Question: One thing tech startups are not that great at is getting press coverage for launches. What's your zaniest-but-proven tip for getting publicity for a tech product?
Establish Reporter Relationships
"I email reporters and writers once every few weeks with story ideas. This helps me build relationships with them and helps them learn trends and topics that they might not be aware of otherwise. They love covering things before their colleagues do. Then, when they need a source, they call me. "
Build Something Valuable
"It's crazy to think this is a zany tip, but too many people focus on building "me too" businesses that do nothing to separate them from what other companies have already done. The press want something new and interesting, so focus on building something valuable. When you've got something valuable, let the press know. Or better yet, get your customers or users to tell the press for you."
Demo the Product
"People love to play with new toys. Tech reporters are no different. Pitch a reporter on doing a demo. If that pitch falls short, is there a way to visually show a reporter what your product can do? For example, I created an app called Humm Baby that allowed San Francisco Giants fans to insert fun props (such as the World Series trophy) into their photos and share them with friends. Our pitch to tech reporters was taking photos that we found of them online, dressing them up using our app and tweeting their mocked-up photo back to them. Full disclosure: a couple reporters thought this approach was creepy. Maybe it was, but one of our mock photos got us on Mashable, and another couple of photos opened up some long-lasting relationships. Bottom line: show what your product can do."
Find a Way Into Mainstream
"A great way to get exposure for your startup is to find a way to bring your product into the mainstream -- even if the mainstream doesn't usually care about it. For example, a few years ago we redid our link-building service -- something most people would not find interesting. We did a pro bono campaign for Pittsburgh and got the city's website to rank No.1 for the Google search "the best city in the world." This got a lot of media attention!"
Post Blogs About Tech Stacks
"I'm not much of a marketing guy, but one of our biggest traffic spikes came from a blog post about our tech stack. We explained all of the software we used to build our product Ginger. It got picked up on Hacker News and some other aggregates and took off."