Press releases are one of the most effective ways of keeping journalists, investors and potential investors up to date with what's going on at your company. By creating and maintaining this relationship, your chances of being covered in the media or being approached by investors / partners increases exponentially.
Sending a press release is different to writing blog posts. On your company blog you might write all sorts of content for marketing purposes or inform users of product tweaks etc - content that is valuable to your immediate audience but not "newsworthy" to a greater audience. And in fact, reaching out to journalists with non-newsworthy announcements can be counter-productive to creating a relationship. So what is newsworthy? This is a list of 10 business-related events in your company's life where it's time to reach out to the press and to add to your press releases archive!
1) We've launched
Your company launch is the first time you'll think about sending a press release. Curiously though, it's one of the least newsworthy. Think about it, launching is just proof that you and your team can execute - it's not yet proof of market validation. You can improve your press release at this stage by explaining:
- What pain point are you solving and why?
- Is there a personal story behind your product?
- Give a glimpse of the future, what's going to happen a year from now?
2) We've rolled out an amazing new feature
Emphasis on the word amazing. If you've made some UI changes, this is probably not newsworthy (unless you're Facebook). If your feature pushes humanity forwards in some way - sure, it's time to talk to the press!
3) We've reached X amount of users
Journalists and investors alike are interested in real progress. Facebook-related news is newsworthy because 1 billion people use it. The more people using your product or service, the more newsworthy you become - and as a neat little meta to this, hitting user milestones is newsworthy. Send a press release if you have reached a higher number of users than a close competitor, or if you can demonstrate faster growth than competitors.
4) We've pivoted
One of the roles of the tech press is to educate a generation of entrepreneurs. Any lessons you can give the media that will help educate their audience, is newsworthy. If your original idea failed, but in the process you stumbled across a new idea that's working - tell the press your story.
5) We've raised funding
It's a bit of a cliche, but raising funding is newsworthy. There's often a great story behind funding rounds - don't forget to tell that story. How did you raise - was it a long slog or did investors beat down your door? What are you going to use the money for?
6) We've hired someone awesome
The tech press likes to know when big names move around. If your startup hires an exec away from a bigger company, or brings a known "rockstar" on board, tell the press. Don't forget to include a quote from the new hire, explaining the change and the upcoming challenges.
7) We've partnered with a big company
Market validation can be shown in several ways, one of them being user growth, another being a big company signing some kind of deal. Even partnering with another startup can be newsworthy if the reason / mechanics behind the partnership are new and interesting.
8) We've expanded
Opened a new overseas office? Tell the press! Regional or international expansion counts as "real progress" (see point 3) and sending a press release out can help boost the awareness of your new operations.
9) We've discovered something amazing
Sometimes startups end up doing market research, deep diving into data or going out and gathering their own data. If you find out some interesting statistic that affects one of your business decisions somehow, tell the press. Perhaps you've discovered that 90% of Android owners hate cats, so you've decided to cancel the release of your CatCam instagram-for-cats app for Android.
10) We've been acquired!!
Just remember that all journalists hate writing the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Spill some numbers :)