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10 Facts to Remember When Pitching a Reporter about your Kickstarter Campaign

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

Once you’ve used tools like BuzzSumo or InkyBee to build a media list, you need to actually do some PR outreach. Check out the 10 facts below to keep in mind when pitching reporters and journalists about your Kickstarter campaign.

1. How do you stand out from the crowd?

According to a survey conducted by BuzzSumo, Journalists receive 25-100 pitches via email per day and countless more on social media. In order to stand out, it’s best to avoid cliche buzzwords and stick to a succinct, straight-forward, and relevant pitch

Succinct – Get to the point, and if needed, use bullet-points to highlight the major reasons why this news is important and a good fit for the publication. Don’t write an essay. Your email should be scannable.

Straight-Forward – Avoid PR buzzwords that only serve to make it more difficult to understand your story and why it’s a good fit for the publication. Otherwise, you will sound like all the other companies pitching the journalist and fail to stand out.

Relevant – Why this journalist, why your company, and why does this story matter now? Don’t just copy and paste generic emails. Tailor your pitch to both the reporter and the publication.

2. When is the best time to pitch a reporter?

After conducting several informal interviews, PrDaily put together an awesome breakdown of the best time(s) to reach out to a journalist. Overwhelmingly, all of the reporters surveyed preferred to be pitched via email in the early morning. However, due to the large volume of weekend mail, the participants also suggested to wait until Tuesday, once the Monday rush was over and they had more time to look over each email.

This information is corroborated by MarketConsensus, who also recommended sending pitch emails between 8 am – 11 am and to avoid mondays.

3. Should you send mass emails and if so, when?

Despite the overwhelming industry advice not to send mass emails, I’ve actually responses from them and have gotten stories as a result of them. Many journalists may not like these practices, but they can work if you have a killer headline, pitch, and are going after a bunch of publications with a similar audience.

However, I do think they should be used in conjunction with direct pitching and relationship building. That being said, if you’re going to send out a mass email with services like PRWeb, MyPrGenie, PRNewswire, SBWire, or others, then take into account the best time to send that email. Check out the infographic below, put together by GetResponse.

getresponse infographic best time send email

This infographic was made by GetResponse.

The biggest takeaway I had from this infographic was that subscribers’ top engagement times are 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. with up to 6.8% average open rates and CTR.

4. PR Goes to Experts in their Space

Sometimes when you’re marketing a new product, whether that’s a crowdfunding campaign or other project, it’s easy to forget that you’re in “this” for the long haul, whether that’s becoming an artist or growing a business.

In my experience, experts in their space will never have to worry about getting PR. What was the first thing that happened on TV when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared? The media brought aviation experts on to comment about the event and the implications.

Experts are cited in the media all the time! Even I was quoted in a recent CNN interview. The important thing is to put yourself out there as an expert, so that you can seize these opportunities for some free PR.

HARO is a great free resource for these types of PR hits.

HARO

How can you frame yourself as an expert in your space and use that as an angle for a story, or to get some free PR indirectly?

5. 87% of Reporters Love Data, Facts, and Figures.

Have you ever noticed when a “new study” is released that analyzes data points to corroborate or highlight an interesting trend, it goes viral on news outlets?

Just recently, the study concluding that “women outperform men on Kickstarter” went viral, which is backed up by research by Ethan R. Mollick (University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School) and Ramana Nanda (Harvard University – Entrepreneurial Management Unit).

How can you enhance your pitch with facts, figures, and data? How does your company fit into a larger cultural or business trend?

Backing up your vision and story with numbers is a great way to snag attention away from other pitchers, just pushing their “game changing” product.

P.S. Just kidding about the 87%

6. Journalists Must Write About Things They Don’t Want To.

I’ll tell you a little secret. Journalists don’t necessarily want to write about every story, but sometimes they have to.

You’re really going to tell me that if a holiday is coming around, like Christmas, that a publication isn’t going to look for Christmas stories? Or if a particular story is blowing up like the Potato Salad Kickstarter, an editor isn’t going to say “I want this story on my desk by ____.”

Newspapers are in the business of attracting eyeballs and advertisement dollars. Most major publications always need to write about what is trending, or be left out of the flow of online and mobile traffic.

The question is: How can you fit yourself into the stories that are trending or a holiday that is coming up? You need to begin to think about what kinds of stories reporters will be looking for given the time of the year and what’s happening in the current media discussion.

7. Repeat Business = Success.

There is a big difference between a business that has repeat customers and one-time customers. The same is true for PR. Rather than seeking one-time transactional relationships, it’s best to develop a long-term relationship with a journalist, who may move publications in the future or be able to forward you along to his or her friends (who are also journalists).

You should take a long-term view of PR outreach. Why? This is exactly what a PR agency does, and they are in the business of getting their clients stories. Why wouldn’t you take the same approach as a professional PR firm?

A relationship with even a handful of reporters can yield dividends down the road. Going out of your way to be helpful and connecting them with sources or people in your industry they’d like to speak to can be a good way to start.

8. PR Syndication & Press Release Websites Have Value

One of the things we do at CrowdfundingPR is press release syndication, where your press release is featured on several major partner websites. Other companies like PR Web and PR Newswire also offer syndication and distribution services.

There has been a lot of discussion on the web and on our forum as to the value of press releases. The short of it is, projects see different levels of success.

In some cases, even if you get a PR hit and are sent traffic, there is no guarantee that the traffic will convert into pledges or orders.

Still, I believe that press releases have value. Not only does your name come up on all of these websites when you google your company, but you can also include the website logos on your company page to show potential buyers that you are serious about your product, and that your press release has been featured on these websites.

9. Your Headline Must Be Clickable

It’s hard to have a clickable headline without knowing your audience, which brings us back to point #1 (relevancy). Ideally, your headline should be tailored to the individual reporter or publication.

Your name and headline are the first few things a reporter is going to see when they look at your email. How can you phrase the headline to get them interested in learning more?

One technique I’ve found to be helpful is to see if there are any headline commonalities in other articles that have been published by that reporter and then craft your email subject to be similar to those headlines.

I recommend checking out some of these headline writing tips from BuzzStream’s blog.

10. There is No Blueprint.

Although there are “best practices” and mistakes to avoid, getting PR is a learning process. You need to figure out what works well for your company and your industry, which will take time.

Personally, I’ve had experiences that fly in the face of the common industry advice in terms of the ideal times to send emails and how to best do journalist outreach. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and are not set in stone.

I think the most worthwhile takeaway you should get from this article is that you need to adopt a PR mindset.

For example, an engineer looks at a car differently than an average driver. A web developer looks at website differently than the common web browser. They question how and why certain choices are made with regard to cars or websites. You need to begin to observe the news, TV, and print media and begin to form questions.

Why did a publication quote this expert, or why did this reporter choose to write about this particular story? Beginning to make yourself aware of the inner-workings of the news media will help you begin to become active on the pitching side

Conclusion

Did you find this article to be helpful? Leave a comment below letting me know about your experiences with PR outreach. I also recommend checking out “Six ways to get your crowdfunding campaign on a reporter’s radar” and our list of free press release websites.

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  • Bill

    This is a very insightful and informative post that is timely for me and my company. We are really using the Inkybee to develop contact list, so any tips on dealing with the media is going to be looked in-depth. The power of getting a press release or a story written by an influential can turn a campaign.

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks Bill! Always appreciate your support.

  • dragonwarsoftrayth

    This was a great article to read…I’m getting ready to put my Kickstarter through to media, and now that I have read this, I think I’m more prepared for contacting the right people in the right way!

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome! Let me know how the media outreach goes.

  • Andres Salazar

    Good article. I’m currently running my 4th kickstarter and as a comic book creator, there is a very specific group of media that will cover this. I feel it’s a completely different beast than technology. All that said, I will use some of these principles this week. – Andres – http://www.pariahmissouri.com

    • CrowdCrux

      Agreed. I think each niche/category needs to create their own customized outreach list.

    • Jean Cave

      What type of media? I’m publishing a magazine. sustainabledesignandarchitecture.com./shop/

  • Dale

    Wealth of information here. Love the infographics. Currently running our third Kickstarter. Previous two were pretty successful. Current one now is our Franken Edison Light http://kck.st/1pmqTYl . At 97% funded and at the “lull” period of the campaign. All this information helps and encourages you to move forward. Thanks again!

    • CrowdCrux

      Congrats on the two successful campaigns! Hope this info will help get you over the lull period.

  • jayarajporoor

    Great article. Timely for me. Starting an Indiegogo campaign for my open source startup that offers a versatile alternative to VPNs (http://shelloid.com). Couple of weeks back I sent out emails hither and thither to news sites and got no response. Now I realize my naivete – I sent all of them during a weekend!

    • CrowdCrux

      I would try to pinpoint those that covered open source news and also ask a few people to look at your pitch before sending. Hope the tips help you get some responses.

      • I did send to a few friends – didn’t really help much though they wish only the best for me. Shall I tweet you link to my pitch (I’ve revised it significantly)? I will really appreciate any feedback from you. I’m planning to start a campaign in a couple of weeks to a month’s time. Right now I want to get some coverage/visibility for the project. Thanks!

  • James Garner

    Interesting article. What I’m wondering is if these rules are fairly universal when dealing with a variety of industries. For example, my own Kickstarter is based around helping fund my novel writing. Does the literary press even have interest in the whole Kickstarter concept to the degree a business or tech reporter might?

    • CrowdCrux

      From my experience, it’s a lot harder to get a PR hit for a publishing crowdfunding campaign than a technology crowdfunding campaign (unless you already have traction and funders).

      The problem is that most of the bloggers/media are book review sites or feature great authors, and if the work isn’t completed, it can be hard to convince them to write about you unless you come up with some other kind of angle.

      I do think some of these rules will still apply, but ultimately it comes down to what does the reporter write about (types of stories), what does their audience care about, and how can you create an angle for your story that is appealing to them.

      • Thanks for the information! I’ll give it a ponder. It would seem my best chance would be to try to get one of my already published books featured and work in a line about the Kickstarter as part of it, if possible.

        • Jean Cave

          It’s been hard for me too! Because of the topics I cover though, I HAVE managed to be featured on some blogs. What is your novel about? If it is a horror, approach somebody that shares scary images/stories etc on their blog. If it is aimed at teenagers, find a blogger that shares inspiration. That has worked for me.

          sustainabledesignandarchitecture.com/shop/

      • Andres Salazar

        This is very true. If the book is not finished, even if you just have a sample MANY bloggers/media will not review it. You almost have to finish the project BEFORE the kickstarter, that’s my experience.
        Andres – http://www.pariahmissouri.com

  • As always, you are the master. I been trying to decide whether or not to use a mass email marketing strategy. So many sites suggest that it is low-brow, but to me, all that matters is results. Our project went live yesterday: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/557827935/diy-telegraph-sounder-and-morse-code-key-kits-for?ref=email

    I get about 10 emails an hour- why not generate a few of my own? In the end, it’s the task of every campaign manager to do everything possible to generate a “win”.

    Thanks again!

    • CrowdCrux

      Like I said in the post, I have gotten links and mentions from mass-emails. The imporant part is that you have a killer pitch and the email list is relevant.

      It’s always best if the reporters have opted in to the email list, otherwise you might be pissing off people that have the ability to complain about it in a public way.

      • All press is good press? I’ll play the villain, gladly 🙂

  • If you are crowdfunding a physical product, be sure to tell Backerjack http://backerjack.com/

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • POINT 5 – looks like a BIG mistake here: the study says “WOMEN OUTPERFORM MEN” – not men outperform women!
    Thanx for correcting ;0)), Birgit Stauber

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for the heads up. Just changed it. I think I was typing it quickly and mixed up the two.

  • Hi Sal, really great post. I am doing my best to pull together a pitch and this article has helped a lot. Thanks for all the great work you do. I’ve had success getting in my local paper with a previous project I ran, it was related to mental health and therefore a topic which was well received. I may have a go at doing it with my kickstarter project – http://mindgarden.me/kickstarter

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome! Glad the article was helpful and kudos on getting into the local paper with your previous project. I’ll check out your new one.

      • Thanks, that would be awesome. Let me know what you think if you can 🙂

        • CrowdCrux

          Backed you at a supporting tier.

  • Very informative post! Especially appreciate the email infographic. I’ve just launched a Kickstarter campaign and sent out press releases last week. On a Monday. What was I thinking??? Should I send them out again? At a more appropriate day and time? In the meantime, I’d love for you to take a look at my campaign. http://kck.st/1nG1FEH

  • Thx for a great article! Awesome that you share all this info – I have really benefitted from it! We have managed to get in some local and domestic newspapers with our kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bakoba/bakoba-build-your-own-world
    We are getting better and we are crossing our fingers that we can push it out in some international press or online medias!

    • CrowdCrux

      Happy to hear it’s a helpful article! Congrats on your local paper features!

  • This is a really really good article. I’ve seen a lot of articles that have components of what has been shared here, but this puts it all into one place. Great! I really like the infographic as well. In fact, one other suggestion I’d have, along the lines of reporters loving data, is that if you can make your own infographic that tells your story, and offer to let the reporter use it in their story (preferably as an exclusive) your chances of getting covered go WAY UP! If you can put together the data for the infographic you can hire a graphic designer on freelancer.com or some other similar site for relatively cheap to put it into a great looking format.

    Mark Baker – Co-Founder
    http://www.BackerClub.co
    PS: I love tweeting about great tech, design and games projects. I’ve got a big following of crowdfunding enthusiasts and would love to hear about your project: @5toclose

  • Louie Amphlett

    Fantastic article, I was able to take away many pointers i haven’t read elsewhere!

    Thanks, Louie

  • Ferdi Bayrak
  • great post. Thanks for the detail about point form… I need to hear that that is ok to do.