If you’re hoping to reach a wider audience, looking to have your Crowdfunder project featured in the press should be on your priority list.
Reaching out to a news outlet might seem a little daunting at first, but it’s actually not that difficult or complicated. Journalists are always on the lookout for good stories and can be really responsive to the right pitch. There are no guarantees of course, and you may find that your project doesn’t attract as much media attention as you’d hoped. But when it does work, press coverage can be a brilliant way to widen your reach and attract new supporters.
The best way to approach a news outlet is with a press release. This is a simple written document that tells media outlets everything they need to know about your project and why it’ll be interesting to their audience. Don’t worry if you haven’t written a press release before, as this handy guide will help you to craft something effective.
Start with a headline
This needs to be catchy and sum up exactly what you’re doing. Make sure your project name is in there and remember to include your location.
For example: ‘Manchester based ‘project title’ launch ‘what your project is about’ to raise ‘x amount’.
Punchy first paragraph
This should be a one-sentence paragraph or opening statement that gets straight to the point. Think about this sentence as the one you will use if you had 30 seconds to explain your project. Remember to include your project name, what you need the money for and how much you want.
For example: ‘Project title’, need ‘x amount’ to help them …’
Get into the detail
Use the next two paragraphs to explain your project in a little more detail. Your headline and first paragraph will be so punchy, that everyone will want to know why they should be interested in your project. Use these paragraphs to outline what exactly the money is being used for and what impact it will have. Make sure you cover what sets you apart from others doing something similar. You can use information from your project page for this part.
For example: ‘The ‘x amount’ raised through Crowdfunder.co.uk will be used for …’
Include a quote
It’s now time to add a really interesting quote that stands as a testimonial to your project. Make sure you use your quote to say how important your project is and why people should pledge. Always make sure the quote is from the project owner, or someone influential.
For example: ‘Your name, your title’, said: We believe that ‘project title’ is a great project that will benefit the local community. The ‘x amount’ of money we are hoping to raise through Crowdfunder will enable us to …’
This is the time to really sell your project and sum it all up. Mention your rewards, or the impact your idea will have on a greater scale, and remember to put the link to your Crowdfunder project page.
For example: ‘Project title’ are offering some great rewards, for ‘x amount’ you can get etc…’ OR ‘Project title’ will have a huge impact on the community by…’
Now that you have crafted your press release, it’s time to think about how you’re going to connect with media outlets. Here’s seven helpful tips to help you along the way.
1. Make connections
Ask if anyone you know has any contacts in the press. An introduction can massively improve your chances of getting coverage.
Look through newspapers to find the name of journalists who are writing about stories like yours. When you email your press release over, address it to them personally and follow up with a phone call. You can often find journalists’ email addresses in their Twitter bios. You can also use search engines to find the details that you require to contact various media outlets.
2. Time is of the essence
Wait until your project has started to gain some momentum before pushing out a press release. It needs to be ‘newsworthy’ to catch journalists’ attention, which is usually just after launch, when it hits a key milestone, or closes successfully. It’s usually a good idea to avoid sending your press release over the weekend, before 10am or after 5pm. By aiming for the mid-week middle-of-the-day window, you should catch journalists when they are in less of a rush.
3. Go local
A bigger audience doesn’t necessarily mean more support for your project. Unless your project has a significant national impact, concentrate your time on local media. Local news outlets love publishing stories with local angles, so make the connection to your hometown clear in your press release.
4. Include photos
Gather together a selection of vibrant high resolution photos to go alongside your press release. They should include real people, not just products and a mix of portrait and landscape orientated images. Happy faces are always good! To avoid being marked as spam, don’t include the images as attachments. Instead, include a link to a Dropbox or Google folder that contains photos so that the journalist can browse and pick their favourites.
5. Your Crowdfunder link
Make sure all press coverage mentions your Crowdfunder project specifically. Include your project link and check the spelling carefully and ask for it to be included in the piece.
6. Be useful
Journalists are contacted every day by strangers who only want publicity, without offering much in return. To stand out, don’t rush straight in with your request and instead think about how you can help them. For example, can you be an expert on a particular topic? Or can you offer an alternative perspective on something that’s already in the news?
7. Follow up
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get any coverage straight away, as you may need to chase them to get noticed. If you hear nothing in the first instance, it’s important to follow up on your press release with another email a couple of days later.
Looking for more guidance on your crowdfunding project? Head over to our Knowledge Hub.