Write a Killer Startup Press Release in 7 Steps

DEFINE YOUR “COVERAGE STRATEGY”

So you have your release and you have your email pitch; now what? Before sending your press release out into the world, it’s worth considering whether or not you want blanket coverage, or whether you want to offer your announcement as an exclusive.

If you opt for blanket coverage, i.e., sending your press release to as many journalists as possible, entrepreneurs coordinate that coverage by asking journalists to respect an embargo. This means that the journalist or publication will agree not to publish a story about your announcement before a set time or date.

Depending on where you’re pitching, this can be tricky. For example, while journalists in the UK seem to take an embargo agreement as read – you can just put EMBARGO above your release in most cases – this is not always the case in the US. Remember, if in doubt, ask the journalist to agree to an embargo first. Still, this is no guarantee and is a reason why offering the story as an exclusive may be a better option.

EXCLUSIVES

To a reporter trying to publish stories ahead of competitors, the word ‘exclusive’ is music to their ears. Essentially it means that a specific publication will have the right to publish your announcement first, before you reach out to other outlets.

This is a particularly useful tactic in media zones where the embargo rule may or may not be followed. It prevents the occurrence of a journalist ‘breaking ranks’ and publishing a story before the embargo is lifted.

There are several other advantages to offering your release as an exclusive:

1. Larger publications – e.g. TechCrunch and VentureBeat – are more likely to take your press release seriously (and use it) if you offer it as an exclusive.

2. As it turns out, French philosopher Roland Barthes[9] was totally right about thatDeath of the Author thing: journalists take stories from each other all the time, so offering an exclusive won’t stop other publications picking the story up.

3. Coverage on a bigger niche publication (in this case for the tech industry) opens doors to newspapers and more mainstream media coverage. As the saying goes: Aim high, shoot low.

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