It can be frustrating to read about other companies getting coverage for their me-too dating apps when you developed a cutting edge method for synthesizing DNA or effectively blocking cyber threats for corporations, and can't get anyone to take notice.
When I started Tactile Finance, a company that made software for banks to be able to explain tricky loans to their clients, like adjustable rates and fee structures, we followed the standard advice - compiling lists of reporters, writing snappy emails with clear messaging... and came up virtually empty.
Sure, you can get your niche industry press to take notice that your customers may be reading, like CIO Magazine or CEP Magazine, with just standard email outreach.
But what if you want to get published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or any number of publications that have press in the millions instead of thousands, and immediately boost your credibility?
I want to share with you what worked for us in a tragically unsexy field - mortgage origination - and what can work for you, too, whether you sell legal technology, biometric software, or what have you. Here it is, step by step.
1. Find the Few Specialized Reporters Who Speak Your Language
There are probably fewer than 10 reporters who understand your subject matter and write about it for mainstream press. You need to find them.
Go to every mainstream press site, search for keywords related to the product you make and problem you solve, and sort from most recent.
Take the most relevant articles and, on a spreadsheet, enter reporters name, date, title, link to article, and email address. You'll want to keep this well organized as this is gold for you.
Method for finding emails:
Google "@[publication url].[suffix]" [Firstname] [Lastname]. If the reporters email doesn't come up, you'll likely find some that hint at the email format for names.
2. Automate Alerts for Relevant News Coverage
Set up Google Alerts for keywords related to both what your product does and also the problem you are solving.
(Caution: Google Alerts will send you many low quality publications so it's important to first search major publications as mentioned above or else it will take too long to build a list.)
When Google alerts pulls up something relevant, add it to the list you created in #1 in the same format.
3. Engage These Reporters with Your Unique Expertise
Read your Google Alerts every day. If you see an article that is highly relevant to your business from a top publication, send the reporter a personal email saying what you liked about their article and offer a piece of helpful industry knowledge that you have.
Remember, you are the expert! If you have built innovative technology in your industry, you have a lot to offer a reporter writing about your industry. Good things to send are industry data, trends, ideas for articles, and your own company data on the subject.
Then, say "If you ever need expertise on this subject, I am particularly knowledgeable about x, y, z and would be happy to share what I know, either credited or uncredited." Offer your help.
A genuinely helpful email in this format will return a response almost 100% of the time.
The next time you are at a conference, or talking with competitors, or customers, or partners, think about the unique insights that you can send to these top reporters. Make an effort to reach out and share.
Next time you have a major announcement, you'll likely have their ear, instead of tuning it out as just one of the hundreds of emails they get every week.
The best part of this strategy? You are developing deep, real, and reciprocal relationships. And, you are finding the best reporters who understand your industry and conversing with them is incredibly gratifying on its own. Getting press from knowledgeable reporters who really know your industry is the absolute best kind of press.
Try it! Let me know how it works for you.
Nicole Hamilton is an expert in consumer home financing products. Her site, Homeownering.com, provides independent and unbiased homeownership advice and resources for female homeowners. Sign up to receive Homeownering's free updates here.