Begging For Initial Press
Building Stork in all of the unscalable ways
‘Hey Mr./Ms. Established Reporter/Blogger! I’m a startup you’ve never heard of with a product you’ve never felt or seen, and a website that has no online footprint…so you should probably write about me and my startup, and advocate on my behalf…please?!’
My outreach email was more well-written than that, but the core message wasn’t much different.
Using a template PR outreach email I scanned the internet for similar businesses — apparel startups, subscription businesses — and looked for what blogs and sites wrote their launch articles. I then emailed writers from sites like Cool Material, Refinery29, Esquire, audience.io and a few smaller blogs. I got a few responses from the smaller publications, but nothing serious.
I decided to switch it up, and took my strategy to the local blogs.
I eventually got a response from The Tribeca Citizen, a blog run by longtime Tribeca resident, Erik Torkells. After syncing our schedules I met up with Erik to take a picture for the article at a local Tribeca coffee shop.
We found a spot to shoot the picture using a signature Tribeca-looking industrial-ish background. After he took the photo I asked Erik when he was going to post the article, and how many people would read it. He said, ‘I’ll do it when there’s no other news to post, and I don’t really know how many people will read it.’ I chuckled, told him that was cool with me — it was his site, and he knows best. We parted ways.
The two spikes on March 6th was when the article in the Tribeca Citizen was published and when I showcased at the NYU Entrepreneurship Festival, and then the second on March 9th was when the Tribeca Citizen newsletter was sent out.
The next week was pretty crazy. I needed to reorder inventory immediately in order to keep up with the spike in traffic and customers — a good problem to have. All of a sudden I had a bunch of customers that weren’t family or friends — that was pretty cool.
That one blog from the Tribeca Citizen had become Stork’s Kickstarter of sorts, though I didn’t have to pay to create a slick video or the 10% Kickstarter fundraising fee ☺. I thanked Erik and offered him an undershirt.
Overall, begging for initial press for your startup is a high-volume, time-consuming and low-success exercise; though, pushing through and getting your first few publications will lead to more press. Offer a sample to bloggers. Take chances on smaller publications — they may end up having more loyal readers. It’s too early to know what works and what doesn’t. Tell yourself — within reason — that every article and publication will benefit your business. Optimize your efforts later. At this point it’s about building a buisiness and exapnding your online footprint.
I‘ll be writing one piece per week about an experience, triumph or defeat as I grow Stork from nothing to something