What's the most effective thing you did to get press?
In 2013 we ran a Kickstarter campaign for Allston Xmas, a comedic web-series about Boston's notorious citywide moving day. We got a lot of great coverage in the press for our campaign, and then even more for our official series release a year later.
My producer and I were asked so many times about how we got press that we wrote up our press strategy and shared it with the world:
How to Get Attention for Your Webseries on IndieWire
The article is focused on promoting a web-series, but a lot of the fundamentals are going to be the same for getting attention for any other project--find your audience, and make it easy for them to cover your story!
Here is what I have learned so far. In summary: Press are people too. Make it easy for them.
Most of my press came in after my event was over, but I now will apply what I have learned about the media to my next Kickstarter campaign. Press begets press - if you are easy to work with, press will contact you again for other stories.
Be Original You need to know what is newsworthy/innovative/different about your project. If you can work that in to your campaign, that will help journalists see the value in a story.
Be Open Press cannot get in touch with you if they don't know how. Make sure your telephone number and email are easily accessible. Also be open to what defines "press." Most press is good press. Be open to talking with bloggers and/or non-traditional media.
Be Responsive Press inquiries often come through email, but can also come through Kickstarter or Facebook messaging. You will want to check inboxes frequently and respond immediately. Most press inquiries I have received have given very little lead time, meaning they have a deadline and you will lose your chance to participate if you don't respond in a timely manner.
Be Ready You will be better at talking with the media if you prepare your talking points ahead of time. Try to anticipate the questions they might ask you and craft your responses. Think about the #1 message you want to get across about your campaign or product.
Be Available There was one NPR radio interview in another state for which I was first contacted two hours before broadcast. I always find a way to do press.
Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty (Quote is title of Harvey McKay's excellent book on networking) After your initial contact with press, develop ongoing relationships with press people who write about your area. Retweet them and share their work. Share articles/trends with them that are not self-promotional.
I think a big part of getting press is catching the eye of the right people, but what worked best for us was first contacting local news stations, and news papers. They are generally interested and excited to share stories about anything local. Once you start getting stories done about your project on local stations it may get shared around to other news stations and spread. You can also contact other larger news stations/websites/blogs once you have a couple stories done on your by local blogs or news stations, the larger groups will be more interested in you once your story has been covered by someone else. We started with our local news stations in Portland and then contacted the today show, sharing a link to the story from our local news station. We soon herd back! You never know who might be interested in sharing your story.
Don't expect to hear back from everyone and just keep trying. Be sure to target groups who deal with products like yours.
Samples. If you can provide samples (free) to journos or bloggers, they are more likely to post about as they can feel it, use it, test it, take photos of it for their own audience. It makes them feel more authoritative about your product which enables them to write freely about it. If not, all they are doing is regurgitating a press release that went to everyone which their readers/viewers will see through in an instant.
Give them something real so they can be real for their audience....samples. Send them out at least 2-4 weeks before your campaign (longer is better depending on the project) and ask that they embargo their blog/story until the date of your launch. This can also work well for elongating the buzz during your campaign as not all press can work to your campaign launch date and might only post their piece a week or two after launch then, boom, another great press story in the middle of your campaign you can draw upon to find new backers...
Over the past 8 years we've been able to get most of our clients featured by the top tier publications including: Mashable, Techcrunch, Fast Company, Cnet, Business Insider, Forbes and the list goes on. There is one thing that has changed from back then to our present day. Writers now-days are skeptical of covering crowdfunded projects in general (most will tell you to come back to them when your product is available for purchase on Amazon or retail).
Unfortunately a lot of projects that got a ton of great press a few years ago, failed in the manufacturing process and left thousands of backers empty handed. A lot of those backers came from reading stories published by those writers..
So how can you get press in our current state of PR?
If you want to get noticed and featured by writers I would strongly suggest you start building relationships with them months before, and get prototypes available for their review. Writers will probably need 2-3 weeks from the moment they get the unit to finding the date to publish your story.
If you dont' have the funds to make the prototypes then shoot an amazing demo video that explains how your product or idea is unique from anything else currently available, and make sure you take some great looking product shots, lifestyle shots that media can use to go along with their write ups.
Do your research and find writers that have an interest in your topic, or that wrote about something similar in the past, follow them on twitter and comment with valuable feedback in their articles. This will also help you get a good feel of their tone and style! We once got a project featured by Robert Scoble because we found a a story angle pitch from a tweet he shared so it was a good way to get his attention.
Crowdco has been able to continuously get press for clients with a lot of hard work, researching and staying in the know of what writers want.
A really great tool you can leverage is signing up to H.A.R.O. (help a reporter out). You might just be the source a writer needs to write a huge story! So don't be shy, do your homework and be courteous with writers and you can get what you need.
What's the most effective thing you did to get press?
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