Public relations

What should you include in a press release email to tech-blogs on your go live date?

Lawrence Botley Software Architect

September 4th, 2013

Should be be breif with bullet to get the writers attention or give much more details?

Ryan Singel Founder at Contextly

September 4th, 2013

If doing it on your own, don't send a press release. It will not do you any good unless you are Google or Facebook. Believe me, I was a tech writer for a decade.

Personalize the email. Send it to the right writer. Have a good subject line. Tell a story. Don't beg for coverage. Include links to videos/images/logos. Give your contact info. Send it yourself. Work the food chain. Figure out why you want publicity.

Caleb Garling Writer

September 4th, 2013

I'm a tech writer and can tell you that both "writing the article" for them and "sucking up" are wrong. Keep the pitch short, like a few hundred characters short. I usually tell people to write the pitch in a tweet and then copy and paste. DO NOT use drivel like "market leading" or "ground breaking technology." Use plain terms for what the news is.

But include more information in an attachment. If the writer's interested, they'll open it. If you put all that information in the email, it'll look like a diatribe that no writer will read. And frankly sucking up ("Hey, I loved that article you wrote about X!" "Hey, I like microbrews too!") make you look fake and silly. No writer believes you actually want to be their friend.

Straight talk. Best of luck.

Lawrence Botley Software Architect

September 4th, 2013

Well clearly grammar and a careful readthrough should be priority! 
long day coding :)

Ryan Singel Founder at Contextly

September 4th, 2013

Caleb is right if you are looking for anything substantive AND you are looking to build a connection to that writer. In that case, be short, pithy and engaging. But if you are looking for coverage from a site where writers publish 4-10 stories a day, err on the side of giving them alot (though in an attachment works). But use bullet points. Don't send a wall of text. Have a video that can be embedded - give direct link and embed code. And Caleb is absolutely right - do NOT try to be a reporter's friend. It's good to show you know they cover X subject, but don't go for cheap flattery. And my final piece of advice: don't approach this as you trying to get something from them. Think of it the OTHER way; you have something they don't know about (and their job is to know about things and write about them): Be a source, not a supplicant.

Michael Barnathan

September 4th, 2013

Give details - in fact, basically write the article for them (figure out what your punchlines or key messages are and weave the article around those). The more you put, the less effort they'll need to do on their own, and most journalists are very strapped for time. If you put too little, even if it's just an "I'll send you more if you're interested", chances are you won't hear a reply.

Brian McConnell

September 4th, 2013

Its more about sucking up to them. Most of the tech blogs are not journalists. Lots of shady ethics and insider baseball. They mostly write about who got money from people they know. The main question for you is why you need them. A front page story on TC will get you a few hours of heightened traffic but no customers. I'd focus

Michael Barnathan

September 4th, 2013

(I witnessed the outcome of both approaches firsthand in the past couple of weeks, having first tried it myself without luck, and then hiring a PR firm that managed to get the company featured in TechCrunch and CNET, among others).

Lawrence Botley Software Architect

September 4th, 2013

@Michael - that's the conundrum I have, I think I will follow your advice. My startup is social and content based so for me its numbers

Michael Barnathan

September 4th, 2013

I have numbers on this. TC took my app's conversions from 200 to 5,000 in the course of a week, and about 2/3 of these users are active. Not "customers" in the traditional sense because my app is free, but definitely much more engagement than I was raising on my own.

I think PR is most useful when nobody knows about your app - it raises awareness very quickly. You still have to attract and keep users with a great product and solid value proposition, though.

Caleb Garling Writer

September 4th, 2013

PS: Sorry if that comes off as harsh. Just writing quickly. 

PPS: Listen to everything Ryan says. He's smarter than me.