Anatomy of blekko's press launch
Today’s news generated coverage in several top-tier national business outlets, including NYT, WSJ, AP, Reuters, Huffington Post, WIRED, FT, TIME, and BBC, as well as multiple leading tech outlets, such as Mashable, PC Mag, PC World, CNET, eWeek, ZDNET, BusinessInsider and many more.
The AP piece received more than 70 reposts in multiple top-tier outlets including CBS News, CNBC, NBC Today Show, LA Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Seattle PI, to name a few.
Broadcast coverage has also been really strong with more than 85 airings nationwide mentioning Blekko’s launch.
Rich made a great appearance on Bloomberg TV.
We’ve also received coverage from NPR, as well as NBC, CBS and ABC network affiliates in the Top DMAs including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles and Dallas.
Today’s news also generated quite a bit of social media buzz with over 3,200 tweets to date. The Mashable piece alone received more than 1,400 retweets.
After the Wall Street Journal broke our press embargo 5 hours early, someone on Hacker News asked why we were launching the site on a Sunday afternoon.
But if you want to be in the Monday morning press, a writer's story needs to be done and ready by Sunday. Edited and approved and fact-checked and, and if it's going to be in print, sent to the printing-press. And you had to meet with them to tell them your story before that. So the article is actually done long before you read it, and is just working its way through some process until it lands on someone's doorstep or pops up on a website.
For any kind of big press announcement, however, there isn't a single story. You want many people writing about you - for something major, like a new product announcement, as many as you can get. So you have to coordinate a bunch of different writers, and try to get all the press to show up at the same time.
You coordinate multiple stories coming out at the same time with an "embargo", which is generally a cluster-fsck, because trying to get 20 journalists to agree to all hit "publish" at the same time on a story is like herding cats. The embargoes have been broken on every large PR event I've ever been a part of. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's just a mistake.
Nearly all business press comes out this way.
If a startup decides to not bother with all of this embargo stuff, they don't get a press pop. No Techmeme, no Digg, no Hacker News, no Reddit, no Google News, no Twitter glow. No secondary press -- reporters tend to write about what they hear a lot of other reporters writing about. You just see a random story here and there occasionally.
I did 20 press briefings last week. We had so many back-to-back interviews last Friday we hired a cab to drive us around the city all day. We couldn't have kept the schedule if we had to find parking each time.
btw, if you don't have a great PR firm, you won't have this problem. You won't have 20 meetings in one week with 8 of them on Friday.
I love the part where I get to tell the story. The more open you are, the more interesting it is. Just tell them what it's really like to be an entrepreneur trying to push out some crazy-brained idea on the market. How you raised money, got people to join, found cheap hotel rooms for the launch and got camping cots and a crock-pot of chili and whatever else you did. It's way more interesting that some dry old press release. And more fun to tell, too.
In the end we got a ton of press - nearly all of it positive.
But it doesn't just happen by itself.