So, you’re in the process of launching a crowdfunding campaign and want to drum up some positive media attention. You may have heard a lot about how important PR is for new product launches, but how do you actually go about it?
A slew of blogs and websites have shared insights on the basics of PR and marketing for crowdfunding campaigns, but what’s the best way to get a reporter to actually notice your venture? How do you actually get them to write about it? Keep reading.
I write about design and construction for a handful of digital and print publications. It’s my responsibility to field pitches for new products and services by manufacturers of all sizes. Some of these firms are well established in their industry and I’m aware of their track record of bringing quality products to market. Others, less so. Unfortunately, start-ups without a proven product history fall into this category.
As crowdfunding becomes an increasingly popular to-market approach for entrepreneurs with promising business ideas, I’ve seen an increase in my own coverage of small and large firms running crowdfunding campaigns. Few, however, reach out directly with their pitch.
Instead, I spend a few hours each week browsing the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo to check out new campaigns. That means private crowdfunding ventures often fly under my radar, as well as those in the early days of their campaign that may be having trouble drumming up support.
Though I can’t speak for every reporter, I can suggest a few tactics based on my own experience to aid in getting on a reporter’s radar. Check out some of the tips below.
1. Contact Information
When you reach out initially, provide an email, phone number, and full name for the individual in charge of your media relations. Also, note their relationship to your company.
Are they a contract public relations representative? One of the founders? It’s helpful to know whether the person I’m contacting will be providing answers to my questions or simply connecting me with someone who can.
2. Identify Yourself
Who are you? Where did you–and your idea–come from? Help me validate your pitch and gauge whether I can trust your claims by linking to your website and campaign page, on which I’d recommend including background information for founders and others involved with the project and links, where relevant, to personal LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter accounts.
3. Social Media Presence
Pick the right channels for your brand, be it Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or the many other platforms. Have a presence and make it easy for me to find you (see #2). It’s not just for my own background research, either. Once I write the piece, I’d like to promote it on my own brand’s social media channels and tag or mention your venture to ensure the piece gets in front of its intended audience.
4. High Resolution Photos
Publishing images with the article about your venture in print and online helps my readers understand just what it is you’re peddling. Be able to provide a handful of high-resolution images of the product on a neutral background. Pro tip: Avoid including human hands in the picture–this is particularly prescient for apps or other tech products.
5. Comprehensive Press Release
Plenty of blogs can tell you how to write a press release. I can give you a few ideas about what a reporter is looking for when deciding whether or not to write about you: Product name, brand story (how did this widget come to be), when it’ll likely be commercially available if it’s not already, who developed the product, how it works and what need it meets, how big it is, what it is made out of, whether or not it’s available in different colors or models, what the crowdfunding money will be used for, etc. Also include the name, email, and phone number of the best person to contact to learn more about the product (see No. 1).
6. Time To Talk
The stock quotes in your press release aren’t enough for most reporters. Be ready to spend 20 to 30 minutes talking on the phone about the product or service. I advise outlining your brand message and preparing two or three big takeaways that can help guide my understanding of your product or service and subsequently reinterpret that to readers.
In short, while a media write-up shouldn’t be your sole public relations objective, understanding what reporters are after when they are deciding whether or not to cover your venture can go a long way toward getting the press coverage you’re after. Though I’ll admit that the real guarantee is the quality of your venture, how you communicate that value is important. Have a product or service you’d like us to consider? Start at step No. 1: firstname.lastname@example.org.