Have you read Pitch Perfect (Part One): How to Create a Successful Sales Pitch and Pitch Perfect (Part Two): How to Give an Inspiring Investment Pitch?

Stop the press! It’s time to launch; and what better way to make a bang than by being featured in major media outlets.

But how, as a new brand, do you get the word out there and secure a spotlight for your startup?

Pitching to the press is an important part of launching a new product or service. Not only does media coverage boost your profile and get you in front of your target customers, but also it proves to potential investors and partners that you are a startup to be taken seriously – one who courts media attention for all the right reasons.

Here are a few tips on successfully pitching your product and scoring yourself some publicity:

Press Pitch Tip #1: Know Your Story

Journalists are always looking for a scoop: for the next big thing. But whilst they are in the business of seeking out information, they are not detectives, and unless you can get them excited about your startup in the first thirty seconds – that is, the first sentence or two – they are not going to bite. After all, they have hundreds of other companies also vying for their attention.

Before you pitch to the press, make sure you know what your story is and give it a compelling narrative. Decide what one thing you want the reader to take away. This may simply be the launch of an exciting new product; it could be the announcement of a market-leading partnership; or it could be the news that you’ve successfully raised a significant amount of funding from well-known investors or a crowdfunding campaign.

Whatever your story, try to stand out in some way – but always tell the truth. Journalists can sniff out bulls**t a mile away.

Press Pitch Tip #2: Avoid Hyperbole

After months of hard work, you are understandably excited about your business opening its doors. And the media will be too – so long as you stick to the facts, tell them what you’ve done, and show them what your product/service does or solves. Practical information beats buzzwords every time, so avoid pitching your startup as ‘unique’, ‘revolutionary’ or ‘game-changing’. Let the experts decide how best to sell your story and leave the hyperbole at home.

Not convinced? Heed the words of former New York Times editor, Fred M. Hechinger: “I narrow-mindedly outlawed the word ‘unique’. Practically every press release contains it. Practically nothing ever is.”

Press Pitch Tip #3: Ditch the Press Release

Press releases used to be the currency of PR firms – and some old-school agencies still swear by them – but when have you ever read a press release on a popular media site? Chances are never. Major media outlets do not want to publish dry, promotional press releases that their journalists haven’t even written. To stand out in a sea of emails you need to be so much more creative. Include imagery, infographics and videos of your product in action (though make sure your email isn’t too big – journos don’t take kindly to files that crash their systems). Perhaps you can even pitch over social media? Anything that helps you grab someone’s attention will increase your odds of hearing back exponentially.

Press Pitch Tip #4: Research Target Journalists

If there is anything a journalist hates more than a phone pitch (bonus tip: never try to sell a story over the phone!), it’s being sent a pitch that isn’t relevant to them. Take your time to identify those journos who specifically write about your industry, niche or neighbourhood. Familiarise yourself with their work and identify who is most likely to be interested in, and excited about, your startup. Treat each publication, and each journalist, individually: a blanket email BCC’d to the masses will win you no favours. Create a list of the top 25 media outlets you would do anything (ahem, almost anything) to be featured in and then narrow it down to 10 . PR is a numbers game – but it is a human one, too.

Press Pitch Tip #5: Don’t Give Up

The media is a fast-paced world and journalists are pulled in many different directions on a daily basis. If you don’t hear back after your first pitch, chances are your email might not have even been opened. Schedule a follow-up around a week after your original one. Simply ask if they received your email and whether they require any more information. In fact, if you can offer more information then that makes a good excuse to follow up, so perhaps hold something back for second pitches.

If you don’t hear back after your second email, then chances are your story is a non-starter this time. Move on to the next outlet, but keep all options open: there may be opportunity for coverage in the future, so don’t burn bridges by being overly pushy or indignant. Build your relationship organically (following target journalists on Twitter, and interacting with their work, is strongly recommended) and bide your time.

If you’re looking to spread word about your startup, have you considered crowdfunding? Not only is it a great way to test the viability of your idea, but also it gives you opportunity to reach your target audience and build up a following. Contact Crowdfund Campus today for further information and a free demonstration of both our live marketplace and simulated Sandpit tool.