What I Learned about Press Hacking

Thanks for everyone who attended our Press Hacking Hangout yesterday. It was a privilege to work with Adam and Nathan to produce it, and a ton of fun to take your questions live.

If you’re new to “Press Hacking” this is the post that started it all

Here’s the recording, including bookmarks for each of the questions we answered (show starts at 1:35:38):

Subscribe to participate in our next Hangout: Email or RSS

We also wanted to summarize our key takeaways from the session.

My Learnings

I used to think press was a great way to get customers – now I feel the opposite.

Press is another form of advertising; an expensive one.

It costs fewer $’s than Adwords, but it costs much more time and mental energy…plus I have much less control, and it’s not a sustainable source of leads. Press is great for brand building, buzz building, and ego building. For customer acquisition though, I’ll be focus on solving a “hair on fire” problem and telling customers about it via a sustainable customer acquisition channel. If I do that, my next adventure will fair much better than ThingWeStart (even if it did get piles of press coverage).

My Favorite Press Tactics

Tactic #1: How will I measure success for my next press campaign? (hint: just getting press is not success) I’ll think of press like any other experiment (Success = x new customers at y% conversion rate).
Tactic #2: Pick 2 blogs my customers read. Start leaving value-add comments on both of those blog articles each time they post. If I help these bloggers, they’ll help me.
Tactic #3: Test your press pitch. Before you start a campaign, test it with reporters you’ve built relationships with – see if they bite. When you do, send different versions of the pitch to different journalists, see which pitch resonates the best. When you launch the campaign, use the pitch that resonated the best.

Adam’s High-Level Thoughts

Use the “trail of breadcrumbs” approach to press: Use press coverage to lay out a series of data points that will lead people to your company or product. You may not see direct or immediate results, but the real value will show out in the longer term.

Adam’s Favorite Tactics

Tactic #1: Find the narratives in and around your company and match them up with publications, i.e., the local paper in your founder’s hometown, the alumni publication for your business school, the amateur musician news site that your top customer is a part of, etc.
Tactic #2: Be your own journalist: Generate research and data that has value for news outlets, customers or other members of your industry in the form of reports or infographics. Share them through your own site or a press release service.
Tactic #3: Make yourself discoverable as an expert and resource through sites like Helpareporter.com and Newswise.com and by having information for media inquiries on your site (phone #, location)

Adam will be following up on his blog with more information about maximizing press. Subscribe there for more information, or shoot us any additional questions the comments below. Our next post will be…How to Interview Customers! Subscribe to make sure you get it Email or RSS

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  1. MTurk + Google News = Press
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One comment

  1. Natalie Hodge MD

    Hi Justin, We just watched your go to market next video today and I was wondering what site you used for your step one split testing to validate your pricing? Was it unbounce? App.io has some features and direct app download link, but cannot use to split test? Any thoughts or suggestions would be useful!

    Thanks, Natalie https://app.io/MAItOq password: activate1

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