Tim Ferriss is a trusted authority in 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. Nevertheless, in this article, we explore 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. According to Tim, getting national-level press coverage was difficult, but clearly not an impossible task.
It’s never easy for a beginner to draw the attention of the media when there is so much noise and success everywhere else. Moreover, Tim recently stated in one of his blog posts that the New York Times is unlikely to write about the same company twice. In other words, you only get one shot to make a good impression on the press.
Here’s how Tim’s strategies can act as a guideline in your no-budget press campaign.
1. Preparation of strategy for press
In Tim’s experience, you must do your homework before vying 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 capture a spot in 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 capture media attention. Here are some more specifics:
Time your press coverage – Tim Ferriss always emphasizes that you must get the timing right when 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 when drug scandals were revealed in the sports industry.
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 for 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 public figures he met.
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.
1) What’s my controversial agenda today?
2) Why it’s the right time to do this?
3) What are your observations about the crux of the subject?
4) 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 serious reading around your topic.
3. Hitting the Right Pitch to the Media
The press only wants to talk about people and events that their audience can relate with. Tim, in his initial efforts, gives the impression that he’s got something that their target audience must know.
What’s more, Ferriss acknowledges the importance of having the right pitch on more than one occasion. For example, he warns his followers against half attempts to get the attention of big publishers. After all, it becomes challenging to re-approach a publication house if you have a bad track record with them. Instead, he strongly advises that entrepreneurs should invest time in the preparation of the right pitch for every newspaper, magazine, and journal.
Finally, one of the most important things to understand is that the press has no interest in you as a person, unless you’ve done something truly groundbreaking. 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 in mind, 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:
1). Find a trending topic in your niche
2). Write on it from a controversial or unique angle
3). 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 your 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 case, he shared one of his blog posts about “National Press With No Budget” with Alex Ohanian and according to Alex, this gesture made him feel obliged to help Tim in return. And in this sense, your network of contacts can help you to achieve your goals if you develop trust with them. In fact, Tim insists that these contacts can be reliable when you need media exposure.
Using Pressfarm’s custom media lists, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche.
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. When you’re face-to-face with a journalist, it’s easy to bounce story ideas off them and see what excites them. Journalists are always looking for an exciting news story. They don’t let an opportunity escape them unless it’s really not worth their time.
d) Showing Your Fanbase to the Press
We all remember Tim’s fantastic idea of making 1000 true fans. The publication policy of all the media giants revolves around their target audience. If you can prove to the press that you have a growing fanbase due to your achievements, there will be fewer 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 contacts 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 easy to develop an interactive community for your startup. You have numerous options of social media networking sites that make it easy to interact with people.
There are many more options available. Companies keep official accounts on most of these social platforms. These platforms can provide evidence to your claims of a growing fanbase. This is especially the case if you’ve taken time to develop a social media strategy that engages your followers.
– 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 the importance of 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.
Gaining coverage from the national press is an effective way to spread the word about your startup. With enough planning and research, you can use the above guide to get national press with no budget.
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With our comprehensive media database of over 1 million journalists across different industries, you can also continue sharing your brand story for up to a year. Ultimately, partnering with Pressfarm can help you generate the media coverage you’ve been hoping for.