Press attention. It’s a two-word phrase that you’ve either been dreading or haven’t thought about at all. Either way, it’s very important that you be prepared to get press for your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign.
When you first launch your campaign, getting the attention of the press will be one of the biggest obstacles and biggest ‘bang for your buck’ payoffs available to you. The press can make or break a campaign, so you’d better get started as soon as possible.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared a list of tips for you to help you get more attention from the press.
1. Start Small
It might seem counterintuitive, but you should start small with your attempts. Don’t go shotgunning emails to the big league media organizations. Sure, one of them might pick up your story for airing, but the odds are small unless you have amazing connections.
Pro Tip: Don’t worry we have a strategy for getting big name press in tip number eleven.
But if you start small, you can get the attention of the bigger fish later. It might not seem like it to casual viewers of large media corporations, but the larger ones rely on the smaller ones to get their information. They scan through the lower level stories and pick out information and sources from that. Those, in turn, scan the lower levels beyond them, all the way down to the bottom, sometimes as low as the neighborhood newspaper office run out of a garage.
So get your press attention from someone small, then work your way up to the next level. When that level goes looking they’ll find someone else has already covered it, and that will increase the likelihood of them covering it too. And so forth it goes until you hit the big international media.
2. Pitch the Story
No one cares about being a PR copy-paste machine. Not even journalists. So don’t send the same pitch to every journalist you can find. Instead, try pitching your story. Tell the press about the struggles you’ve had to overcome and how they’ve helped you. Sell it to them like they sell their reports to you, as stories, not PR jargon. Do this effectively and you’ll be swimming in attention.
We talk in detail about the elements of a sticky story in our article on how to create a Kickstarter video.
3. Research Research Research
This may be the most dreaded part of the campaign for most people. But it shouldn’t be. You should embrace the research portion now because it can and will save you migraines, pain relievers, and more research down the line.
The most important thing to research is the journalist you plan to contact beforehand. See if they write or have written articles in the niche of your campaign. If they haven’t they might be less interested in your story.
But this shouldn’t stop you from contacting them. But you should definitely save them for later on rather than contacting them immediately. Go to the most promising journalists first and see what they have to say.
Write down the Journalist and contact information in a spreadsheet. If you need a press tracking outreach spreadsheet we created one here. You can make a copy for free.
4. Pitch it Now
You should pitch to the media as soon as you possibly can and then the day before and day of the launch.
If you take the word ‘News” and drop the “s” you are just left with “New”. That’s right, people don’t care if your campaign is old. It has to be new! That being said there is a paradox where large media will not want to cover your story unless other media
Some press might not publish for weeks or even months, so the sooner you can get to them the sooner they can get you the attention you’ll need.
5. The Influencer Needs Attention too
Ah, the influencer. The influencer might seem intimidating, but they’re usually not. In fact, they’re a very good place to start pitching. Journalists and other major news personalities typically follow influencers closely. This is because influencers are, as their title suggests, very influential.
Plus, if you do get an influencer on board with your campaign, you’re already going to get a lot of views on it even without the attention of the press. So it’s a win-win situation for you.
6. Avoid Major Events if at all Possible
This one might seem like either a no-brainer or completely the exact opposite of a good plan. But it’s actually neither.
If at all possible, avoid major events like the Super Bowl or a Presidential Election weekend. These events will almost guarantee that your story will be drowned out in all the buzz of the huge event. This will keep your story suppressed and, at the very least, force you to work harder later down the road to pitch your stuff a second time. If you have a short time limit on your campaign, this is less than ideal.
7. Use Amazing Photos and Videos
Whatever you do, don’t forget those all-important photos and videos. Media can more easily sell something to the public with a good photo or video than with words (even if they use a thousand of them). Photos and videos are a cornerstone of media, especially in the digital age, so make sure you send photos and videos.
Additionally, make sure the photos and videos are of very high quality. Don’t go around using a cell phone camera taped to a stick to take photos and videos. A horrible photo says a thousand negative words and a horrible video says more than 30,000 negative words per second.
8. Have Clear Contact Information
Contact information may be lost in the clutter of contacting the press, but it’s one of the most important points ever. No journalist is going to write about even the most amazing invention of all time if they don’t know who made it or how to contact them. They need to verify that this is the real deal. Each article is a reflection of their personal brand and the last thing they want to do is promote a Kickstarter scam. And even if it would be obvious to them if they visited your campaign page, they’re unlikely to do that. Reading all of that information and picking the pieces they need takes time, and journalists have busy schedules trying to compress as much information dissemination as possible into their work hours.
And even if it would be obvious to them if they visited your campaign page, they’re unlikely to do that before they decide to write or not. Reading all of that information and picking the pieces they need takes time, and journalists have busy schedules trying to compress as much information dissemination as possible into their work hours.
So never ever ever forget your contact information alongside everything else. It’ll save you a lot of headache in the future.
9. Allow Press to Write a Review
This may be the most non-obvious part of contacting anyone to get media attention. But it’s the part that’s most likely to make your campaign work.
It can be hard to make a ton of review copies, but it will be worth your time to do so. This affords the people you reach out to the opportunity to try the thing for themselves with little risk. In addition, it has the added effect of making their review and story more accurate and truthful. So get to making those review copies, because it will help you out a lot in both the short and long runs.
10. Create a Press Kit
Ah, the dreaded press kit. It’s probably the bane of existence of crowdfunding campaign first-timers, and certainly not among the most loved aspects of a crowdfunding campaign for veterans. But it’s very very worth the time and effort to create.
The press kit allows you to collect the stuff you need into one easy to find location that you can then send to those who need to see it. That’s actually its entire function.
Fortunately, we’ve written about press kits before you can learn what to put in your press kit here.
Well, that’s it for now. A nice tidy list of ten things you’ll need to get the press attention you need to have a successful campaign. It might seem intimidating at first, but if you follow these ten tips, you’ll be well on your way to the top 2% of crowdfunding campaigns.
11. How to get Big Press
To get big press you need to first get small press.
12. Stick Out
To be noticed in crowdfunding you have to stick out of the crowd. Make sure you present what makes your campaign different. Don’t be afraid to be a bit jarring. Look at other successful campaigns and you can see how they made a splash. If you want to be noticed, don’t be normal.
13. Build Relationships
If you can build relationships with reporters it will greatly help when it comes time to get articles published.
I’m going to be blunt. Everyone will tell you to “build relationships” but it’s really hard to do.
Reporters know what you are trying to do. Unless you have a natural conversation starter it is a bit awkward.
Here are a few tips to how to build relationships:
- Follow and interact on social media
- Comment on their articles
- Send helpful tips
- Go to events where press will be
- Help to distribute their work
14. Write a Press Release
It might be old school but having a press release is important if your campaign goes viral and you don’t have time to respond to every inquiry. It’s also a great exercise in structuring your thoughts and what the most important parts of your story are to the press.
15. Track Your Results
You want to make sure to track your results. Figure out what channels are best for driving actual donors. It is more important to get press that generates donations than views. Use the build in crowdfunding analytics dashboard in your crowdfunding platform to see what articles perform best.
16. Use new Social Media Channels
Since Kickstarter was founded in 2009 a lot has changed in social media. This means many great articles about crowdfunding have really outdated advice.
I have tried to focus on keeping a small number of articles continually updated. There are great social media channels that didn’t even exist in 2009.
Don’t be afraid to use these newer social media sites:
- Pinterest (launched 2010)
- Quora (launched 2010)
- Snapchat (2011)
- Google + (2011) Don’t laugh there are active groups on Google Plus
- Periscope Livestream (2105)
- Instagram Stories and Video (2017)
- Kickstarter Live (2017)
Press are not only on Facebook and Twitter. Look to find influencers in these networks that may not be as well known as reporters with major publications. Pinterest has many users with millions of followers in specific niches.
17. Start Early – It Pays Dividends
It takes a lot of time to get really good press. Start early and you will thank yourself later.
18. Don’t Lie
Don’t overpromise, don’t stretch the truth, don’t lie. This is an easy way to get in hot water. Press publications are putting their reputation on the line with every article they publish. Make sure you are truthful about how you portray your campaign.
19. Call in Favors
If you know someone, who knows someone, who’s brother works at Techcrunch, it might be worth a shot. If there ever was a time to call in a favor it is now.
20. Budget Time for Press Outreach
You will be surprised at how much time it takes to do press outreach. You need to do research, actually send correspondence, and then reply and followup. Make sure to budget a little time every day to work on getting press. It is a process and will take time.
An alternative is to hire a PR firm or virtual assistant to do outreach on your behalf. If you have time, I would recommend doing the outreach yourself.
There are some good outreach tools to make your job a bit easier. We listed them in our Kickstarter Tools Guide.
21. Don’t Fear Rejection
A lot of people will not open your email. Don’t be discouraged. This is a numbers game. Make sure to set a goal for the number of emails you want to send each day. Know ahead of time that only a small percent will get back to you and of those an even smaller percent will publish an article. It’s part of the game – no way around it!
22. Try Forums to Kickstart Noise
Your niche may have forums where passionate users talk about your content. They are often monitored by influencers in the space. It is a good idea to post a bit in forums and get feedback on your idea.
The key here is to not pitch too hard. Many will block you if your first post is promotional. It is best to register, contribute to a few threads, and then look at making a post. Make sure it has discussion value and is not 100% self-promotional.
23. You’re a Human So Use Tools
There are great tools for managing your press outreach. I listed many of them in my updated crowdfunding tools list.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Just Reach Out is a platform which allows you to find and reach out to journalists and bloggers in your space. It helps you search for and pitch stories that are relevant to the journalist. They also allow you to scan through Quora and Reddit posts to find the most relevant threads. When you do send an email, they are all tracks so you can see if the contact has opened the email or not. They make it easy to organize your media contacts into lists.
BuzzSumo allows you to find the most popular content on the internet after putting in a keyword. You can use this tool to find reporters who have written about similar topics before. Then you can contact them directly and pitch your campaign.
Pitchbox offers an outreach platform similar to Just Reach Out and BuzzSumo. They have easy to use tools for finding and contacting new influencers. They provide powerful tracking and statistics which help to see what pitch is working best. They are not cheap starting at $195 a month.
24. Great Photos
Make sure your photos are incredible. The press needs something visual to add to their article or post. If you don’t have a friend that is a photographer consider hiring a professional off of Craigslist. Terrific is just one of the keys to creating an amazing press kit.
25. Create an Awesome Video
The video is often the first thing that a potential reporter will watch. Make sure your video communicates your entire story. I put together a 2,000+ word step-by-step guide on how to create a DIY Kickstarter Video.
26. Offer an Exclusive
You can try to entice the press by offering an exclusive interview or allow them to publish their article first. This is a bit of a gamble so I would recommend offering them an interview with the founder.
27. Don’t be Desperate
Don’t beg and plead for press. It looks unprofessional and is an easy way to get a reporter to hit the “delete” button. Make sure to be confident in your campaign. Sending last ditch press emails is not a good use of your time.
28. Use Your Press for Social Proof
Once you get some press, you want to use that as social proof. Put the logos on your crowdfunding page and update as you get more press. Once you get a few large organizations that cover your story, you will find many more large organizations will cover you.
29. Hire an Agency or Freelancer
There are great agencies and freelancers that focus on helping crowdfunding campaigns. There are also a group of people selling snake oil. I think it is best to self-educate yourself in the strategy so you know who you need to hire.
Make sure to check references and call past clients. It is easy to promise a successful campaign but much harder to deliver.
Some agencies or freelancers offer to take a job for a lower fee and then get a percent of the total amount raised. This can help reduce the cost for you and better align their goals with yours. Just make sure that they must also meet a list of pre-defined activities to collect their percent.
30. Follow Up
Make sure to follow up in every stage of the process. See if they know when the article will go live or if there is anything else they need from you.
You want to keep the process moving without nagging. The key here is to be helpful and not annoying.