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How to Email the Press and Get Your Startup's Story in the News

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

How to Email the Press and Get Your Startup's Story in the News

Part of being an entrepreneur is getting your company's story and brand message out there. Your startup is doing something great, but how do you find the right people in the press who can help spread the word?

Smashing out emails to every journalist and publication you can find isn't the best strategy for maximizing your chances of coverage — it isn't the best use of scarce time and resources either.

Here are 9 best practices for emailing the press to help you target the right people, capture their attention, and hopefully persuade them to write a great story about your startup.

1. Target journalists who write about your niche

Don’t email every publication expecting everyone to be excited about your company's success, particularly if they've never covered 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.

2. Write a short subject line that sells

Sum up what you’re doing — and, if possible, why it’s important — in the shortest possible sentence. Use key words to attract attention. Keep revising. If you can knock off a few characters — or even some words — do it. Remember that spammy subject lines are a turn-off, so avoid anything that's vague or resembles clickbait.

3. Get right to the point

Journalists receive hundreds of emails daily. If you’re fortunate enough that they open yours, don’t expect them to read your life story before they hit your pitch. So don’t bury the lede: right away, say what you’re doing and why it's compelling.

4. Make sure your story is newsworthy

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? Trade publications might care, but no-one else will.

5. Don’t oversell or overhype your startup

You probably think you’ve made the best thing ever. Maybe you have; journalists, however, will be skeptical to such claims. That’s not to say you shouldn’t big-up what your startup did, but a modicum of modesty will go a long way to make your pitch believable.

6. Make yourself available and respond to press inquiries promptly

You can’t hurl your story at loads of people and then close 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.

7. Make use of links so journalists can easily dig deeper

If you’ve got 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.

8. Don't email attachments to journalists

You might want a beautifully laid out missive. Writers just want words. Feel free to use a bit of HTML in your email, but under no circumstances should you put your story in an attached Word document — it 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.

9. Follow up, but don’t overdo it

Finally, don’t be afraid to chase up down a reporter if you don’t hear back and don’t get coverage. It's certainly no uncommon for an interesting email to get missed and a gentle nudge can bump you to the top of a busy journalist's inbox. You can even try connecting with them on social media and sending a short DM. Just remember, 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 like a rampaging rhino is a good way to get blacklisted by that particular writer, indefinitely!


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