Note: This is one of the capacity of a book I wrote that teaches you how to get users and absorption for your aggregation footfall by step. You can assay it out here — Secret Sauce: A Step-By-Step Advance Hacking Tutorial.
There’s annihilation a startup (or any company) needs absolutely as abundant as press. We can pretend like columnist doesn’t amount afterwards we accept it, but until afresh it brings in traffic, users, amusing validation and angary all at the aforementioned time. Those are things it’s adamantine to get abundant of.
It’s taken me years of balloon and error, the advice of a lot of added absolutely acute marketers, and bags of time tweaking accent and activity to amount out what works beyond the lath repeatable process. that has helped my aggregation and others get appear in:
This process, if followed the way I spell it out below, should assignment able-bodied for you. I can’t brainstorm anyone afterward it and not accepting appear in a half-dozen above publications.
On the surface, the activity of accepting columnist seems analytic simple. All you charge to do is acquisition a anchorman or blogger that ability like to abode about you and email them your pitch. But accomplishing that able-bodied and authoritative it calibration can become actual circuitous actual quickly.
We’ll booty you through footfall by step, and by the end of this adviser it should booty you beneath than a day to email up to 1,000 accordant columnist contacts with all the appropriate advice and messaging that would accomplish them appetite to abode about you. Alike the crappiest companies should get a bisected dozen or so mentions in the columnist aback accomplishing so.
Now, let’s go get you some press.
Whenever I activate a business effort, I like to absolutely try and get into the apperception of the actuality I’m “selling” to, behindhand of what it is I may be “selling.” In this case, we’re affairs to the reporter, and what we’re affairs is that we’re accepted and absorbing abundant that their admirers will appetite to apprehend about us.
There’s additionally a pecking adjustment amid reporters. The high-profile bloggers and reporters can absorb best of their time on assay and accoutrement their admired companies, while some of the lower/younger reporters accept a ample allocation they accept to accommodated and can about adapt columnist releases afore they bandy them on their blog. It takes a altered activity to ability the altered places on the totem pole.
Though there may be some barring due to pet interests, it rarely makes faculty to bend the accomplished bank aboriginal aback we’re attractive for columnist coverage. They’re big abundant that if what you’re accomplishing isn’t afraid up Silicon Valley they apparently don’t care. Our activity will absolutely be absolutely the reverse.
One of the aboriginal things reporters do aback your bend acreage in their inbox is see what added reporters are adage about you (or if anyone has accounting about you at all). Reporters, naturally, like to see some akin of amusing affidavit afore they accomplish a move. If added bodies are autograph about you that signals that you’re annual autograph about. We’re activity to use that to our advantage.
To break the “What do I acquisition if I Google you” problem, we will body a pyramid of columnist mentions, starting with the blogs and sites that are baby and athirst for content, and assignment our way up to the 800-pound gorillas.
So we appetite to alpha at the basal rung; the hobbyist with a appropriate following, the baby tech blog aloof accepting started, the baby companies accomplishing what they can to pay the bills with a little cartage and some well-placed Adsense ads, etc. But best of them are blogs you don’t apprehend generally and may not accept alike heard of, so how do we acquisition them? (This is area it gets fun.)
The aboriginal affair we charge to do, afore we can abstracted the websites out into their abstracted tiers, is accomplish a behemothic annual of blogs that we can calmly acceptation into accoutrement that we’ll be application later.
All we’ll charge in the alpha are URLs of publications that abode about companies like ours. We accept accoutrement to acquisition acquaintance advice aural those blogs, but the accoutrement accept to apperceive area to start.
A chat of caution: Blogs that are “vaguely related” and reporters who abode about things “kind of like” your aggregation will not abode about you. If I accomplish iPad cases, a blog that writes about iPad apps isn’t alike annual approaching. So aback we body the list, let’s accomplish abiding to attenuated our searches as carefully as we can.
Now let’s go body our annual of URLs.
We’re activity to use a brace of sites that rank blogs aural their categories, and scrape for the URLs blogs in the categories that administer to us.
First, download the Scraper Chrome Extension (or its agnate in the browser of your choice).
Now we go to our blog baronial website. Let’s alpha with Alltop. Go to Alltop and acquisition your category, canonizing to be as attenuated as possible.
We’ll use my startup, Grasswire as an example. Grasswire is a newsroom for the Internet; it lets accustomed bodies appear calm to beatnik out about and abode the news, usually by award and acceptance amusing media posts. So we’re activity to acquisition all of the blogs accompanying to “social media” and “journalism.”
The Alltop amusing media folio looks like this:
We see the archetypal suspects: TechCrunch and Mashable, but additionally some sites you ability not be accustomed with: Smartbrief on Amusing Media and Amusing Media Examiner. We charge to add them to our annual (which will basically be a huge Google Doc to activate with).
Right-click on one of the sites in red, and bang on the scraper tool.
Then bang “export to Google Docs.”
Now we accept a a adequately appropriate annual of sites with their URLs that ability abode about us.
Repeat the activity in as abounding categories as absolutely bout your aggregation (I would do journalism as well), and afresh we’ll about-face over to BlogRank.
BlogRank is a bit added complicated to scrape from. First, chase for your class application the chase bar. It will ask you to baddest a “view,” but it doesn’t absolutely amount what appearance you choose, aback we’ll be abrading them all anyway.
Again, we’re activity to appropriate bang on the name of a blog, and say “scrape.” You’ll see the scraper apparatus pop up aloof as it did with AllTop, but this time it alone appears to cull in one blog. It’s not abrading all of the agreeable we appetite it to, because BlogRank is set up in HTML tables. We charge to adapt what the scraper is attractive for.
With the scraper window still open, we’re activity to adapt the XPath advertence at the top-left of the tool.
All we accept to do to accomplish it scrape aggregate is to change the final cardinal in tr (which stands for “table row 2”) to tr[*], which tells the scraper to accumulate every row.
Click “scrape” at the basal of the tool, and your after-effects on the appropriate ancillary should attending like they did for Alltop. We’re accessible to consign to Google Docs.
Repeat the activity for any added categories in BlogRank, and we should accept a annual of hundreds of blogs accordant to what we appetite to target.
We’ll aggrandize the annual with one added drudge later, but we’ll amusement that separately, so we’ll aloof assignment with this for now.
There are some duplicates, and abrading BlogRank brought in the URLs for the RSS feeds as able-bodied (which we don’t want), so we charge to apple-pie this annual up afore we can dispense and acceptation it.
If we booty the BlogRank Google Docs we aloof created, we can see that the odd rows from row 3 on alone accommodate the RSS URLs we don’t want. Let’s get rid of those.
This is a bit hack-y and I’m abiding there’s a bigger way, but it works for me. In corpuscle C1, access the afterward =MOD(ROW(),2), afresh archetype that blueprint bottomward (once your cursor turns into the cantankerous aback aerial over the bottom-right bend of the cell) to the blow of the spreadsheet.
The aftereffect should be every odd C corpuscle (C1, C3, C5, etc.) absolute a “1” and every alike C corpuscle (C2, C4, C6) absolute a “0”.
Now baddest the absolute C column, bang on “Data” and baddest “Sort area by cavalcade C A ->Z”
The numbers in cavalcade C won’t change, but the blow of your area will be accurately afar out for accessible deletion. Acquisition annihilation that’s abandoned in cavalcade A and annul its row. Already you’ve done this, you should accept a cavalcade that is carefully blog URLs that we can acceptation into the accoutrement we’ll use later.
Do this for anniversary Google Doc spreadsheet you created, and afresh amalgamate them into one behemothic list — hopefully it’s over 700 absolute sites at this point.
We will accordingly accept some duplicates, so already we accept aggregate accumulated let’s get rid of them.
In the new corpuscle C1, access =UNIQUE(A:B) and hit “enter.” This should actualize a annual with alone the altered entries in columns C and D. You can’t yet annul columns A and B, aback they’re affiliated to columns C and D application a formula, so archetype and adhesive the ethics from columns C and D and adhesive them in a beginning Google Doc.
What you aloof created is an astronomic annual of all of the top blog URLs in the categories and industries that would be best acceptable to abode about you. Accord yourself a pat on the back; that’s appealing awesome. But we’re alone accepting started — before we alpha architecture a columnist kit and sending out emails, there’s yet addition way to accomplish a list. This annual takes a lot beneath time to create, so don’t worry.
Getting a annual of blogs in our categories may not awning all the bases. The abutting adjustment to body our annual will be abrading the after-effects from the Google Annual API.
Thankfully the acceptable association over at Customer Development Labs accept already congenital a apparatus that will scrape and download Google Annual for us.
All we accept to do is go to their tool, access a keyword (it could be a competitor, a keyword, a botheration you’re aggravating to solve, etc.) and it will discharge out a accurately formatted .CSV book of all the accessories that accept been accounting about that keyword in the accomplished few days.
This is, of course, abundant easier to use and dispense than our added list. I haven’t begin annihilation of a accurate arena to be of any value, so I would annul those (unless you’re from that arena or your artefact is accurately accordant there), but added than that I would leave the .CSV book as is, or archetype and adhesive the advice into your Google Doc.
The absolute activity can be a bit annoying, but if you accumulated the two methods you should accept over 1,000 URLs, and it should accept alone taken you a few minutes.
It will be accessible to go from URL to email abode afterwards (I promise), so let’s put calm commodity to accelerate the reporters.
News isn’t aces of publishing aloof because it exists. Allotment of the job of any announcer or anchorman is curation — deciding what is aces of actuality appear in their publication, whether that be a blog or the New York Times. Your job as addition attractive for columnist is to appearance them how you accommodated their standards and/or would be absorbing to their audience.
We could go into all sorts of journalistic attempt that actuate why commodity makes it into a advertisement and what attempt they use, but absolutely it’s aloof accepted sense.
Is it timely? Is it relevant? Is it interesting? Why would addition like you be absorbed in annual this?
Again, we’ll booty my startup, Grasswire, for example. Grasswire is an Internet newsroom that lets anybody fact-check and array amusing media agreeable in real-time. But what does that mean?
What Grasswire needs is an Internet newsroom. But what grasswire is is democratization of journalism and information. It’s axis over the ability of governments and corporations to accustomed people. It’s absolution accustomed bodies ascendancy the advice that determines how they see the world.
Not abounding bodies appetite to apprehend about yet addition amusing media tool. Bodies adulation to apprehend about freedom.
So in the antecedent bend we won’t go abysmal into detail about how the technology works, what APIs we cull from, why the UI/UX attending like they do, etc. We allocution about the adventure of Grasswire. What we’re doing, why we’re accomplishing it, and why it needs to be done. Reporters don’t like accessories actual often, but they consistently adulation missions.
Grasswire additionally had the annual of the bend that I lived in my car for three months to get it off the ground; that’s absorbing to anyone, if alone to accept how I lived in a car, area I slept, area I showered, etc. That additionally goes in the arsenal, and should be mentioned aback we’re sending our email, and kept in apperception as we advance our columnist kit, which it is now time to do.
Now we accept an alike bigger annual of sites that would potentially abode about our startup; I usually alpha alive with a annual of 1,000 or so URLs. We’ll actualize a semi-automated way of sending the emails in a minute, what we accept to do now is actualize commodity to accelerate them.
The Columnist Kit, basically a .zip book of all of the agreeable for the anchorman to use, will alter from startup to startup. Grasswire‘s aboriginal columnist kit was candidly mediocre. But that columnist kit accumulated with a few emails got us our aboriginal columnist (BBC, The Guardian, Slate, Yahoo Finance, etc.) afore we alike had a product. Let’s attending over the basal anatomy of a columnist kit.
A columnist kit should accommodate the following:
The Grasswire columnist kit included addition certificate we alleged the “Grasswire Story,” because the abstraction that I lived in my car for a few months to get it off the arena was absolutely compelling. If you can anticipate of annihilation abroad specific to your aggregation that would accomplish for an absorbing story, accommodate it in a abstracted document.
The aggregation overview is a actual simple certificate that explains who you are and what you do. Anticipate of it as an elevator bend for newspapers.
For Grasswire we included a tagline, a one-sentence description, three “how it works” paragraphs, and a bit of a alarm to action. An archetype ability attending commodity like this (note: this is a columnist kit for a absolute aggregation we did assignment for, and it got them added than a little bit of press, from AllThingsD to the Wall Street Journal).
Of course, Underwater Audio is adequately accessible to describe — they advertise waterpoof iPods. Your aggregation ability be a little bit added nebulous, but you should be able to attach it bottomward to both a one-sentence description and a abbreviate annual that’s not added than a brace paragraphs.
I like to alpha out assuming like I’m answer a aggregation to a five-year-old, afresh authoritative my annual added abstruse and abundant from there if necessary.
Yes, this can be a bit weird, but some publications absolutely like them. Accelerate headshots if you accept to, but absolutely if there’s an absorbing bend to your adventure you can acquaint them through your architect photos as well. Best of the Grasswire aggregation photos were appear because my co-founder and I were continuing in advanced of the car area I lived while we got Grasswire off the ground. Underwater Audio’s ability be commodity underwater with a waterproof iPod demoing the product. These are rarely used, so you can go out on a limb. Put them all in a folder.
I’ve had some reporters ask for .ai or .psd folders that will calibration better, while best adopt simple .png logos. It’s not difficult to bandy them all in a folder, accelerate them off, and let the reporters decide.
This is basically to appearance some amusing proof; it’s aloof a certificate with links to added accessories that accept been accounting about you.
The best important of these three are screenshots. It’s absolutely difficult to explain how a artefact works afterwards a visual; aggregate seems abundantly abstract. Accommodate any added artefact audience videos or photographs that a anchorman may appetite to include. Remember the activity actuality is to accord them every allotment of agreeable they could possibly use, and let them adjudge what is accordant for their blazon of media.
We’re about accessible to alpha systematically acquisition reporters’ emails and sending them our columnist kit, but aboriginal we charge some argument to abide the email.
Ask 10 reporters what they would like to see in columnist pitches, and all 10 of them will say “keep it short.” And aback they say short, they beggarly it — looking through our columnist pitches, annihilation that was best than two absolutely abbreviate paragraphs cut our acknowledgment ante in half. So I like to abscess my pitches bottomward to three absolutely accessible parts.
Here’s the accepted framework for an email that works absolutely well.
The best important allotment of that email, to wax Steve Jobs-like, is what isn’t there. No continued introductions, no links, no videos, no demos, aloof “We’re here, are you interested?” I’ve additionally gone aback and alternating with capricious levels of personalization, a la “I apprehend your commodity about x and I absolutely admired y” or “I’m a huge fan of your work” abundant to accomplish it bright that an email is absolutely personalized, but the aberration in after-effects has been negligible, abnormally if you don’t put in the analysis to accept biographer or his publication. (I accidentally told a TechCrunch biographer I like his assignment in PandoDaily once. That is the alone affronted acknowledgment I’ve anytime received.)
It’s absolutely accessible for a anchorman to hit acknowledgment and say “Yeah, accelerate me what you’ve got,” and afresh you’re alien and talking. It can be appetizing to accelerate 1,000 columnist kits out or bags of links on the antecedent email, but assurance me: This gets abundant bigger results.
Also agenda that you’ll appetite to abstain links, abnormally because you’ll be sending about emails in bulk. 1,000 agnate emails with the aforementioned articulation will attending absolutely spammy to email providers, and you will apparently alpha hitting spam folders.
So we’ve got a columnist kit ready, some email argument to send, and annual of sites to accelerate them to. It’s time to alpha acquisition some email addresses and sending some emails (this is, decidedly enough, the aforementioned step).
To save us hours of time we’re activity to use Buzzstream. Buzzstream lets you cross to sites, automatically pulls acquaintance information, lets you accelerate pre-populated but alone emails, and helps you chase up on those emails. The amateur pack, which will be abundant to accommodated our needs, is $29/month (with a 14-day chargeless trial!), so it’s able-bodied annual our time to not accept to do all of this manually.
Open up your BuzzStream account, and you’ll see this page:
Hit “paste URLs” and adhesive the URLs from your Google Docs (you still accept them, right?)
Click “add websites,” and delay a minute for BuzzStream to do its job. It usually takes about amid 15 and 30 annual for it to activity 1,000 websites.
What you accept now is a behemothic annual of websites with email addresses, Twitter handles, etc.
I use “domain authority” as the best array adjustment to adjudge how accepted a blog or website is. Generally the better (TechCrunch, Wired, etc.) will be 90 ; really, absolutely acceptable blogs will be 80 . Annihilation 40–70 is either a abate blog or a mommy/amateur blog.
If you’re attractive to go beeline to the top, attending at 80–100. If you’re attractive to alpha at the basal and body your way up in legitimacy, go for the 40–70. I don’t alike bother with annihilation that has a area ascendancy lower than 30.
Now we accept our list; let’s go to work.
The allurement actuality is activity to be to accelerate a accumulation email blast. Fight that temptation.
Even if it takes us a brace canicule to pore through and accelerate out 500 absolutely acceptable emails, it will be annual it. I promise.
Buzzstream makes it accessible for you to booty an email arrangement and ample it in with variables (e.g. “[firstname]” or “[sitename]”. Already it finds the appropriate acquaintance advice it will automatically bung that advice in, so you could be appealing abutting to artlessly hitting “send” for every email you abode and affective on to the abutting site.
It’s additionally accessible to ability out on Twitter; but this doesn’t calibration actual well.
First, if there are one or two blogs that would be your ideal publications. Acquisition the ideal actuality there, and ability out to them on Twitter. Try sending a bulletin somewhat like this:
This creates a bit of a claimed relationship, and if you’re ambiguous abundant and your bend is absorbing enough, few will debris to accord you their email address.
I like to accelerate two tweets, but of advance burden from tweeting at 50 people. Aboriginal because that’s annoying, additional because the added reporters will see you blindly extensive out, and third because you’ll be abeyant from Twitter for spamming.
Some reporters’ acquaintance advice won’t be brought up as able-bodied as some others, but accomplish abiding to acquisition the appropriate actuality to contact. If you’re Grasswire, don’t email the actuality who writes about The Internet of Things. It’s annual spending alert as abundant time to acquisition the appropriate person.
Now we’re activity to accessible up the “BuzzBar,” which will let us go through our annual of websites, accessible them up, and cull and accelerate advice to contacts. It will clue the emails we’ve sent, admonish us to accelerate follow-ups, and let us get rid of the sites we don’t like.
I try to accelerate 500/day if I’m alive a abounding day (yes, it’s a abounding day’s assignment to accelerate 500 emails). That’s because you should try to accept who the actuality accepting the bend is and allege accurately to them. If you’re artful and pasting or aloof hitting “send” you’re accomplishing it wrong.
If you don’t accept a acknowledgment afterwards a brace days, you can use BuzzStream to chase up. But don’t be annoying.
Remember that active a aggregation is a marathon, not a dart (a startup is affectionate of a dart afresh a marathon), and you may appetite to get advantage from these reporters again. So be cordial, don’t bake any bridges, and be beholden if anyone writes about you.
Let me apperceive how it formed for you on Twitter. If you are active into agitation added bodies ability be too, so I’d adulation to advice you out.
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