Press can serve a lot of purposes but one of the main ones is credibility. As 19-year-olds working on a startup during college, credibility mattered a lot for us.
But it especially mattered for the product we were building: a product that helped empower the blind via object recognition. Why? Targeting the visually impaired is quite difficult; you can’t use traditional marketing techniques like social media. Instead, we relied on press to capture the attention of our relatively unconnected audience. Indeed, we found that sighted readers would almost definitely recommend our product to their visually impaired relatives and friends.
After being featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider, SIRIUSXM Radio, and HuffingtonPost among others, we learned three major principles when it comes to pitching journalists.
The first basic principle behind finding press–as it is with selling anything–is to understand what’s in it for the other party. If you want to sell something, you have to show the other party–the journalist–that it’s in their interest to write about you.
At the end of the day, media companies are businesses. How do they make money? Ad revenue. How do you increase ad revenue? Increase number of potential clicks by increasing page-views. How do you increase page-views for a story? Make sure it’s “juicy” and that people want to share it on social networks.
Ultimately the question many journalists may use when determining whether to write about a company is: is your story juicy enough so that enough people who read it share it, and then those who read a shared article share it, and on and on?
Students have it easier than most everyone when it comes to press. Since we’re in school, we know we aren’t expected to be working on anything interesting; we’re just supposed to be in the library all day, right? Since nobody expects students to do something interesting, when they do something interesting, people become immediately interested and they share it.