The Ultimate Checklist for Your Startup’s Media Pitch

May 13, 2015

11:00 am

You’re at your desk, ready to press Send on your media pitch, and the niggling doubts begin. Is this the best it can be? Am I missing something crucial? Once you hit Send, you can’t take it back.

To give you a bit more peace of mind – although humiliating typos are still possible – we’ve created a checklist you can consult before you send your next media pitch. Tick all the boxes, and you’re well on your way to a successful pitch email.

(Of course, the story or angle is the heart of any pitch, but that’s a bit complex to go on a checklist. This checklist assumes you’ve got a solid story – the hearty main course is already finished, and now we want to plate it up and add the sides.)

Read the checklist below, and then click the link at the bottom of the page to download your own startup media pitch checklist:

The Basics

1. Who you are: Journalists want to know who this stranger is who’s cold-emailing them. Make sure to clarify if you’re the CEO, director of marketing, or the PR person.

2. Why this is timely: Timeliness ensures that your story gets covered today rather than anytime in the future (read: never). Your story is obviously timely if you’re launching or announcing something, but it can also be timely if you tie it to something else in the news (like the latest gadget launch) or a holiday or season (gifts for graduates!).

3. Links: This should go without saying, but don’t forget to link to your website or Kickstarter campaign. Avoid too many links, because we’re not sure which ones to click on and you might get marked as spam.

4. Evidence of success: There are thousands of startups out there – why is yours one of the few that will make it big? Tell us about your impressive user numbers or downloads, famous investors or advisors, or partnerships with well-known companies. Heck, even tell us about the accelerator you went through or the school you graduated from, if nothing else.

5. Stage: To evaluate you properly, we need to know how old you are. Is your product or app still an idea, in public or private beta, or three years old and venture-funded? We expect different levels of success from each of these.

6. Correct spelling: Spell the reporter’s name and publication right. No brainer, you’ve got it? Check it again. Trust me.

What to avoid

7. No bcc: If you bcc me, I will delete you (probably). No journalist likes to know they’re one among countless many getting the exact same pitch.

8. No special formatting: Flowery fonts and bright colors might attract attention, but in a bad way. Along the same lines, please don’t use Mailchimp or other mass email sending tools – it has the same effect as a bcc.

9. No attachments: Making us download and read a file is another extra step we probably won’t want to take. If you want to include a press release or media kit of some kind, put it up on your website and link to it (or paste it below your email, if you must).

10. No false flattery: Did you really “love that article” I wrote? No? Don’t say it unless it had you up all night pondering the meaning of life.

Get the Ultimate Checklist for Your Startup’s Media Pitch here.

Image credit: Flickr / kkirugi / CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped)

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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