The problem is that you launch a thing or have some big news and those pesky journos won't cover it.
Here's one approach:
If you're a pro, or if you have a marketing team, talking to journalists like this is second nature. But for founders who are just getting going - and for rank amateurs like me - it can be hard to know where to start.
So one way is to use what I call a Tick-Tock List.
(I only call it this in my head. Nobody else says this. What I mean is you should email people on the regular, like clockwork.)
How to run a Tick-Tock List:
What should be in each email:
The email should be short and easy to read. Use bullets.
By achievement I mean something that is outward-facing that is actually interesting. Concrete. If nothing happened, say nothing happened -- and why.
After you've done this a few times, and if you've got something genuinely worthy of a story, you might want to say - before your three things, in bold - that you've got a launch/event/newsworthy thing coming up in a week or two, and you're hunting for coverage. Offer to chat about it.
You might find - and this is the goal - that somebody on your list, somebody who has never replied before, happens to receive the email at the right time and they have the right-shaped hole in their slate, and so they get in touch to learn more and hopefully do a story.
When you say what's coming up, don't be cagey or fake-enticing. Your email recipients aren't marks, they don't owe you anything, these are humans, one day maybe you might be friends. Be open enough for them to make a decision. But likewise don't put them in the difficult position of being told a detail via email that you really want to keep secret.
What is newsworthy? Think: is this so interesting that if you heard it about someone else you would want to tell your non-bubble friends; have you said it in the right way to be easily understood, and provided the right words for others to do the same; can it further the narrative of the journalist.
(Aside. I feel that every publication has a worldview that it is continuously pushing. It could be something like "technology is building the beautiful future we imagined when we were kids" or it could be "this thing is niche right now but one day it will be mainstream and momentum is growing." Find and provide an angle to allow journalists to use your story to develop and argue this worldview with their readers.)
The hard bit:
The hard bit: continue with the Tick-Tock List.
Let's see, what else. Did I already say this isn't a newsletter? This isn't a newsletter - and there are many and I subscribe to many and they are brilliant - so you should also one of those (and a blog, and a twitter, and...). But this is more intimate. An actual email. Um. Be respectful. Your goals are
I've shared the Tick-Tock List pattern with a few companies over the years. I'm actually a bit nervous to share it here because it's so trivial. But I've had a good experience of this personally, and reports of good effects, so I figured I'd write it up.
Please let me know if it works for you. (And if you're on the other side of the fence, I'm curious about your views too.)
Bonus link: Mike Butcher's article/rant The Press Release Is Dead - Use This Instead is fantastic. Check out the list of questions that he needs answered, as Editor-at-large of TechCrunch Europe, to get to grips with a possible story.