Expert Journalists Share Their Best Tips for Startups Seeking Media Coverage

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Media coverage can make a huge difference in taking a startup to the next level. It brings credibility that can’t be bought by an early-stage company. And nothing sells your company or product to investors or potential customers better than an impartial third party talking about it.

But when pursuing media attention, startups often make mistakes that do more harm than good. Many startups struggle to develop pitches that reporters and bloggers would find interesting, relevant or newsworthy. Plus, there is a lot of competition from hundreds, if not thousands, of other startups looking for coverage.

So how do startups break through the noise to capture the attention of reporters and bloggers who are being inundated with pitches? There are several ways to improve your startup’s chances of getting coverage.

MUST READ: How to Attract Media Coverage

“Economics matter,” said Rafe Needleman of Maker Media at the sixth-annual Grow Conference in Whistler. “Stories will only exist if they are expected to generate enough interest.”

“We’re very conscious about what’s going to move the needle with our readers,” added Sean Silcoff of The Globe and Mail. “We track trends.”

“Sometimes you plan an article that you expect to get a lot of pageviews, it might not,” noted Sarah Buhr of TechCrunch. “And sometimes you don’t think something will do well and it blows up.”

RELATED: Public Relations for Startups 101

Where do journalists find their best stories?

“Mostly through personal relationships,” said Silcoff.

“Some of the best stories come from being at an event and getting a unique tip,” said Buhr. “Those can be personally gratifying.”

How do startups get the attention of bloggers?

“The secret is to have a really good product,” said Needleman. “That helps a lot. If you have something unique, then it’s hard for the journalist to screw up the story. But the best pitch in the world won’t work if it’s a boring company.”

“Tell a story,” said Silcoff.

SEE ALSO: How Startups Should Pitch Media

Don’t mass email, they all agreed. “A personal touch helps,” Needleman said. “I’ll pay attention to a personalized, cold email from a CEO or inventor.”

To cut through the noise of overly crowded inboxes, get straight to the point. “Be very clear,” said Buhr. “I don’t have the time to look through everything.”

“Don’t let your email read like it came out of an algorithm,” said Silcoff.

91% of journalists prefer to be pitched by email. But no more than one follow-up, suggested Buhr. And give writers as much advance notice as possible, noted Silcoff, even if it has to be under embargo.

And, above all, don’t forget: “Journalists are people,” said Buhr.

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