Getting coverage in top media is desirable for any tech entrepreneur’s media strategy. Key outlets for the industry are well-regarded by experts, investors and partners, meaning startups can get high-quality attention faster.
At Mindset Consulting, we frequently work with TechCrunch, and almost all our clients have been covered there. These features can attract significant investor attention, create better brand awareness and drive your SEO rankings, all of which play an essential role in building your company.
So, if you're ready to learn how to get top tech media coverage, let's dive in.
Here's What to Pitch (and What to Skip)
Before you pitch, you need to know which types of news and publication formats they care about.
First, don't bother pitching ideas like partnerships, speaking events or team announcements (unless you’re Pinterest or GitHub). These topics won't get published, and you might not even get a response.
Instead, focus on things like raising investments or value-adding insights like pitch deck teardowns. TechCrunch is particularly interested in investment news, as demonstrated by our clients FlyFeed, Food Rocket and Quantori, all of which received coverage for successful investment rounds.
Features with interesting angles or expert op-eds from founders are also high on the list of pitches a journalist wants to receive. For instance, Berlin-based We Do Solar was featured as a response to the European energy crisis, and digital fashion startup Seamm’s founder Martina Martianova wrote an op-ed with insights on navigating mergers and acquisitions.
Six Steps For a Strong TechCrunch Pitch
1. Get a feel for the publication.
You can't make a successful pitch if you aren't familiar with the media. Spend time perusing the site, and don't try to pitch anything until you can perfectly describe their audience, topics they cover, which companies and experts regularly contribute and which topics are most in-demand.
It is also important to find their editorial guidelines and discern whether they have specific startup coverage requirements.
TechCrunch covers apps, consumer tech, fintech, greentech, hardware, media and entertainment, security, startups, transportation and venture.
2. Take the time to build a relationship with a relevant journalist.
This is the step that most companies gloss over because it's time-consuming. However, it's a foundational part of the process.
Journalists get hundreds of pitches every week. If you're just some random person to them, there's a high probability your message gets ignored or deleted.
Instead, research and follow journalists who might be interested in your news on Twitter. Interact with them and get to know which topics are of professional interest. Building relationships takes time and effort but pays off in the long run.
For TechCrunch specifically, remember that reporters are divided by geography as well as topic. Visit the staff page to ensure you connect with the right person.
3. Double-check that your idea is newsworthy.
One of the most frequent mistakes in startup PR thinking a product breakthrough or minor business announcement is important enough for journalists to want to know about when it’s really not newsworthy at all.
The reality is that it doesn't matter if it took you two years to build something or if a decision will improve your margins. It only matters if it alters how people live their lives, impacts the market or its competitive landscape or causes readers to become invested in what will happen next.
4. Embargo or exclusive? Choose your strategy.
When offering news to an outlet, you need to decide whether it's under embargo or an exclusive.
Embargoes are more common than exclusives, particularly in the U.S. market. They can be agreed upon with multiple outlets and give your company several benefits, including coordinating newsflow across timezones, determining optimal coverage of your message and limiting inaccuracies by giving journalists time to prepare high-quality material. Because an embargo means reporters do not have to rush to publication, they can ask clarifying questions and more thoroughly investigate the issue, resulting in better overall content.
Exclusives work differently. When you make an exclusive agreement with an outlet), you are offering it only to them and no others. Even after its release, you should not offer a press release to other media.
Founders often ask why they should limit news to a single outlet rather than sending the pitch to dozens or hundreds of correspondents at once. The important thing to remember here is that sending an email doesn’t guarantee publication. Even if you compile a huge media sheet, you may not get the extensive, high-quality coverage you want.
Giving exclusive coverage means you have the ability to achieve maximum efficiency and coverage by providing the best possible material and reaching your ideal audience. However, it’s critical to ensure that you choose the right reporter for this news (e.g., someone who is perfectly aligned with your niche) and that the topic you’re offering is noteworthy enough for an exclusive.
For example, announcements like a big collaboration with a famous person or company, impressive investments from a well-known fund or the launch of a truly revolutionary product are all exclusive-worthy news.
5. Write a brief, compelling pitch email.
Again, journalists get mountains of pitches every day, so be respectful of their time and get straight to the point. Distill your pitch to no more than seven sentences, and include company data, competitors, your brand's connection with the market and how your idea is relevant to the current trends.
6. Use common sense when following up.
Should you follow up? Absolutely. However, do so carefully and respectfully.
For instance, we once sent at least 30 follow-ups to get coverage for traveltech startup Mirai Flights about their latest investment round. While this is usually a good topic for TechCrunch, the task was complicated because the round was relatively small, and there were high barriers to entry for the company, including the eco-agenda and high expectations of the luxury sector. Overall, we spent nearly three months trying to get TechCrunch to cover one story!
Ultimately, our strategy was successful, but we wouldn't recommend doing that as a new contact. If you bombard them with pitches and follow-up emails, you'll get blacklisted and lose your opportunity to ever get coverage with them.
Instead, remember that success is far more likely if you send a confident, compelling pitch and well-timed, relevant follow-ups. Choosing your strategy carefully and sticking to it is a much better route to positive results.
Bonus Tips For Better Pitching
- Always check your pitch with peers. Outside eyes can give you perspective and help refine the talking points further.
- Give yourself at least three weeks of lead time. This ensures a smooth pitch process and leaves breathing room for a backup plan if needed.
- Google tips for your specific journalist. Many will post their preferences and suggestions online if you take the time to look.
- Invest in the Extra Crunch subscription. Much of their content is behind a paywall, and you can only write a great pitch with access to their entire publication.
- Spend at least an hour every day reading the latest news. This helps you know what's relevant and interesting to the journalists.