How to Earn Free Press for Your Business When You Have No Connections

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“Is that guy wearing leggings?”

“We should start a business selling male leggings.”

That’s all it took. One week later my business partners and I stood freezing in London’s Brick Lane Market with 22 pairs of female leggings “branded” with our male leggings brand.

But after eight hours in the cold, we saw zero sales. 

Fast forward two years, and sTitch Leggings was being prominently featured on the Daily Mail — an article from which we’re still converting traffic.

So how do you build press for a startup when you have no connections? 

I’ll walk you through some tips and examples below to help you learn how to get started and earn some recognition for your product or service. 

How To Get Free Press For Your Startup When You Have No Connections

1) Be remarkable.

We’ve all heard people use the word “remarkable” before, but what does it really mean? According to Merriam-Webster, being remarkable means being “unusual or surprising” or “likely to be noticed.”

In modern day society, male leggings are remarkable.

The man who sold his life on eBay is remarkable:

man_who_sold_his_life_on_ebay.png

The Ryanair CEO announcing that they will introduce standing seats to charge for toilets is remarkable:

ryanair_standing.png

“But what if my startup is inherently unremarkable?”

Great question. And a question that we were forced to ask ourselves in preparation for the upcoming launch of a startup that we are working on.

While preparing for the launch of Virtual Valley, software that connects entrepreneurs with virtual team members such as assistants, we found ourselves struggling to differentiate it from Upwork — a freelancing platform that operates very similarly.

Considering sources such as TechCrunch are unlikely to cover your startup launch if you don’t have some new, exciting technology (or one million dollars in funding), the odds that Virtual Valley would get featured were slim.

Sometimes, being remarkable doesn’t mean your product or service has to be truly unique. You can leverage remarkability to receive press by doing something remarkable. 

This could mean experimenting with a bold design on your website, developing a witty personality for your brand on Twitter, taking risks with your website copy, etc. These “outside-of-the-box” efforts might be received really well … or they might not. Either way, you’re getting people talking about your product or service. 

So what approach did I take to help Virtual Valley stand out? Well, that takes us to our next tip.

2) Piggyback on popular trends. 

Trends emerge is every industry that can help propel your search for free press without connections. Trouble is, you have to jump on them at the right time.

Fortunately for us, men wearing leggings had actually been covered by a number of popular sites — The Telegraph, Fashionista, etc. — prior to the launch of our company. 

When it came time to pitch journalists, we could reinforce the fact that “men wearing leggings” was newsworthy, as the topic had already been covered by other reputable sources.

So when deciding on an angle to pitch the press for our new startup Virtual Valley, we spent some time reviewing popular blogs in the startup world to spot any current trends.

One of which that really stood out was transparency:

During this time, we were also defining our company goals for the next two years, one of which being a seven-figure exit.

Would announcing this to the press be remarkable and connected to a recent trend? Would this story have a better chance of being published in TechCrunch than just writing a dull press release on the features of our product?

I guess we’ll find out

3) Consider different perspectives.

When approaching anyone that has something you want — in this case, a potential audience — you need to understand their perspective and incentives. This will help increase your chances of them actually taking the action that you want them to take. 

In the two sections above we have already been thinking from the perspective of the reporter. (Reporters are interested in remarkable stories connected to a relevant industry trend, right?) Now, you need to communicate your story in a way that speaks directly to the incentives of the reporter.

Here’s an example of an email I sent to The Daily Express, which ultimately lead to the Daily Mail article referenced above:

meggings_news.png

Why did this approach work?

  • It mentions a recent trend: “Meggings into the Mainstream”
  • It provides social proof by mentioning the publications that had already covered the topic, as well as the number of times the Daily Mail article had been shared.
  • It adds a personal touch by noting that the other articles touch on a Chicago-based male leggings company, and suggests they feature a brand “a little closer to home.”
  • It states that I’m happy to do the heavy lifting/content creation at the end.

With all of that in mind, it is not surprising that the reporter took on the story.

A relevant model on human behaviour which supports this theory is the Fogg Behavioural Model:

behaviour.jpg

Image Source: Behavior Model 

In order to increase the chances of a reporter taking on your story, we must consider the following three factors: 

  • Motivation. What is the reason that a reporter would publish your story? Will make them look good in front of their boss? Will it help them get promoted? Will it perform well in terms of views, comments, and shares? Once you understand their potential motivation, you will find it easier to communicate this to them.
  • Trigger. Triggers aim to capture a person’s attention. For example, Facebook uses notifications that trigger us to come back to the platform — whether it be to see that picture we have just been tagged in or what our friend just posted. In this case, the email being sent to the reporter serves as a trigger to incite action.
  • Ability. People are less likely to complete an action if the ability to take that action has been placed behind a barrier. In other words, you need to lower the effort barrier as much as possible to increase your chances of receiving press. (This is why I offered to create the content at the end of my email.)

4) Target specific publications.

Remember the motivation trigger above?

Well, there are certain journalists that will be more motivated to cover your story than others. This often falls back on their personal interests or responsibility for their media organisation. And these are the people to want to target. 

To find them, head to Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn to conduct some research. The key is to become more aware of each and every publication and journalist that covers your niche.

Record every potential publication and reporter in a Google Sheet that includes their average article social share counts and followers on Twitter, as this will help you prioritise.

Once you have a list of 20 potential reporters, follow each one on Twitter and engage with their content to get on their radar. 

5) Prepare necessary press assets in advance.

When your targeted reporter opens your pitch and scans your email you have one chance, as this is probably the 50th pitch he/she has read that day.

This reporter needs to access all the information they require to make a decision … or they may just move on to the next email.

To increase the reporters ability to make a decision in your favor, consider attaching these assets in an email or creating a dedicated press page on your website. 

Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to include the following:

  • Contact information
  • Company overview
  • Media mentions
  • New and existing press releases
  • Media assets — logos, screenshots, headshots, etc.

For more on how to put together an effective press page, check out this post. And to help you get started with creating an actual press release, use this template.

6) Be persistent. 

Here’s the thing about hunting for free press: you are going to get ignored, and you are going to get rejected.

What you do not see in the section above is the list of emails to every fashion reporter for national publications in the UK in my sent items that got rejected or no response:

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Rather than let it discourage you, set realistic expectations. You might only get one response for every 20 emails you send. That’s okay. Keep hustling. 

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, uses a concept called “the Flywheel Effect” to describe the effort it takes to build momentum for something. While the wheel is heavy and difficult to push, once you get it going, it will begin to turn itself. 

In terms of press, each feature that you receive will build the likelihood that you will receive more features in the future.

At sTitch Leggings, we would not have been featured in the Daily Mail if we did not land the feature in the Daily Express. And it’s likely that we wouldn’t have appeared on the UK television series, Dragons’ Den, unless we had been featured in the Daily Mail. And after being featured on the Dragons’ Den, we decided it was time to try to earn a spot on the HubSpot blog. And here we are.

Every press opportunity must be sought out through hustle, and celebrated once achieved. As the more press you receive, the more likely you will be to receive additional press, etc.

Still feeling unsure of how to get started with building free press for your business? Tell me about your product or service in the comments section below and I’ll see if I can help.

  free press release template

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23 Witty Grammar Jokes & Puns to Satisfy Your Inner Grammar Nerd

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Have you ever cringed at a “Got Milk?” ad? Feel a strange sense of pride when you find a typo in a reputable book? Did you secretly (or not-so-secretly) love making syntax trees in school?

Then you might just love these grammar jokes as much as we do. Here are a few of our favorites — share yours with us in the comment section! 

(Note: A few of them could be considered inappropriate in some work environments … )

Download our free writing style guide to learn how to eliminate grammar mistakes from your writing. 

23 Humorous Grammar Jokes & Puns

1) 

desserted-streets

Image from Write At Home

2) 

3) 

it-was-tense

Image from WeKnowMemes

4) 

too-possessive.jpg

Image from CartoonStock 

5) 

makes-me-sound-dry

Image from JoyReactor

6) 

10-items-or-fewer

Image from Bakersfield College Writing Center

7) 

grammar-the-difference

Image from Dump a Day

8)

squids-squad.jpg

Image from ScoopWhoop 

9) 

10) 

take-action-in-past

Image from Wrong Hands

11)

name-two-pronouns.jpg

Image from Tumblr

12) 

baby-seals

Image from Odd Loves Company

13)

slow-it-down.jpg

Image from Pinterest 

14) 

subordinate-clauses

Image from Tumblr

15) 

lets-eat-grandma

Image from Bilinguish

16) 

when-english-majors-marry

Image from Bizarro

17)

when-grammarians-grill.jpg

Image from Pinterest

18) 

eye-before-flea.jpg

Image from Grammarly 

19)

blade-named-sting.jpg

Image from BuzzFeed 

20) 

nerd-geek-dork

Image from shoebox

21)

to-funny.jpg

Image from someecards.com 

22)

classy-owl.gif

Image from Sentence First 

23) 

ancient-grammar-police

Image from GoComics

What are your favorite grammar jokes? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

download the free written style guide

 
fix grammatical errors with the free writing style guide E

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17 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2016 [Free Ebook]

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SEO is an evolving science. While some of the core principles will presumably stick around forever, the nuanced aspects of it are subject to continuous change. And as a result, many of the “proven” tactics people have used in the past — keyword stuffing, link schemes, etc. — are now stuff of legend.

Unless your organization benefits from having a dedicated SEO person who can work on this stuff day-in, day-out, keeping up with the latest changes in the world of SEO can be a struggle.

But in the end, adjusting your strategy based on search ranking algorithm updates or changes in the way search results are displayed visually can benefit your business. 

In our new guide, 17 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2016, we reiterate some of the best practices that should continue to guide your strategy through 2016, while also highlighting how SEO has changed over the course of 2015. 

Here’s an example of one those changes: Did you know that Google now favors and rewards mobile-friendly sites? Yep, it’s finally happening. This loose guideline turned into a legitimate ranking rule in 2015. 

Check out the SEO Myths guide to learn more about what changes you’ll need to make with your SEO strategy moving forward.

Click to Tweet:

Separate SEO fact from SEO fiction with @HubSpot’s new free guide! http://bit.ly/1Bgpy0O

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Editor’s Note: This post and offer were originally published in December 2014 and have been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide: common seo myths

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10 Photographers To Follow This Week


Follow Jena Ardell

Armed with their cameras, lenses—and perhaps, smartphones—these talented photographers capture compelling images of amazing places and wonderful things. These are the people with stories to tell, and they are inviting you to look through their discerning eyes. From the artistic to the commercial, the everyday to the extraordinary, these pictures are visual candies to sweeten up your day.

In our ‘Photographer of the Week’ series, you can live vicariously through these shutter-clicking story-tellers, whom you should be following on The Creative Finder.

If you are a photographer, illustrator or someone doing creative work, why not sign up at this professional portfolio network and share your work with other like-minded creatives.


Follow mitchell funk


Follow JOE FELZMAN


Follow Nick Tresidder


Follow Sebastien TERRIE


Follow Ivana Bubanj


Follow Egon Gade


Follow Lanny Nagler


Follow Jaime Scatena


Follow Oz John Tekson

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These Panties Are Designed To Change The World, Empower Girls Everywhere

We have previously featured these innovative period-proof underwear—now, there is another version of these panties that not only makes you feel better during that time of the month, but also allows you to help girls from around the world.

The team at Be Girl has created the EmpowerPanty, a product that is designed to “change the world”—in their words, they want to “empower girls to manage their bodies with dignity and choice every day of the month so they can go to school and participate in life”.

To help a girl who does not have access to sanitary options during their periods and are forced to stay home from school during this time, all you have to do is purchase an EmpowerPanty—for every one bought, one is given to a girl in need.

The EmpowerPanty is available in two versions—the Everyday EmpowerPanty and the Period EmpowerPanty. They also come in a range of bright and neutral colours to suit your lifestyle.

Head over to its Kickstarter campaign to find out more about the EmpowerPanty and its cause.

[via Kickstarter]

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What It Is Like To Live In A ‘Millennial Commune’ In New York City



Image by William Mebane

If you are a 20-something millennial who does not have a lot of money, living in a cool “millennial commune” in a trendy neighborhood in New York City would probably sound very attractive.

“I’m at Pure House, a so-called millennial commune in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. It offers fresh juice, discounts on activities like yoga at its event space in Williamsburg, plus spontaneous dinners and brunches in a positive community of like-minded, creative people.”

Recently, writer Alden Wicker spent a weekend at Pure House, a co-living space located in Williamsburg, New York City, in order to write an article about the experience for Refinery29. The result of this experiment is a fascinating and honest account of this new form of lodging that has been popping up around the city.

“The rent runs from $1,350 to $1,950 a month. That’s affordable compared to everything else in this trendy neighborhood, where a typical rental can be more than $3,000 per room.”

While the rent is relatively much more affordable than what you would usually find in the notoriously expensive city, Wicker found the environment at Pure House to be less than desirable. According to her, the rooms are under-lit and “gloomy”, and the furnishing consists mainly of IKEA furniture, a few paintings and lighting with cables stapled up the wall.

“He has good intentions, but I’m afraid this community could devolve into something unhealthy. Ryan expects the world to change for him and Pure House members.”

Overall, the writer also paints a rather unflattering image of Pure House’s founder Ryan Fix, and the “modern hippie”, sometimes awkwardly pretentious culture that he cultivates among his tenants—this article would definitely be a damper if you are thinking about moving into such a millennial commune.

Read the entire article here for more details about Wicker’s experience at Pure House.

[via Refinery29]

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Fans Of ‘Star Wars’ Create Spectacular Artworks Inspired By The Film


Image via Bennett Slater

It didn’t take long for fans to create new artworks inspired by the series’ latest addition Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

From sketch drawings to digital renderings, these fan-created visuals each carry a distinct style.

View some of the creations below and see more here.


Image via Aleksandr Kuskov


Image via Sonia Lazo

Chewie. #starwars #chewie #chewbacca #starwarsB&W #norm #grizandnorm

A photo posted by Griz and Norm Lemay (@grizandnorm) on Dec 29, 2015 at 8:41am PST

Image via grizandnorm


Image via euclase

I might be a little obsessed with the new #StarWars. #bb8 #theforceawakens #watercolor.

A photo posted by Levi Hastings (@leviathanleague) on Dec 27, 2015 at 12:50pm PST

Image via leviathanleague

I couldn't help myself… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens #FanArt #SOON #art #illustration #poster

A photo posted by Carlos Lerma (@thatlerms) on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:30am PST

Image via thatlerms

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Here is a birthday gift for a friend!

Posted by Jose Vega on Thursday, December 24, 2015
Image via Jose Vega

[via BuzzFeed, images via various sources]

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Dog Owner Illustrates Corgi As Characters From Popular Films



Image via White Collar Otter

A Seattle-based corgi owner known as White Collar Otter has been drawing the unsuspecting dog into scenes from popular movies, and the results are quite hilarious.

For example, the great white shark of Jaws has been replaced by the canine’s snout, while Han and Chewbacca of Star Wars both sport the corgi’s big ears.

Dog-lovers will probably agree with the artist that “any movie is better with a few corgis”.

Scroll down to view her illustrations, and head here for more of them.

Free Corgi #freewilly #dogart #corgi #corgination #dog #dogstagram

A photo posted by White Collar Otter (@white_collar_otter) on Dec 23, 2015 at 8:57am PST

A photo posted by White Collar Otter (@white_collar_otter) on Dec 24, 2015 at 6:56pm PST

The Corgishank Redemption (Gif'd version at whitecollarotter.com) #shawshankredemption #movie #classic #corgi #corgination #dogart

A photo posted by White Collar Otter (@white_collar_otter) on Dec 23, 2015 at 5:27pm PST

Say Corgithing #sayanything #corgi #corgination #dog #dogsofinstagram

A photo posted by White Collar Otter (@white_collar_otter) on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:20pm PST

A photo posted by White Collar Otter (@white_collar_otter) on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:21pm PST

[via Bored Panda, White Collar Otter]

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Watch: The Best Logo Changes Of 2015

2015 has seen many leading brands undergo logo changes, with one of the most notable being Google’s.

To wrap up another year of branding, Business Insider has combed through the Brand New website to pick out some of their favorite logo changes of the year.

Do you agree with their picks?

Click play to watch the video below.

[via Business Insider, images via video screenshot]

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Old Navy’s Discouraging ‘Anti-Artist’ T-shirts Stir Up Anger On The Internet

It is not uncommon for retailers to suffer a backlash when the public perceive their products to be inappropriate—and Old Navy is the latest brand to receive such unwanted attention on the internet.

The issue centers on a couple of statement t-shirts made for young girls that caught the eyes of some social media users—they are printed with the words “Young Aspiring Artist” with “artist” crossed out in exchange for “president” and “astronaut”.

Many on Twitter have taken offence with the message that these t-shirts are sending out, which seems to be that being an artist is not a valued occupation. For a company that actually relies on artists to sell their goods, this comes across as particularly ironic.

Twitter user Steve Ogden has decided to “fix” these t-shirts by suggesting new designs—you can see them below.

Head over here to find out more about this saga, and to read Old Navy’s statement in response to it. You can even buy a more inspiring version of the t-shirt here.

Fixed it for ya, @OldNavy #OldNavy #Artist #Creatives #Designers #Musicians http://pic.twitter.com/yQtA5QXyYx

— Steve Ogden (@SteveOgdenArt) December 30, 2015

[via Tech Insider]

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