Tim Ferriss is like a shining light for everything digital and his many ventures have been inspiring entrepreneurs since the beginning of the online world. What’s more, Ferris has used these experiences to help guide and advise other entrepreneurs through various books, podcasts and blogs.
At the same time, it’s hard to condense and advise on every last niche. That is to say, entrepreneurs often struggle with certain aspects of starting a business and this is certainly true when it comes to getting national press without any money.
Now, you might be thinking this is quite an unrealistic objective but In this article, we explore some tips on how Tim Ferris has been able to get this kind of traction with limited or even no funding.
Tim Ferriss owns a million dollar supplement brand among many other businesses and never fails to get media coverage for each of them. He also made his mark as an entrepreneur from scratch and this initial lack of experience is partly what inspires his followers.
It’s fascinating how he managed press coverage for his best selling book of the decade and according to Tim, getting national-level press coverage was difficult, but clearly not an impossible task.
But it’s never easy for a beginner to draw the attention of the media when there is so much noise and success everywhere else. Also, Tim recently stated in one of his blog posts that the New York Times are unlikely to write about the same company twice. In other words, you only get one shot to make an impression on the press.
With this in mind, the prospect of getting coverage in the press can seem daunting. After all, if this process requires an effort from someone like Tim Ferriss, what chance has a first-time got?
Here’s how Tim’s guideline can act as a helping hand in your no-budget press campaign.
1. Preparation of Strategy for Press
In Tim’s experience, you must do your homework before opting for the attention of the press. However, luck has nothing to do with the press coverage and depends on your strategy. More specifically, studying recent trends in the press enabled him to catch the spotlight for his gigs.
Tim prompted the media to talk about him without spending a hefty amount of money. In fact, he spent a lot of time preparing the right email pitch and introductory cold email in order to get the attention of the press. Here are some more specifics:
Time your press coverage – Tim Ferriss always stresses on the right timing in terms of hitting the press for coverage. For instance, to launch the press campaign for his brand of supplement, Tim waited and then kick-started his campaign at the time of drug scandals in the sports arena.
Target the right press – Tim didn’t aspire to feature directly at the global media platforms. Instead, he picked the local affiliate partners of big publication houses. You see, every little step matters and Tim has always advocated the importance of managing the press campaign step by step.
Present an alternative perspective – Think about it; Why would publication houses feature you, if you are sailing in the same boat as others? You have to prove to the press that you can provide them a different angle of a certain trending story. Tim calls it “creating a little controversy”.
Learn from others – Tim Ferriss is always willing to learn from his peers and fellows. He proved his point of view by writing Tribe of Mentors for his audience. In this series of interviews, Tim shared the tried and tested success stories of successful people he met in his lifetime.
2. Importance of Research in the Press Campaign
First impressions are imperative and last much longer than any other. Tim suggests preparing handwritten notes about the topic you’re going to discuss in the interview. In one of his blog posts, Tim even shares rough notes about his topic of discussion and deems it an embarrassment to have less than expert knowledge about your field in such a meeting.
As part of your research, you can make a questionnaire that will help guide this interview. While this questionnaire is unlikely to hold all the keys to success, it should still include the whys and hows of your topic of discussion which are incredibly important to understand.
▪ What’s my controversial agenda today?
▪ Why it’s the right time to do this?
▪ What are your observations about the crux of the subject?
▪ What are my unique selling propositions to the press?
Tim says that you can’t skip this step because the media will scrutinize your every single word. That is, they often seek to catch and display your bluffs and shortcomings. While you can’t plan the exact order of execution of your press appearances, Tim suggests that you can educate yourself to the max and do some hardcore reading around your topic.
3. Hitting the Right Pitch to the Media
Press only wants to talk about people and events that might relate to their audience. Tim, in his initial efforts, gives the impression that he’s got something which their target audience must know.
What’s more, Ferriss acknowledges the importance of having the right pitch on uncountable occasions. For example, he warns his followers against half attempts to get the attention of big publishers. It becomes challenging to re-approach a publication house if you have a bad history with them. Instead, he strongly advises that entrepreneurs should invest time into the preparation of the right pitch for every newspaper, magazine, and journal.
Will you ask a shopkeeper to give you a dozen of sugar? Of course not, that’s just wrong and an impractical pitch to buy sugar. You see, that’s what a wrong pitch looks and sounds like to the media.
Finally, one of the most important things to understand is that the press has no interest in yourself. Instead, they will only look at their prospective benefits in your pitch. In short, keep your proposal about your idea concise and you can then display everything about yourself at the actual meeting.
4. Demonstrate Your Expertise on the Matter
National press coverage has the critical responsibility to create awareness among its audience. They have to make sure that their publications come from a trusted source and ideally, an expert.
When Tim Ferriss first contacted a publication company for the promotion of his ideas, he claimed to be dealing with professional athletes and only received a single response out of several attempts.
Why? Because the press trusts the established figures and authorities more than a first time entrepreneur. After all, you can’t expect anyone to take your talk about animal extinction seriously just because you watch National Geographic Channel every weekend.
If you keep the above example, channels dedicated to wildlife will prefer to feature an approved authority in the field of animal and plant life. For this reason, you should establish yourself as an authority in your field before contacting any publication house or member of the media.
But how can you establish yourself as an authority?
– Establishing Yourself as an Expert
Tim Ferriss emphasizes on the importance of establishing yourself as an authority in your field. But how can you do that? Or most importantly, how would the press believe the credibility of your claims?
Here’s a simple tip from a Tim Ferris blog post. You can start your career as an article writer and the media will trust your word if you have some articles published in relevant magazines and journals.
Here are just a few more examples of tips from that same blog post:
▪ Find a trending topic in your niche
▪ Write on it from a controversial or unique angle
▪ Support your controversial angle with research
a) Build the Portfolio of Your Startup
Tim Ferriss advises the entrepreneurs to document the progress of their startup. What inspired you, how it all started, and how it reached a certain point. Documentation of your journey is a fantastic way to validate your claims as an authority.
As for how you can start this process, you can take pictures and make videos of your work-space. Similarly, you can make a short documentary to talk about your success and struggles. Also, don’t forget to interview your clients and people who helped you through this journey.
Simply put, your portfolio is the brochure of your efforts so you should make every effort to prepare it in a professional manner. The truth is, publication media houses will prefer to have a look at the journey from a novice to an expert.
b) Develop your Contacts in Media Publication Houses
It could take some time to establish a relationship with members of the media. In Tim’s instance, he shared one of his blog posts about “National Press With No Budget” with Alex Ohanion and according to Alex, this gesture made him feel obliged to help Tim in return. In this sense, your network of contacts helps you to achieve your goals by developing trust and Tim insists you can use these contacts as a reliable method when it comes to gaining media exposure.
Using Pressfarm’s media database, you can quickly get press contacts from most media outlets and reach out to these journalists in a respectful and non-spammy way so that you develop some relationship before pitching them about your company.
c) Approaching the Journalists
Tim Ferriss outlined in another blog post about how to get national press with no budget that he prefers to meet the journalists and editors in person. Now, you don’t need to arrange a formal meeting with the journalists but rather invite them over coffee or a drink. Journalists are always looking for an exciting news story. They don’t let an opportunity escape past them unless it’s not worthy. Major players in the media are still willing to introduce exciting new ventures to their audience.
d) Showing Your Fanbase to the Press
We all remember Tim’s fantastic idea of making 1000 true fans. Publication policy of all the media giants revolves around their target audience. If you can prove to the press that you have a developing fanbase due to your achievements, there will be less chances of rejection.
Moreover, national media companies always try to explore new avenues and angles to produce engaging content for the audience. By your developing fanbase, you are providing a great opportunity to your target press to recruit your fans into their fanbase as well. But then how can you actually prove or demonstrate your fanbase?
– Demonstrating Your Fanbase
These days it’s very effortless to develop an interactive community for your startup. You have numerous options of social media networking sites which make it easy to interact with people.
And many more options are available. Companies keep official accounts on most of these social platforms. These platforms give a clean chit to your claims of a developing fanbase.
– Gaining Support from Friends
Like the importance of true fans, Tim Ferriss has always appreciated the efforts of his friends in his success. In 2007, Tim Ferriss and Mike Del Ponte started to build Soma as a brand through a Kickstarter project. Tim emphasized on creating custom e-mails to get in touch with his friends for the project.
When someone asked Tim how they succeeded in raising $100k for Soma in such a short time, Tim was open in giving credit to his friends. You can also tap your network of friends to see what they can add to your goal to get coverage from the national media.
Mainstream media coverage is great exposure but at the same time, the press can work as a distraction as well. Also, most of the media houses are aware of Tim’s policy to “present a controversial angle” so you may not actually like the coverage you are going to get from the media.
However, coverage from the national press is a quick way to spread word of mouth about your startup and if an entrepreneur has done enough planning and research, he can use the above guide to get national press with no budget.
When Pressfarm first started out we were a database for founders to search and find journalists’ contacts in order to build their media lists. However, Pressfarm has now pivoted to a full-fledged PR agency that caters towards the needs of startups and young companies that are trying to grow their online businesses. We offer our expertise in the management of Facebook and Google advertising, SEO services, and PR campaigns to ensure that companies are able to achieve their full potential, gain more leads, more customers and higher revenues.