Startup techcrunch

Why your startup didn’t get media coverage in TechCrunch

At the Startup Extreme event in Norway this spring, we hosted a bonfire session about startup PR. Coverage in top media can be the difference between anonymity and growth for a startup and help you stand out from the competition. However, many startups struggle to get in simply because they don’t know how to do it right. Rather than telling you what to do, we decided to tell you what NOT to do. Here’s an essential list of things you need to avoid if you want top media coverage.

You only talk about yourself

This is one of the most common mistakes startups make. We get it. You’re so into what you’re doing, and surely everyone else will be excited by what you make. Wrong. There’s nothing less flattering than only talking about your own milestones. Instead, you need to put your news into context. Why does it matter that you launched a new language-learning platform? Well, statistically, most people struggle to learn a third language, and 39% of respondents to this new survey state that there is too much focus on written, formal language. See how that suddenly made it more interesting?


No one cares about district heating prices in the summer, so if you show up with that angle, journalists will put your story at the bottom of the drawer. News has an expiration date, and if you want to be featured, you need to help journalists justify why right now is the time to write about it. 
It can be something obvious, like you just raised funding, did an exit, or expanded to a new market with a big new client. But you can use lots of other reasons, like a recent study showing the scale of the problem you are solving, using your own data to give new insights, or even showing the expertise of your spokespersons by writing an opinion piece about something people are talking about in the news right now. The point is that it needs to add something new to the public discussion. And make sure it’s timely: district heating prices surging will be a hit if you do that in January instead of summer.

You don’t give the journalist enough time

This is very common. You have this amazing news piece, and you decide to send it out to a bunch of journalists the day before you go public. They’re busy people! Often, they have as many as 2-3 stories going out each day and receive up to 300 press releases daily. If you don’t give them enough time to plan, they won’t cover your story—even if they want to!
We always pitch at least a week (preferably two) before launching. If you approach a journalist with that timeframe in mind, it gives them time to look at the story properly, decide whether to pursue it, do their research, and conduct interviews. Then, on the day you want the news to go out, they already have all their ducks in a row and can just press “publish.” The more respected media you are aiming for, the more time you need to give them. Landing an article in tier 1 media might take you anywhere between two weeks to a year.

You don’t do your research

Journalists don’t hunt in packs. For example, at TechCrunch, reporters and editors have their beat and follow a specific type of tech, often also in a specific region. If you go to the U.S. automotive editor with your paytech solution for the Swedish market, they won’t even bother reading it.
Find journalists who have written stories about your industryin the past and reference them when you reach out. “I saw your article on this earlier. Maybe you’ll find this news interesting?” Then, tell them what’s different about you compared to your example. Adding stats and studies that back up your claims doesn’t hurt, either. This research is critical for getting top-level media coverage because reaching out to the right journalists massively increases your chances of getting published.

Your media kit sucked

You have the best story in the world, find the right journalist to pitch to, and give them two weeks to prepare—and they still haven’t published? It doesn’t matter if you don’t have good visuals for them to use with their story. If all you give them is a grainy selfie of your spokesperson and a screenshot of a spreadsheet, that can be enough to kill the story altogether.
Humans are visual beings and high-res pictures of the people involved, as well as great product pictures and logos, make the story so much more appealing. Having those assets ready to send to journalists is absolutely essential to getting TechCrunch interested.
So there you have it
Your definitive guide to what not to do when executing a PR campaign. Stay away from those fallpits, and you can be assured you did what you could. And if this all seems awfully simple yet so complicated to do, you know where to find us!

Questions about your next PR campaign? Get in touch!

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