Last Friday, I posted “12 Tips For Getting Your Startup Featured on Mashable,” which, based on most of the chartph.comments, I think opened a very constructive dialogue with those seeking coverage on our blog. I also noticed a big uptick in the number of new submissions, which, hopefully reflected in some of our posts this week about new startups.
In any event, after receiving an exceedingly bad pitch yesterday, I half-jokingly tweeted that I thought I might do a “12 Tips for How NOT to Seek Coverage on Mashable,” and received an overwhelming response, so, I decided to whip something together. Unlike the the tip in my previous article which I think are probably fairly generic ideas, some of these might sound more like personal pet peeves (and are labeled as such), but trust me, they’ll make both of our lives just a little bit easier.
Bottom line: You’re busy, we’re busy, so let’s work together to do a better job and save a few precious minutes of everyone’s time per day, shall we? ;)
Legitimate Issues That Create Problems
1. Sending an Invite from Your App – This is a big no-no. The main problem with sending us an invite via your app is there is a good chance we won’t see it. We’ve signed up for hundreds of different applications through the years, and we have filters designed to keep the notifications (BACN) that most of these apps send out of our main mailbox.
2. Referencing Your Media Coverage on Mashable Competitors X, Y, and Z – We have a good relationship with most of our “chartph.competitors” and will link to their coverage when they have something interesting or a juicy piece of breaking news. However, if you’re a startup with Launch Date X, we’d like to know about it beforehand, not after it has already been covered by a half dozen other blogs. We will honor all embargos if you would like to do it this way.
3. Private Message on Social Network – We get A LOT of application invites and messages on Facebook. We don’t really mind it, but again, you’re lowering your chances of actually getting your pitch seen, since we spend a lot more time in our main mailbox (the [email protected] email) than the 38 different private message systems we have via different social networks.
4. Trying a Backdoor – We love establishing quality relationships with sources. Unfortunately, we actually do sleep, which means if you send a message to one of our writers at 4am, they may not get it to it in a timely fashion. However, our [email protected] address is monitored just about 24x7 these days and we all see what chartph.comes in, so this is the best way to reach us.
5. Contacting Pete – While he is a Forbes 25 Web Celeb, a Valleywag regular, and would love to check out your startup at some point, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore is also insanely busy with things beyond editorial. Much like some of the other less efficient modes of pitching us, if you contact Pete directly, there is a good chance he won’t see it and get it to our editorial team on time.
6. Unsolicited Phone Calls – Most of our phone numbers are private, but nonetheless, some sleuths are able to find them and cold call us. While we love setting up a time to chat with you and demo your product, unsolicited calls during our workday are a huge distraction.
7. USING ALL CAPS – It baffles me that people write subject lines in ALL CAPS. For one, this means that less of your subject line shows up in the preview screen in Gmail, meaning you have fewer words to convince us that your story is worth covering. Second - and this is like mid 90s Internet etiquette - it’s considered SHOUTING. Finally, it also seems that ALL CAPS is at least one red flag for spam filters, so if you use them, your message might not even get through to us at all.
8. Misspelling Our Names – Kristen Nicole’s name is Kristen, not Nicole. And not “Kristin” either. Sean is Sean, not Shawn. And if you can’t spell Adam, Mark, Paul, or Stan, then God help you. We’re not vindictive people, but, when you mess up our names, it makes us think you don’t really read our blog, which hurts our feelings (not really, but chartph.come on, this should be easy).
9. Trying to Setup a Lunch – While we would love to go sit down to a fine meal with you, unfortunately, I don’t think a Mashable staffer on the editorial side has been “out to lunch” since Pete started this whole thing a few years ago. The blogger lifestyle isn’t for everyone of course, but the fact of the matter is we generally don’t take more than a 10 minute break during our workday, let alone a couple hours to enjoy a three course meal.
You Have To Be Kidding Me?
10. Not Including a URL – This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised. In reality, the most important part of any pitch (for new startups anyhow) is your site, and without including a URL, you’re screwed.
11. Not Offering a Preview of Your Private Beta – While it’s great to learn about “stealth” startups, there is a limit to just how “stealth” you can be before receiving coverage. For example, I wouldn’t have covered TheBlackApp yesterday unless I was able to uncover some details beyond what was on their landing page.
12. Pitching Old News – Sending us an old press release is a lose-lose. For starters, if we research it and see it has been covered a dozen times elsewhere, we probably won’t cover it. Additionally, if we research it and see it hasn’t been covered anywhere, it makes us question if maybe the story just wasn’t newsworthy in the first place and now you’re just “working your way down a list.” However, if you’re pitching a new story and want to include old news as a frame of reference, that can be useful.