Almost all startups love press, and luckily it’s not too hard to get some extra exposure every once in a while.
For the startups that are dying for to be mentioned, here are 6 tips to get press:
1. 36 places to submit your startup
Check out this neat list of 36 places (with a few bonus ones) to submit your startup for some coverage. Since many of these places are outlets that love the latest scoop on anything innovative, and are always excited to hear from new companies, your chances of getting some press when you start here is high.
I’d even add social news sites like Digg and Reddit, since Hacker News was mentioned as a bonus to the list of 36 sites, but the trick here is to NOT submit your own startup, instead, find a friend who might be something of a power user on those sites and have that friend submit your startup to their followers and hopefully the traffic will flow on in.
2. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a three times daily email (five days a week), which shows you a pretty extensive list of queries from reporters looking for sources. What’s great about this service is that i) it’s free, and ii) instead of finding reporters and pitching them hoping they could use your story or conjuring up a new angle hoping someone you email might bite, you see a query submitted by a real writer who’s in search of sources for a specific story they are working on. When you already know what they want and can offer assistance, doesn’t that make your job a lot easier? Instead of spending a lot of energy sourcing media leads and figuring out smart angles to pitch them, now you know what angle a writer is looking for and can focus more energy on convincing them you’d be the right source for them to turn to in writing their story.
3. Scanning Technorati for relevant blogs to pitch
Technorati has established itself as a leader in ranking blogs according to their authority on the web, and since you can easily filter through different categories to see who’s ranked in different sectors, you can find scores of great outlets to pitch to. But the hidden gems don’t lie within the Technorati 100. Instead, they lie far beyond the first 50 or so results in any category, where you see the long-tail end of the blogging world, which is nothing to scoff at because not everyone’s going to build a site like HuffingtonPost and get merged with AOL. At the farther end of Technorati’s rankings, you find some of the most dedicated sites to their niche, with incredibly loyal (albeit, small) followings, which shouldn’t go ignored, and in fact, will be more likely than an Inc. Magazine will in writing about your startup.
4. Advanced search queries for relevant media outlets
One of the simplest advanced search queries is the related:http://www.interestingwebsite.com query, where you can pretty much ask Google what sites it thinks are related to sites you’re already looking at for press. This way, you can find tens, or maybe hundreds, of new places to pitch you which you may have never heard of before, but are clearly sites or blogs that are very interested in writing about a certain niche category your business falls into.
SEOMoz has been incredibly generous in offering a free version of their Opensiteexplorer tool. With this, you can get a quick review of your site’s authority within the search engines, gauging it against competitors and similar sites. But you can source awesome places for more coverage by scanning the links to your competitors, sites similar to yours or sites in your niche to find places that are clearly interested in covering topics that you fit into.
6. Blogrolls of blogs you like and blogs related to your industries
This takes a lot of willpower, Internet bandwidth and time, but you can go through all the blogs you know and have ever heard of, checking each of their blogrolls for even more sites you may have never known about before to find more places for possible coverage. Be careful though. When you’re opening thirty or forty tabs in a short period of time, your browser may crash and your Internet will slow down, so make sure you’re conquering one blogroll at a time, bookmarking any places that seem good for pitching, and closing out those sites for the next day when you’ll pitch them so you can continue onward with finding more online media treasures.