Part of being an entrepreneur is getting your message out there. You’re doing something great, but the right people must find out about it to spread the word.
However, emailing is more than smashing some words into shape and sending them to every member of the press you can think of. To maximize your chances of coverage, you must approach things more carefully.
Here are some tips on how to attract the right people’s attention, and encourage them to cover what you do.
Target the right people
Don’t email every publication and hope they might make an exception for your project, even if they never cover something similar. Make optimal use of resources by targeting writers who specialize in your line of work, and who’ve written about comparable things in the past.
Refine your subject line
Sum up what you’re doing – and, if possible, why it’s good – in the shortest possible sentence. Use key words to attract attention. Keep rewriting. If you can knock off a few characters – or even some words – do so. And remember that spammy subject lines are a turn-off – so avoid them.
Get to the point
Journalists often receive hundreds of emails daily. If you’re fortunate enough that they’ll open yours, don’t think they’ll read your life story before they hit the sell. So don’t bury the lede: say right away what you’re doing, and why it would make a great story.
Make sure your message is news
Invented an amazing new product? Great. Revolutionized an industry? Fantastic. Excited about a major update to your offering that comes out next month? Superb. Tell people! Had a minor change to your senior staff? Don’t email. Trade publications might care. No-one else will.
You probably think you’ve made the best thing ever. Maybe you have. But journalists will respond with skepticism to such claims, especially if they pepper every last bit of copy. That’s not to say you shouldn’t big up what you do, but do retain a modicum of modesty.
Make yourself available
You can’t hurl your story at loads of people and then shut up shop. Include contact details, and make sure email addresses and answering services are monitored. If someone from the press gets in touch, respond quickly, or the moment might pass.
Make use of links
If you’ve a website, include a link so writers can find more details if they need to. For products, include shop and app store links. Got a press kit? If not, you really should have one. And make sure you link to it, too.
You might want a beautifully laid out missive. Writers just want words. Feel free to use the odd bit of HTML in email, but under no circumstances put your story in an attached Word document – it probably won’t ever get opened. Go easy on images as well – one or two can add flavor. Any more should just be in your linked press kit.
Follow up – but don’t hassle
Finally, don’t be afraid to chase up your message if you don’t hear back and don’t get coverage. However, there’s a fine line between a polite reminder and hassling people you’ve contacted. Straying a little over that line occasionally isn’t a problem; but blundering through it with all the nuance of a rampaging rhino is a good way to get no coverage from that particular writer – indefinitely!
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