You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating the best crowdfunding campaign possible—whether rewards-based or equity—and you’ve launched it with great anticipation.
You’ve sent a press release to bloggers and journalists…only to hear the email equivalent of crickets. You’ve seen no traction on social media, and the days continue to tick by. What is going wrong? It could be the way you worded the press release, or your product’s branding—or it could just come down to you and your approach.
The key to working well with media professionals is having a sharp understanding of how they work, what they like, and what annoys them. Take a look at the list below to see if you might be an offender of one of our press pitching no-no’s.
- Not doing your research
You would never walk into a pitching meeting without considering your audience—be it composed of investors, partners, or clients. Emailing the press is no different. Journalists have their assigned beats, but their angles and interests within a beat vary, and you need to know what they are in advance. The reason this is so important is that you can count members of the press as influencers. When they write and talk, people listen. So how do you begin to identify them? Research—there’s no getting around it.
- Read articles by the bloggers and journalists you are planning to contact. Lots of them.
- Follow and monitor these contacts on social media—particularly where they are most active.
- Address your press contacts by name when you reach out to them.
- Be sure you contact potential influencers who cover your space and are a confirmed fit for your pitch (no guesses).
- In your outreach efforts, reference specific articles, reviews or interviews influencers have written that relate to your campaign. Show them you know them—and their work.
A journalist or blogger won’t take you seriously (nevermind reply to you) if your campaign is not relevant to what they cover. Make the job of the journalists you cover easy: make sure you’re pitch matches their beat or niche.
- Spamming your contacts
Journalists and bloggers get a ton of email, and won’t hesitate to mark your email as spam the second they see it’s auto-generated.
Do not add members of the media to your MailChimp list. Never (ever) BCC multiple reporters in the same, generic email. The “spray and pray” approach may be effective in getting your message out fast, but it won’t get you heard.
Shoot straight by customizing your outreach efforts. Treat journalists and bloggers like people, not like robots who must do your bidding. Use their name in your communications; let them know you know who they are and what they’re about (this won’t be a problem if you follow rule #1).
- A pitch that’s too long
You’ve worked hard; you have a great offering and foresee an exciting future. But here’s the thing: journalists and bloggers don’t care. They are busy. They have deadlines. They have more coffee to drink. If they can’t find the news hook within a few seconds (literally, seconds) of reading your email, they will move on. Again, make their job as easy as possible and they will like you. And when they do, they will cover you—happily—because you made it easy.
As for the body of your pitch, skip the long introduction on your company and the background of the team. Rather than start with “Here is who we are and what we do,” begin with: “Here’s how we are going to change the world / revolutionize healthcare / disrupt the way you eat oatmeal,” etc. Spell it out, be concise, skip the fluff, and get to the heart of the matter.
- Not offering anything new—or newsworthy
Journalists are tasked with investigating, reporting, and keeping their audiences as informed as possible. Bloggers publish posts that provide some type of value for their audience. They are not interested in promoting products, services, people or companies just for the sake of it—so don’t ask them to. Your pitch needs to have valuable, newsworthy elements.
Take a step back and ask yourself, “If I were not personally tied to this (insert campaign, product, offering), would I think this pitch should be covered by the media?” If not, revise your text to emphasize the innovative characteristics of your offering. If appropriate, incorporate a current event or business trend that helps you tell your story.
- Failing to use your people skills
Cold contacting a reporter can lead to a story if your pitch is newsworthy enough—and if you’ve taken the time to develop a rapport beforehand. Whether your approach is over the phone, in-person, or over social media, take the time to be personable, offer your perspective, and answer questions.
This is no doubt easier said than done, but when it comes to social media, it’s never been easier to do digital outreach, establish connections, and become recognized as someone who is solutions-oriented. When you incorporate this approach in your social media strategy, you are laying the groundwork for a responsive and supportive network of contacts.
When a blogger or journalist write an article you agree with, reach out and let them know. If you have a different take on a topic, politely (it should go without saying that this is key) reach out and offer your viewpoint. Offer to do interviews, and don’t hold back from providing your perspective or analysis. Don’t limit your media outreach just when you need something, and make sure you have an authentic, compelling reason for doing so.
Media outreach is an art form. There is no one “right way” to talk to a journalist or blogger. They all have their preferences and quirks. But, if you steer clear of the five common mistakes outlined above, you’re more likely to successfully communicate your pitch, and create interest in reporting it. Because when it comes to a crowdfunding campaign, the more eyes you get, the more you increase your chances of hitting your target.
When it comes to writing a press release, sometimes the words don’t exactly flow. We feel you. The CTC team has created a “DIY Press Release” you can use to get started, and ensure you hit all the checkboxes of information that should be included. Download it, and keep it tucked away for those moments when you’ve got writer’s block, or unsure if you’ve covered all the important elements. Good luck!