Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget

Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget

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On the surface, the process of getting press coverage sounds simple. But, because journalists are constantly pitched about new products, standing out from the crowd can be difficult.

Whether you’re an established business, or you're just getting started, it’s never too soon to let people know about your product. Choosing the best outlet to promote your business is only half the battle.

We’re going to look at some of the most clever ways you can get any influencer or journalist’s attention—even in a crowded space—so you can get more traffic and sales for your business.

How to Get Press Coverage by Bypassing Traditional Methods

Getting traditional press coverage can be an extremely difficult process. Often, journalists and editors are overloaded day and night with pitches.

Every day there are thousands of press releases sent out. No wonder its hard to get noticed.

Because of this, contacting blogs that are targeted to your niche, rather than pitching your product to a traditional news outlet can be much more effective, and is a much less saturated area to tackle.  

Quite often, you’ll find that blogs have a page for you to submit product tips. As an example, take a look at Mashable’s Submit News page. You can use this to your advantage.

Best of all, it’s totally free.

How to Find Top Bloggers and Influencers

You can leverage the power of Google to make your life much easier when hunting down sites to contact.  

By simply doing a Google search for sites related to your product or niche, you’ll be able to find blogs, journalists and influencers that can get the word out about your product.

These blogs and influencers are extremely valuable, as their readers and followers are all potential customers.  

According to a study from Nielsen, 92% of buyers trust recommendations and products from people they know, and 70% trust opinions and reviews they find online.

Here’s some of the best search strings to use:

  • top X bloggers
  • blogs like X
  • X product reviews
  • X influencers
  • X product influencers

You’ll want to grab as much information as you can. Anything from a contributor’s first and last name, to their email address, to where they live—all of this can be useful.

Be sure to check out some of their recent work as well, as it’s always nice to mention that you like their work when reaching out to them.

Step 2: Contact Bloggers
Bonus Download
: 7 Free Blogger Outreach Scripts

Each script can be customized to suit your business, industry, and desired outcome.

Don’t want to do all the leg work? Try hiring someone from Fiverr or Craigslist to do it for you.

Alternatively, you can use a resource called Press Farm that is a compilation of over 250 individual’s contact information for companies like Business Insider, Forbes, Mashable and many more.

Additional Reading: How Blogger Outreach Can Help You Grow Your Ecommerce Business

Product Blogs to Jumpstart Your Business

One certain way to get press coverage is to be featured on a blog that specifically writes about new or interesting products.

Blogs like Uncrate, Outblush, Cool Material, and Supercompressor are all great places to reach out to.

Here’s a list of product blogs that all have been successful in driving traffic and sales to online stores:

Because these are all curated to a certain style, getting your product featured can be a bit difficult. You’ll want to go through these blogs and make sure that you have product shots that match their aesthetic.

Sometimes its seemingly impossible to track down the people who curate these blogs. So how do you get in touch if there’s no obvious way of contacting them?

Be inventive in your approach.

  • Use Google to find out if the blog is working under another company. For instance, Uncrate works under Zombiecorp LLC. Contacting them directly is a creative way to get past all of their regular contact submissions.
  • Perform a WHOIS search to find out the owner of the domain name and contact them through the email address listed there.
  • Find businesses that have been featured on these blogs, and contact them directly to see if they can provide any contact info or insight into the curation process.
  • Find one of the writers on LinkedIn and send them a connect request. Make sure you send them a custom message that's not too long.
  • Send them a Facebook message if you can find their personal profile. Don’t be too pushy with this one though—some people prefer to keep their Facebook profile private.
  • Tweet at them directly, as well as the company or blog they write for. Followerwonk is a fantastic service that will help you dig into this information.
  • See if there is a phone number that you can leave them a voicemail at. Use this one as a last resort, and make sure to make it quick and concise.

Spying on Your Competitors

Another great way to find places to contact is to check your competitors’ backlinks. This tactic is extremely simple.

The best way to do this is through a service like OpenSiteExplorer.

Just head over to their page, and input your competitor’s domain name.

Spying on Your Competitors

Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re looking at the inbound links tab.

Spying on Your Competitors

From there, take a look at the list of inbound links.

Spying on Your Competitors

From this list, you can see where your competitor is getting their traffic from. All that you have to do now, is reach out to these websites.

Reach Out, Don't Pitch

You’ll find that if you send out a generic email, you probably won’t get a response. You’re looking for a long-term relationship instead of quick-hit story coverage so that you can reach out to them every time you have a new product.

There’s a few things you can do to almost guarantee a response.

  • Have a strong email subject that gets their attention and makes them want to open your email immediately. Avoid things like using all caps.
  • Include a phone number they can reach you at in case they have any questions.
  • Offer a product sample, even if you have to pay for it.
  • Add some personality to your email.
  • Followup after a week if they don’t respond.

Here’s an example of a generic email. Try to avoid something like this.

Reach Out, Don't Pitch

It’s obvious that this is a copy and pasted email, or that the person reaching out has no interest in forming a relationship.

Here’s an example of the same email, but reworked to get more attention and to start a long-lasting relationship.

Reach Out, Don't Pitch

Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone when you’re reaching out. In fact, push them for an answer.

Email Subjects:

  • Quick request
  • Have you heard about [name of your product or company]
  • Hey there! Just trying to connect
  • Hey [their name]—check us out!

Email Scripts:

Hey [name]!

Just emailing you today as I saw your most recent post about [subject related to yours]. I’m a huge fan of your work, and was wondering if you would be interested in learning more about our product.

I’ve started a business selling [product] and it’s been selling like hotcakes. You can check it out here [link]. So far, people love it.

If you’d be interested in hearing more about it, let me know. You can reach me at [number] if you have any questions. I think your readers would love to try our product as well.

Let me know what you think.  I’d be more than happy to send a sample your way as well :)

Talk to you soon,

[your name]
[contact info]
[website url]
Hey [name]!

Trying to reach out today to see if you’d be interested in checking out this new business I started. It’s called [name] and we sell [product], which is [description]. So far, people love it!

I think it would align well with what you’ve been writing about at [blog name] - we’d love it if you were the first to break the story. What do you think?

If you think you’d be interested in hearing more, let me know. I’d be more than happy to schedule a time to chat, and would love to send a sample your way.

Cheers!
[yourname]
[contact info]
[website url]
My name is [name] and I'm emailing you today to see if you'd be interested in writing about my new business, [business name]. We sell [product] to add an extra bit of [pun] into your day.

[website url]

I think some of your readers would love to hear about [your product], what do you think?

I have tons of high quality pictures and more information if you need any. Can also send some samples your way!

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Cheers.

[yourname]
[contact info]
[website url]

Hint:

Want to make this process way easier? Take a look at the app called TextExpander. It lets you paste frequently used text, images and links by simply using an abbreviation. I’ve been using it for a while. Take a look at how much time I’ve saved by using it:

Hint:

Using Social Community Forums to Your Advantage

For immediate traffic and potential sales—you can use different social news platforms to your advantage.  

These all have very active communities and are often where journalists look when they want to be the first to break a story on a new business, or product.

Here’s some of the most popular ones that you can submit your product to:

Reddit is by far the easiest to use in order to get your product in front of potential buyers. It’s enormous, and gets over 5 billion page views per month. It’s a great way to get feedback on everything from store design to product pricing and everything in between.

Be sure to checkout a few subreddits that are full of new, cool products. Take a look at Shutup and Take My Money as a starting point.

Shutup And Take My Money Subreddit

Another option is to take advantage of how inexpensive it is to advertise on reddit.  You can get extremely targeted advertisements for as little as $5.

The Snowball Effect

Now that you’ve reached out to these different areas of the internet, you’ll find that things will start to snowball.  

If you’ve been featured on any product blog at this point, chances are the others will take note and will also feature your product.

If you make enough noise, you’ll get larger news outlets reaching out to you.  

Many businesses will have a section on their storefront that showcases where they’ve been featured. This is a highly effective way to create social proof which builds buyer validation and trust in your business.

The Snowball Effect

Many Shopify themes have a Logo List Section that makes this very simple to setup.

Conclusion

One viral piece of content can make a huge long-term difference in your sales. You’ll find that getting press coverage using influencers and product blogs can be much more effective than sending out a press release.

About the Author

Tucker Schreiber is an ecommerce entrepreneur and Content Marketer at Shopify.

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