When you're bootstrapping your startup from your basement suite, media relations is often the default responsibility of the non-tech cofounder. For those who haven't already navigated the emotional peaks and valleys of a PR job, the effort can be daunting. Nevertheless, when you finally get through to someone, you forge a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. In the past few weeks a number of startup companies have asked for feedback on their pitches. Rather than getting into the gritty details, we thought we'd offer a couple of helpful tips:
1. Know Your Audience: We're not asking you to know our kid's names or stalk us on Facebook, we're asking you to know the ReadWriteWeb audience. Our readers come to us for web-related product reviews, features and trends. We generally don't write on gadgets or events, and we certainly don't cover feline toilet solutions. Figure out what the writer wants and deliver on it. If you don't hit the nail on the head the first time, then try a different angle in a couple of months.
2. Message Delivery: Try to research the best methods to send your pitches. As per our past article, ReadWriteWeb prefers to receive pitches via tips[at]readwriteweb.com. You can also send us your RSS feed and we'll keep tabs on your regular updates.
3. Embargoes: An embargo gives reporters a head start on writing an article before news is publicly released. ReadWriteWeb does everything in its power to honor embargoes; however, many bloggers openly oppose them. As a rule of thumb, get a verbal agreement to the embargo before forwarding any sensitive documents.
4. The Difference a Day Makes: Slow days are great days to offer demos and pitch company features. The ReadWriteWeb team still works on Friday mornings and Sunday nights despite the fact that few PR pros pitch us on those days. Rather than pitching at the same time as a mid-week Apple release or major acquisition, consider pitching us when you know we're looking for stories.
5. Don't Use a Template: We don't care how your pitch is formatted as long as it's interesting. You could string together a thousand buzzwords and get lumped in with your competitors or you could stand apart with a simple paragraph explanation and a link. If you pitch in a voice and style that's true to you, your passion will come through.