Bloggers and Journalists
There are 2 main groups of people in the media industry that you’ll want to inform about your project. They are: influential bloggers and journalists. Both groups of people wield very powerful influence, and can really help to broadcast your project to the mass audience. Your aim here is to compile a list of these peoples emails, and then make contact with them.
Influential bloggers: Followerwonk and Klout are two very useful tools to find influential bloggers in your niche, ranked by influence metrics.
Journalists: Press Pass, and Help A Reporter Out(HARO) are two excellent ways to start looking for journalists in order to get press.
Other good places to search for their email are newspapers and editorial sites (like Techcrunch, Lifehacker). I also find Rapportive to be a free, and very useful Gmail plugin to help find emails that you are looking for.
Do bear in mind though, that you either have to pitch a very good story, or help them out first (as in the case of HARO), in order to get press publicity. After all, why should they help you, a stranger, when there’s nothing in it for them?
3 best practices when working with PR agencies:
Getting press to agree to cover your campaign in their articles is only half the battle. The other half is coordinating with them, the release date of your articles. It’s important to plan your PR release properly. PR can be a very powerful tool to drive traffic into your campaign page, but if not used properly can backfire on your efforts.
Set a PR Embargo date
A PR embargo date is a preset date whereby press outlets agree to release an article on your campaign at the same day, same time. The reason for an embargo is because you’ll want to maximise the usefulness of PR releases.
Without an embargo date, a major media site might release your article too early on in the campaign, before you have even achieved 20-30% of funding! The social validation might not be convincing enough for these people from PR to fund your project.
The other reason is because without an embargo date, chances are higher that websites will not want to feature your campaign. This is because most major media sites thrive on fresh content in order to make money. So if website A releases your article before website B, and website B reads the article about a week later, it’ll treat your article as old news, and so will be much lesser inclined to feature your story.
Request to cover only your campaign at the beginning. The product reviews should come later!
When you request for the media to feature your campaign, it is often that they will require you to send them a sample of your product for review first. My advice is DON’T, unless you’ve thoroughly tested and ensured that your product is working, at least for its basic functionality!
One painful lesson learnt from the Duet campaign, was that we sent in our product sample to TechCrunch too early for review. The problem was that Duet had not been thoroughly tested enough, and we were slightly overconfident. What happened when our sample reached TechCrunch was nothing short of a nightmare: the reviewer wrote that the mobile app’s interface looked really poor!
That negative review alone drove a big fat total of zero traffic leads to our campaign page. And TechCrunch is the world’s most read tech blog. We had missed a major opportunity to drive traffic in.
The lesson learnt here is to only ask media sites to cover the crowd funding campaign itself in their writeups, and not the actual product review at the beginning.
Consider releasing your PR releases over a few phases in the campaign
Remember the old wise saying: Don’t put all your eggs into one basket? The same principle applies to PR releases. Don’t exhaust all your PR releases only at the beginning of the campaign.
A better idea would be to plan for two PR article releases: one at the beginning, and midway through your campaign, with at least two different story angles. This is to ensure that throughout the duration of your campaign, it is constantly showing momentum in the number of pledges in the funding bar.
An example would be to first release at the beginning of your campaign, a PR story solely dedicated about the launch of your product campaign. And only midway through the campaign, a second PR release on a review of your product.