“I’d suggest keeping the press release to a one-pager, with three bullet points at the top with the main points you want to get across and then 3–4 paragraphs elaborating on them, including a bit of background on you as a team and a quote or two from an investor and/or a customer.”
7. Make it easy for them
Make the job of the journalists as easy as possible. If you give them text snippets that are well-written and free of self-praise, they might be able to include some of them almost using copy & paste. A good test is: Try to imagine if your story could be published almost as-is in the publications you’re targeting. If you read your draft and get the feeling it could never be published by someone who is trying to cover your story in an objective way, there’s probably something wrong and you should redo it.
8. Consider giving someone an exclusive and try to create some urgency
Giving a journalist “an exclusive”, i.e. the opportunity to be the first one to “break the news”, makes it much more attractive for him or her to write about you. You can obviously give that exclusive to only one journalist, but especially in the early days, you might have to use this trick to gain any coverage at all. If you go for it you can still pitch other journalists beforehand, but you have to embargo the press release for them.To this point, Neil Murray added:
“It’s also completely OK to be upfront about this, flatter them by saying you are taking this to them first but that you need a response within 48 hours whether they are interested otherwise you will have to take it elsewhere. I’d suggest creating some level of urgency. This will also lead to a definite answer and as we know in fundraising, a no is better than a maybe.”
9. Tell them how much you’ve raised
If you’re announcing a funding round, journalists will ask you how much capital you’ve raised. In most cases, my recommendation is to disclose the amount or at least give the journalists an approximate number. If an early-stage startup says “undisclosed”, journalists will typically hear “small amount” and become less interested in covering you. Also, if you don’t provide a number there’s a risk that someone will make one up, and once a rumored amount makes it into a news article somewhere, it will often get repeated by others.If a journalist pushes you for details that you’re not comfortable disclosing, e.g. your revenue numbers, politely decline to answer. Consider giving him or her a range or try to shift his or her attention to another relevant number (“we’re not disclosing any revenue numbers at this point in time, but what I can say is that we have more than 10,000 signups from more than 50 countries”).