Last updated on August 27, 2022
It was Friday morning. It was going to be just another normal day at work. I ate breakfast, opened my Laptop & I had a gazillion Twitter notifications / Slack messages.
Our company’s TechCrunch press release went live a couple of hours ago.
Not only were we featured on TechCrunch, we were the story of the day on TechCrunch. Featured on the front page for the whole day.
We were getting demo requests by the minute across the day. By the end of the day, we had 70 customer calls scheduled across the next 2 weeks.
We’re a 7 person startup. No PR agency. Our SaaS product is in a boring niche. So how did we get picked up by TechCrunch and 44 other media outlets?
I’m going to walk you through the EXACT steps that we follow to do a killer SaaS press release.
Why do you need a SaaS press release? What’s the objective?
It’s important to ask yourself this question – “What’s the objective of the press release?”
A lot of SaaS companies do a press release for the sake of it. I absolutely hate that.
- “We announced a feature – let’s announce it to the world with a press release.”
- “We just raised funding, let’s get some brand awareness by pitching to media outlets.”
- “We just hired a killer VP of Sales. Let’s hype this news and do a press release so our market gets to know about it.”
A good PR professional will always advise you to have an objective in mind before doing the press release and then tailor your press release with that objective in mind. This will allow you to execute a killer SaaS PR campaign.
There can be a lot of reasons why a press release is done in SaaS. But here are four of the most common reasons:
- Build backlinks. A good press release can help you get a TON of high domain authority backlinks in one campaign. This can give a good long term push to your SEO strategy.
- Get social proof. Getting your company covered in a reputed media outlet is a great way to build social proof for early visitors / prospects / customers. Early adopters will be more likely to try your product when you have good social proof.
- Brand awareness opportunity. A good press release is a great way to make a splash in your target market signalling that you have arrived. Everyone follows big media outlets like TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Bloomberg or Forbes. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of a large relevant audience.
- Get customers. A good press release can also help you build a large waitlist of users, grow pipeline of product demo requests and eventually help you acquire customers. Although rare, there are examples where a company went viral because of a good media mention.
Whatever be the reason, it’s important to define what your goal is with the press release before actually going ahead with the next steps.
When is a good time to do a SaaS press release?
- You’ve raised funding. Example
- You’re launching a new product to the market. Example
- You’ve merged with another company / you’ve acquired another company. Example
- You released a big product update to your existing product. Example
- You signed a major partnership with another company. Example
- You did a major rebranding exercise. Example
- You’ve hired someone senior in your leadership team or doing a major talent acquisition drive. Eg – “Appointed a new CMO” or “Offering a relocation bonus to move out of SFO”
- You’ve gotten a prestigious award or accomplished something significant. Eg – “Highest rated software in a Gartner category” or “Crossed $50M ARR”. Example
- You released a significant resource in a market. Eg – “We analysed 15,000+ freelancers working behaviour”
7 tips to write a good SaaS press release
After speaking with a bunch of PR specialists, investors and founders, here are some useful tips to craft a good press release.
Write a knock-their-socks-off headline
What’s in a headline in a press release? Depending how intriguing it is, it will end up deciding if:
- a visitor reads the article or not
- a journalist takes up your story or not
- TechCrunch team decides to feature you as story of the day or not
Fun fact: Did you know that journalists respond to just 3% of pitches?
For reporters, news is like a puzzle: they want to find the right pieces to help them tell an engaging story that will appeal to readers. If your press release’s headline doesn’t immediately pique their interest, then chances are it won’t be read. But if you can get them excited from the very first sentence, then they’ll read on to see how you present your company or product.
If you’re unsure how to write a good headline, start by asking yourself these questions:
- What is the most interesting part of this story?
- What makes it unique?
- How can I express that in an attention-grabbing way?
The purpose of the press release is to get the attention of media outlets and have them run your story. And for this to happen, you need a good headline.
Create an angle for your story that will capture journalist’s attention
One of the first things that you might consider for your pitch is to ask yourself: what is the angle? Journalists receive countless press releases—they get pitched a story every day. So they need something that grabs their attention and makes them want to cover it.
An angle helps you decide what parts of your story are most important. Is it the human element? The big idea? The new developments of your story? Then you can make sure that those parts come across clearly in your pitch to the journalist.
An angle will also help you think about what kind of journalist would be best for your story—and it can even help you tailor your pitch for that particular reporter. If you’re not sure who would be most interested in your story or who covers that beat already, conducting some research on the writer’s past work could give you ideas about what kind of angles he or she might be interested in.
And if you’re unsure about how to angle a story, think back on recent news that has affected you and use that as a model: What is the thing you take away from each story? That’s your angle.
Know how to start
It’s recommended that you include your boilerplate taglin in the very first sentence of your press release. It should go something like this:
“[company name], a [company description], today announced that it has raised [X amount] in [X maturity stage] funding. The round was led by [X lead investor] and joined by [X additional investors].”
Journalists are under a lot of pressure to file on time and will read your press release quickly to get an idea of what it’s about. If your key information is buried in paragraphs 2-3, that means you’re giving them less time to write about you, which could have critical consequences for exposure.
Journalists care most about facts/data in determining whether your company is interesting.
If you include facts and data to frame your story, you’re already ahead of most people in getting the attention of journalists—since journalists largely use those elements to determine whether a story is interesting or not.
For example, if you’re announcing a new company, you could frame the problem you’re solving by saying something along the lines of “____% of people have said that ______ has been hurting them.” Then position your company as the answer by explaining why this is an important problem and how your product/service will provide a solution to it. Say something like “We’ve built ____ to solve this problem by ____.”
After addressing the problem (backed by data/statistics), position your company as the answer to a problem that many people have.
Here’s a real example from Weflow’s press release:
83% of Fortune 500 companies use Salesforce today to improve their sales team’s productivity. Yet sales professionals only spend 1/4th of their day *actually* selling (rest goes into general admin and paperwork).
Add your Media Kit in the press release
The media kit is a collection of all the necessary information you need to contact a journalist, blogger or get picked up by a PR agency. A well-designed media kit makes it easy for journalists to figure out what you’re about and gives them everything they need to craft an article about you.
The most important thing to include in your media kit are:
- Your logo(s)
- A photo of the founders.
- Some screenshots of your product
- Optional: A product fact sheet (any data/report/infrographic that supports your company’s mission)
Examples of SaaS media kits
- Hubstaff (multiple products media kit)
- Zapier (using Google Drive)
- ConvertKit (web page)
- Climatiq (using Notion)
Bonus tip Use CopyAI to write your first press release. It's faster than writing it yourself and free to try. Here's a full review of CopyAI.
Include your contact information
Add media contact details to the bottom of your press release so they can reach out to you with any questions they may have. This gives you extra exposure and lets journalists connect with you directly if they want more information or want to learn more about how your product works after reading through the press release.
Include relevant quotes from key stakeholders
When writing a press release, it’s important to use quotes from people that have been influential in your company’s growth. For example, if you’re releasing a new feature or update on your product, you can include quotes from customers who have already used it. This will help give the reader an idea of how they might benefit from using the new feature as well.
Similarly, if you’re releasing news about funding or an acquisition, quotes from investors and potential customers are great ways to reinforce the impact that this news has had on other organizations’ perception of your business. You should also consider including quotes from members of your team or even yourself!
The quotes can be short and sweet— here’s an example:
“We’re thrilled to have received $500K in funding from our investors,” says John Smith, founder and CEO of Example Co. “This investment will allow us to expand our product offerings and ensure that we continue to provide the best possible user experience.”
Some ideas for quotes you can include:
- founders (their view on the problem, why they decided to go after it, what the future holds)
- investors (how much they’ve invested, why they’re excited about your product)
- advisors (why they chose to join your board)
- customers (how much they love your product)
How to amplify your SaaS press release?
- Use a press release distribution service like PRWeb and amplify your press release through their network. It costs USD 200-500 per story. I’ve usually seen about 30-35 media sites usually pick up the story and repost it on their site.
- I manually reach out to other journalists about our *popular media outlet* article and offer to do an exclusive interview with them. Journalists love to cover stories covered by big media outlets. If you got featured on TechCrunch, chances are a lot of media sites are willing to speak with you.
- I promote the press release on our respective social media networks (namely LinkedIn). Great opportunity to get a big promotional push.
- I promote it on our company website as a HelloBar at the top and a blog post on our blog.
- I share the press release on popular communities like Hackernews, Reddit etc.
- If it’s a big story, I might also work with a PR agency to get us more media coverage. They usually have a pretty strong network.
Most SaaS startups don’t just accidentally get covered by top media outlets like TechCrunch, Business Insider or Forbes and have a killer press release. They do it on the back of a good SaaS PR strategy.