Our primary goal here at TechCrunch is to profile new web 2.0 companies. Finding and experiencing what new companies have to offer is exciting for us. It what gets us up in the morning. We are honestly deeply passionate about this stuff.
Usually, the passion, drive and intelligence of the creators is reflected in the company or product they create. And even if a product is very young and/or doesn’t necessarily have a high chance for commercial success, there are usually features that carry our mutual thinking on web 2.0 further along. We try very hard to dig for those forward-thinking features and highlight them on this site. Doing one thing in a spectacular and inspiring fashion and nine things stupidly is far, far better than doing ten things “well”. “Well” is boring.
How We Find Companies to Profile
We find new companies primarily in three ways. First, we scour hundreds of blog and news feeds daily to see whatâ€™s new. Second, we get a number of tips (often anonymously) about new stuff â€“ usually these are the most interesting new products. The third way is a direct request from the company itself.
We receive on average 5-10 email requests a day to be profiled. Usually we’ll write about one of these, meaning if a company sends in an email request to be profiled, they have a 10-20% chance of getting up on the site.
This is not a hard rule but more of an observation. I believe that if more companies approached us differently, a much higher percentage would be blogged. I’ve decided to humbly submit my advice on how to approach us in requesting a profile – I think this advice will work well with other bloggers as well.
Top Ten Things You Can Do To Get Blogged
- Build a kick ass company. You can ignore everything else in this post (although you shouldn’t) if you build an awesome web 2.0 company that solves a real problem in an efficient manner.
- Approach Bloggers Directly. Most bloggers have email and other contact information up on their site (email: editor@techcrunch, GoogleTalk:techcrunch, Skype:marrington). Use it to contact them directly with your thoughts.
- Be Persistent. We are all busy. Emails get pushed down in the inbox and forgotten. Send a reminder or two and try to get a conversation going. Donâ€™t be defensive when you are asked hard questions.
- Start a Blog. This is important for multiple reasons. First, it is an easy way for bloggers to see what you’ve done over time. It is also a good way for bloggers to find out about new releases and milestones via your RSS feed. Most company blogs have only a few subscribers but don’t let this discourage you. Those that have subscribed are keenly interested in what you are doing. It is very likely they have a blog. Make it easy for them and they will post about you.
You can also use your blog to promote bloggers who write about you. Other bloggers will see this and want to write about you too.
In this new world, links are currency. Links grant authority. Links build branding. Links equal value.
If you don’t have a blog, you don’t even have a wallet, let alone currency. Having a blog gives you a tangible way to say thank you” to bloggers who write about you.
Encourage your employees to blog too. Go easy on the blogging policy in the early days.
- Be humble. The more humble you are, the more outstanding I assume your product is. Showmanship often equals desperation.
- Be confident. Find the right balance with humbleness. Don’t be humble to the point of mumbling or leaving important stuff out.
- Be descriptive. Tell me what your product does immediately in crisp and interesting prose that is FOA (Free Of Acronyms). FaceBook is a social networking site for college students. Pandora is a music recommendation engine. See? I need more details down the road, but give me something to hold on to before you jump into the cool way you’ve implemented ajax into the FAQs, or whatever.
- Tell a Story. Bloggers want to tell a story. Help them. Pandora is different because they break down music. Technically interesting! 60% of FaceBook’s users log in daily. wow! Writely is allowing people to visualize a world without thick clients. big story!
- Don’t hide information. Put your location, contact information, team bios, faqs, blog and other important information up on the site in an easy to find location. Don’t make bloggers look up whois information or read your terms of service (for legal jurisdiction) just to guess your location.
- Don’t be a Jerk.
If someone just won’t write about you, move on to another blogger. Don’t heckle them. If someone does write about you and you don’t like what they say, deal with it by sending an email or leaving a clarifying comment. Don’t attack. Other bloggers will see it and avoid you like the plague.
It’s hard to determine tone in a written blurb. Bloggers easily take offense. Think twice before you post something that can be taken the wrong way, and be very quick to apologize if you screw up. Don’t try to explain yourself – just apologize. If you are going to say something nasty or controversial, do it via email, not in a public comment.
One example of this came up today. 9rules network has been adding blogs to their network and people have been writing about them. Paul Scrivens doesn’t like the fact that people sometimes refer to 9rules as 9Rules (capital R), and Mike Rundle wrote an arguably condescending post about it today on the 9rules blog that said:
Since our company/service/network is getting links from everywhere nowadays, I wanted to quickly clear up some confusion regarding the name of what it is weâ€™re doing.
The company is â€œ9rules, Inc.” and the network is “The 9rules Network” or just “9rules.”
These capital R’s dropped everywhere are making our CEO cry in public, and believe me, that’s not pretty. Lowercase r’s are where its at. Uppercase is for suckers :)
Bad idea. Don’t do stuff like this. Once you have done it, apologize immediately and sincerely.
I won’t even bring up the Rollyo thing. Perfect example of how poor/hasty communication can hurt a company. Like I said, bloggers are touchy and I’m a blogger. The company handled this the right way and in the end everything was fine.
Please comment and tell me what I’ve missed.