Having a good social presence is just one aspect of ensuring success for your release, but being covered by online outlets is key to complementing your potential impact. Let's look at the two most popular methods for getting press and the press kit you'll need to furnish them with.
If you decide to take the direct route; reaching out to media outlets yourself, the best practices include:
Outlining what you do and who your customers are. It also helps to list any relevant newsworthy trends you may be a part of, particularly if that writer/site has written about it recently.
You can offer an internal beta to the outlet, if your new version hasn’t been released yet. This added level of exclusivity is what journalists and editors thrive on.
Keep it short and and to the point, sending a friendly follow-up to them exactly a week later.
Don’t spam an entire team with requests, but be highly targeted. It’s all about reaching out to the right person, the commissioning editor may be better placed to help than a sporadic freelancer for the site.
Mike Butcher’s classic guide on how to pitch to journalists “the press release is dead- use this instead” forces you to ask yourself questions like “in simple terms, what does this startup/product do?”, “what is the problem this company is solving?/how has this product solved this problem?” and “describe it as if you were describing it to a non-tech person on the street”. Being able to answer questions like this allows you to get to the heart of what you do, and certainly the most concise way of explaining it to the press.
Additionally, Realmac founder Dan Counsell’s blog on getting press coverage for your app outlines the importance of having a story to tell, researching blogs you actually read and keeping a press list of people that work for each outlet. Being able to pitch to this list of contacts is a major key to getting press organically.
The PR Agency Route
If you prefer to utilize the services of a PR agency and their ready-made contacts, there’s a few things you’ll need to discuss to get the most out of them:
Whether you should hire them in-house, on retainer or on a project by project basis?
What their goals should be? Especially in terms of coverage for you. Are there certain trends/outlets you want to emphasize as well as things that have no interest to you?
Feedback is key to a good PR relationship, you’ll need to be honest with your agency. Its a two-way relationship though, and they can definitely help you manage expectations for realistic goals and potential deadlines.
You also need to find a way to measure these goals and standards and that they’re being adhered to. This can happen through regular catch-ups or a spreadsheet tracking what’s been done.
For either approach you’ll want to create a press kit, this gives easy access to resources for anyone looking to write about you. It could be sent out by your PR agency or available on your website. Let's break down the essentials for a comprehensive press kit:
A Bio This focuses on who you are and what you do. Basic information, yes, but essential to someone needing all the relevant info to write a story on you. If you can, showcase unique points of your story and how this could be honed into a feature for a journalist. Are you siblings who founded a company or did you come up with your concept when the problem personally affected you?
Pronouncing your Name A consideration for those with a unique company name should be to provide clarity on how its phrased, with capitals in the middle, numbers or seemingly random punctuation? This ensures consistency when people search come from reading an article about you.
Digestible Facts How many customers have you served? What are your total sales figures? How many countries do you operate in/sell to? These facts help a writer to flesh out how well your company is doing and what metrics you excel at.
Team Bios If you’re expecting people to write about your company, they’ll need to know who’s running it. This comes in the form of team bios, you can add a bit of personality in your expertise, where you’ve previously come from or just what you do in-between running the company.
Visual Assets Your logo, product screenshots, pictures of key staff. To find the essential sizings of a press kit, check out this Hubspot guide.
Shoutouts/ Press Mentions Any recent press coverage you’ve had, be it through articles/influential fans. Highlighting the best sound bites that can be quoted by journalists for their future pieces is a big help.
Contact Information You could create a separate email address for PR/list your PR agency’s email, for the press to contact you.
Your PR Route
Whether you choose to have a close relationship with media outlets or deal with them through a PR firm, you'll definitely need to gather information about your company ready to be distributed. This ultimately allows you to control the way you'll be percieved.