3 Steps to Get Press for your Startup (On a budget)

It boggles my mind that I still receive templated emails.  Have you ever seen an email that starts like this?

‘Hello Sir/Madam – We are a technology company specializing in products like yours that would like to talk to you about your business…’

Do they ever work? I know I’ve never responded to one and I only receive 3 or so a day. Now imagine what a reporter has to deal with – hundred of emails a day, all with boring subject lines and templates similar to the one above. Woof.


This is how I imagine reporters feel.

In today’s world, it’s not going to fly. Here are my 3 tips to help get press as a startup just starting out:

1. Get up close and personal.

Though it may be tempting to send out a mass email and bcc 50 reporters at a time, it likely won’t have the result you’re hoping for. Instead, make that reporter (or editor) feel special. Look them up on Twitter. See what they’ve written before. See what they re-tweet.

See what they’re proud of sharing with the world. 

Next, craft your email pitch to cater to them as a person, not as a reporter. Everyone wants to feel important, so make them feel important. It doesn’t have to be much — a simple one or two sentences at the start of your email:

Hey Bob, I really enjoyed your piece on ducks from last week – and even more enjoyed that you included a Mighty Ducks video at the end – brought me right back to 3rd grade. 

Hey Christina, I recently came across you on Twitter after my favorite restaurant, Charlie’s Pizza, re-tweeted your blog post. Have you tried their garlic knots? Unreal.


Garlic knots from the imaginary Charlie’s Pizza.

Even better, take note of their style of writing, and try to mimic it when sending your initial pitch. Is there a hint of sarcasm in their writing? Include a sly comment in your email. Do they use a lot of descriptive words? Add those in.

2. Take that additional step, because most people don’t.

Haven’t gotten a response back from a reporter or news outlet you really want? Sometimes, email isn’t enough. Going down the old school route can be the best way to reach someone in a world where emails get lost so easily.

If your product is easily shipped, send them a package to their office. Have you ever received a surprise at your desk before? I did once, and it made my day. If it’s not easily shipped, send something else that is different and eye-catching that relates to your product. Say you have a desk company that is using a giant forks as drawer handles instead of a traditional knob. Ship them that giant fork instead.

giant fork

This fork would be hard to ship, but you get the point.

They’ll be confused, but they’ll read what you include in the package, and they’ll be intrigued.

They day you ship out the package, send them a follow up email saying ‘Be on the lookout for a package full of giant forks tomorrow’ in the subject line. Who wouldn’t open that email?

3. Make it easy for them.

Most reporters will need to pitch the story and your brand to their editor before publishing it, so make it easy. Have a one to two sentence pitch that not only explains your brand but why it matters to the editor, to their publication, to their readers.

What it is. Why it matters.

If you’re able to condense this down to two sentences or less, it will help you not only with getting articles published, but explaining your brand to customers and to partners as you continue to grow.

More ideas on how to get press as a startup? Leave them in the comments below!