I was just featured on StartCon, where I talked about the many ways to get press—and there are many in the digital era! I got quite the welcome, being cited as the third marketing influencer in the world according to Entrepreneur magazine. I also got a nod for my many contributions to a slew of tech- and entrepreneur-related media outlets including Inc. and Forbes. The first “secret” I spilled is that I get up to 200 pitches every single day, and I love it. That’s why I welcomed two people to pitch me their start up right there on stage with the promise to write up at least one of them (watch the video to see the pitches!).

These examples were proof that to even start pitching, you need an amazing product. When I ask who has a crappy product, there were a few hands—and that’s a good thing! We’ve all had crappy products. We also need to realize that customers are gold, because that’s what press wants. They want stories and people. Your product, even if it’s great, won’t go anywhere without customers. This means you need to know everything about your customers. Know who they are, what their paying points are, what problem they have and how you’re solving it globally as well as for every individual.

Zoning In

Know what sites your customers frequent via referral traffic. This shows you where you should start to target press. Do you have people who frequent certain sites? You need to focus on those sites and the press that’s at play there. When you’re building a product, make sure you stick with something simple—take AirBnB for example. “Find a good place to stay,” is a simple pitch. It tells you what they do and solves a problem.

A typical, bad pitch that I’ve personally received was dripping in long, drag-on tech speak. When I personally pitch a press, I create a list of contacts first. Stalk them on Buzzstream and use Google News. Stalking works (as long as it’s legal!). I even stalked my wife when I first saw her at a party. I stalked her on social media, connected with her that way, and it all worked out. Find out details about people, get integrated into their lives, and ethically research press by following them on every social media platform.

Research for Pitches

When you get to know writers and articles, you get to know their style. You know they write about their niche, you find out their interests, and you understand their lifestyle. Narrow down 15-20 writers at a time after researching them and commenting five times per day (for your 15-20 writers, not each). After 30 days, you can write a pitch email. Know that 81 percent of press prefers email.

Press wants to know if you’ve raised a lot of money, have a lot of users, and about your startup profile and website. Have a brief description of your project, founders, and funding outline. Timing is everything, and 6:30-7:30am is key for reaching press (check their time zone!).

Want to know more about how to pitch? Check out the complete video for some critical hacks, tips, and tricks.