Let's face it, the only way to really get your startup off the ground is through tireless, frustrating work. Anyone who has begun the process knows well the long hours, the neat constant struggle and the process of moving through each new stage and milestone with the emotional ups and downs that come along with it. It is just all a part of the journey.
But that doesn't mean we aren't all looking for a leg up. Especially when it comes to being featured by one of the well respected media giants on the web. Mashable, Endadget, Gizmodo and Tech Crunch are the most commonly cited dream features from most startups on the web. Given their massive user base and popularity, that isn't a surprise.
So, how do you get them to take notice? That question was asked on Quora and there have been absolutely awesome answers. Here are my takeaways:
- Provide an exclusive. No matter what the blog, it will be looking for exclusives. But TechCrunch and Mashable are especially interested in being the first to see a story go out. Which means they will actively kill stories if they find out that someone released or leaked it first. If someone else is planning on publishing a feature, you have no chance of getting a post on either of these blogs.
- Make sure the appeal of the story is a broad one. Both blogs are syndicated, and with big name media sources like CNN, Forbes and USA Today. So you can't have a startup that only appeals to a small, niche audience. It has to have a broader appeal that can be picked up by any of these publications for a followup. Even if your company is very specific in their target user base, if you can find a way to make it interesting for almost anybody, you have a shot.
- Be direct in your pitch. A lot of people make the mistake of droning on and on in their email pitches. Which none of the reporters or editors appreciate. Because they all get hundreds of emails per day, all with requests for features, you have to get and hold their attention. Which means being direct, succinct and offering all of the details within a couple of sentences. Tell them what your product or business does, when it was started or is launching, give a link to whatever video or page you think is relevant and leave it at that.
- Get someone trusted in the industry to vouch for your startup. One of the fastest ways into a feature is by being endorsed by someone in the industry that is trusted and well known within the behind-the-scenes circle of people at one of these blogs.
- Make sure you improve your product prior to release. Let's say you manage to catch someone's attention, get an endorsement and you are given a post on an exclusive review. That's great! What isn't so great is that you didn't pre-release some kind of beta that allowed people to try it out first. This led to bugs, and so the product you launch doesn't work properly. Now, you have your feature. But it is a brutal post essentially tearing apart your startup for making something that isn't up to scratch. No one wants that. Contact them early, long before release. Make sure it works properly and improve it before the final product is reviewed.
- Know who you are asking. It is better to already have some level of a relationship with the press before you start asking them to do things for you. This is a basic of business PR; you don't want to come off as a media leech, after all. Take some time to get acquainted with writers, editors, reporters and their work. Try commenting on blog posts, corresponding via email and just becoming a regular face instead of someone in the endless crowd.
- Use the proper media. I have heard of blogs cutting features because they didn't have the proper media to go forward with it. No joke; they won't waste their time if they don't have visuals to go along with it that are easily shared and avoid potential copyright issues. Have prepared thumbnails, images, embedded videos and various other media in a press pack, ready to go out.
Do you have some tips for getting a startup featured on a blog giant? Let us know in the comments!