Geico spends 3 billion dollars a year on media. Media is any place an ad is placed – Subway print ads, sponsored Facebook posts, Preroll ads, TV commercials, whatever.
If you’re a startup you probably have closer to $0. The good news is the most effective advertising media costs absolutely nothing. It’s called earned media, which essentially just means free publicity. Like we did with our FtheL campaign. So why isn’t everyone doing this
It’s hard as fuck. Media outlets get paid to do advertising and you want them to promote you for free? The odds are against you. But there is a formula to increase your chances.
Here it is:
- Play to their hand. Research what people are reporting on in regards to your product. So for Levy Electric we found that legalization was a hot topic and we made things based on that.
- Be remarkable. If the thing you made isn’t entertaining, educational, emotional, or relevant, try again.
- Get emails. Find emails for every journalist who’s recently written about the thing you made. Here’s a post I made on how to do that.
- Use YAMM. It allows you to send a shitload of personalized emails at the same time using excel. Wrote a post about this too.
- Write the perfect pitch email.
- Send enough at the right time. If 10% of journalists respond to you, you’re doing really good. Given that, you want to send A LOT of emails. Be sure to do it at 8am on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
- Ask for advice. If they don’t respond follow up and ask for advice on how to pitch them better. It’s genuinely helpful for you and gets a much higher response rate. I almost didn’t include this because it’s so uncommon I’m worried I won’t be able to use it if more people start. Oh well.
- Create a database. Anybody who responds to you, put in a database. That way you can hit them up the next time you have something they might be interested in covering.
That is the primary method I use to get free press, but there are a bunch of other ways. Reddit, HARO, Op-Ed’s. So I’m always trying to learn and improve my methods. So if you have a different way you do things, please share it in the comments below.