the 5 W’s of journalism:
Be sure to include clear links to your landing page and/or your crowdfunding campaign page.
Step 7: Write a compelling pitch email
Your subject line is crucial in drawing the journalist’s attention.
There are 2 types of subject lines that work particularly well:
The Straight Pitch.
Label the subject line as ‘STORY IDEA’ or ‘PITCH’, followed by a concise heading that summarizes your story.
By writing the subject line in this way, the journalist knows what to expect when they open the email. This also can pique their interest in the most concise manner.
The Related Pitch.
Refer to their previous article in the subject line. For example: ‘Following up on [Previous Article Title]’
They’ll recognize their own article in the subject line and appreciate that you’ve read something they wrote.
Get those brownie points to go towards building that relationship.
From email marketing best practices, we know that on mobile, 50 characters is the sweet spot.
Remember that you’ll want to constantly be testing and modifying your subject line for the best opens and response rates.
In the body of the email, make sure to refer to the journalist by name! This builds on that personalization we talked about earlier. It also says that you took the time to write to them individually.
After that, get straight to the point in the first couple of lines. As a reminder, a journalist gets hundreds of pitches a day. Getting to “good relationship” status is step 1 in securing your story, step 2 is diving straight to the compelling reason and not wasting their time.
Explain who you are (if you’ve built up the relationship enough, they should recognize you right off the bat!), the topic of the press release and why you thought it would be of interest to them.
Include a clear link to your landing page or crowdfunding campaign page. Either attach your press release or paste the press release at the bottom of the email.
Be sure to include clear contact details and make sure you are available to respond and help meet their deadlines.
It’s quick, clean, and to the point.
Here’s a good place to start:
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself, give them a link to your company, and show them you’ve done your research by offering that compelling reason
Paragraph 2: Give them the news (link), tell them you have more to offer, give them another compelling reason in case the first one just doesn’t jive with them at the moment.
Paragraph 3: Offer your phone number or email address. Let them know when you’ll be available to talk and that you’re here to answer any questions.
Paragraph 4: Thank them and be sure to use their name again. People love seeing and hearing their name.
Remember that this is a high-level introduction to your project so a few lines is enough.
If they’re interested you’ve opened the door to continuing the conversation in much more detail.
Step 8: Follow up
After sending your pitch, give it at least 1–2 days before taking more action.
If you hear back straight away — you’re in luck!
Make sure to respond to any questions as soon as possible.
Journalists are working towards tight deadlines. Whether or not they can feature your story will depend on how fast they can put it together for the next impending deadline.
If you don’t hear back, the next step is a follow-up email. Test out a different subject line this time.
Mention your earlier email and offer a third compelling reason.
If at this time the journalist decides it isn’t right for them, that’s OK. Accept defeat, but be sure to ask for some positive feedback, so you can take it to your next journalist target.
This next one is important: don’t follow up more than once, you don’t want to come across as pushy or impatient.
Remember that journalists work towards very tight publishing deadlines and have only limited time available to explore new stories.
Usually, it takes a few days for them to respond, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back immediately.
Sometimes, they may even feature your story without responding to your email. They just have that little time.
Aim for a 10-20% success rate with contacting the right journalist with a story that is relevant to them and their readership. This means the more you research the better your chances!
Step 9: Thank the journalist
If the journalist releases an article about you, be sure to thank them for their time and effort! Show them that their support is greatly appreciated.
Do them a favor too and share the resulting article with your community on your social channels, and in your crowdfunding updates.
If the journalist features your story, they’re more likely to cover you again in the future (yes!).
Make sure you keep them in the loop as you hit milestones throughout your campaign. They have the power to go back to update their original article and release new content about your campaign.
Bonus Step: Put the article to good use!
Seriously, be sure to share the online press support in as many locations as possible. It is a fantastic way to show potential backers that there is merit to your crowdfunding campaign. They’ll be more likely to support your campaign with this type of press support.
Remember: a social proof is key.
People believe what other people say more than they believe what you say. That’s why word-of-mouth referral is still the strongest referral tool out there and why you want this social proof everywhere.
This is one of the best ways to leverage the digital PR you have received so it adds high value to your campaign.
Also, make sure to the article amongst your social networks as well as on your campaign page to keep the momentum going.
Those who have pledged to your campaign always have the option to refund their donation during the campaign period. Keep them happy and engaged in the campaign by showing them these articles.
It helps to validate their purchase.
It can also drive them to potentially share your campaign with others in their network.
Another trick to make this feature work even more for you?
Share this in your email to other journalists.
It shows other journalists that your campaign is newsworthy. Also shows the other journalists that they’re not just going out on a limb to write about you, someone else also already has!
What not to do when working with PR
We’ve just gone through a lot of things you SHOULD do.
Just as important are the things you shouldn’t do.
They’re the little things that you think will help to make your story more interesting or accurate, but that will really just make reporters roll their eyes and delete your email or ignore your call.
There’s even a Twitter account, Dear PR, dedicated to pointing this out. It’s a journalist letting people know what to do when working with PR. It’s sarcastic, witty and informative. The classic trifecta for a golden handle to follow on Twitter. Check them out for information and lots of giggles.
Now, let’s go over some of the key things NOT to do when you’re working on your PR.
For the love of the almighty being.
Even if you genuinely believe your new product or app will be the greatest innovation since sliced bread, don’t overuse words like “breakthrough” or “revolutionary” in your pitch. That will, without a doubt, trigger all gag reflexes and send your email into the inbox trash faster than you can say “oops”.
Instead, get specific with reasons why people will be interested in your product and that throw in that compelling reason. For example, your tea-loving readership can now steep their favorite black tea completely hands-free!
DON’T overuse jargon
Don’t get bogged down with too many industry-specific details or jargon.
This is true even if you’re pitching a highly technical publication and a knowledgeable journalist.
It’s not that likely that this will be what grabs their attention first.
It’s the relationship, the compelling reason and how you show you’ve done your background research to send through something extremely tailored.
So you’ve got someone’s attention and they’ve agreed to cover your story. Great!
Now is NOT the time to turn off your phone or consider your pitching job done.
It’s incredibly irritating for a journalist who’s agreed to cover a story to suddenly find themselves an hour before their deadline without all the pertinent information they need just because their contact at the company is nowhere to be found.
Even if last-minute issues come up, it definitely helps to keep the reporter informed.
This helps to establish a good relationship for down the line.
You might even still be able to arrange a feature later once everything is sorted out with your project.
And honestly, keeping them in the loop is just plain old polite.
DON’T give up
While you don’t want to come off as pushy or annoying, reporters have been known to take a second look if you’re persistent.
This goes back to the points about preparing several compelling reasons for a publication. You have to get to know their readership and the types of stories the journalist covers.
In your follow-ups, be polite and pleasant.
It helps to make sure you’re offering something new and timely each time you contact the same journalist.
If you’re pitching the same old story again and again in the same way, you’re probably out of luck. The silence is just the journalists’ way of telling you that they’re not interested and you’ll be wasting your time.
If you’re ready to get to work reaching out to press, I’ve put together the Media and Press Pack for you.
Inside, you’ll get the Product Pitch Template, Product Pitch Example, Press Kit Template and Crowdfunding Outreach Guide to help you secure media coverage for your launch.
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