PR can be scary, but don't underestimate its power:
Make a real connection with journalists, but be brief in your pitch. Use your business data to come up with valuable insights and ideas.
Looking to launch a killer podcast? Pick a niche you love, grow through collaboration, and monetize through advertising and sponsorships.
$500K ARR. Sébastien Night was early to the AI craze, and built a product that differentiates itself in the AI content apocalypse.
Want your product seen by nearly 80,000 founders and businesses? Sponsor an issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter. Choose between 3 affordable tiers that can fit almost any budget.
Public Relations 101 🧑🏫
by Justin Albertynas
PR is scary, but don't underestimate its power. In 2023, Ratepunk got a live TV mention, and 486 mentions in various publications (The Washington Post, CNN, Forbes, and more).
Here are the PR tips and lessons I've learned!
Public relations station
- A good subject line goes a long way.
- Always mention the name of the recipient at the beginning of the email.
- If this is not your first time contacting the journalist, don't introduce yourself again. Instead, mention how you were in contact previously .
- Maximum five words in the subject line.
- Maximum five paragraphs in the email.
- Maximum five short sentences per paragraph.
- Always check for grammar mistakes.
- Never sell to journalists. Instead, provide them with a valuable quote or idea.
- Organize your contacts in a database and note when you reach out to a particular journalist.
- Don't run automated emailing campaigns. Write personalized emails, making it obvious that you did your homework.
- As part of your daily routine, look up at least five different publications relevant to your niche. Hunt for articles in those publications where you can give your input and provide an interesting angle.
- Create a press page for your business.
- Use a mail tracker to see if and when your emails get opened.
- Make a real connection with the journalists. Be quirky and funny, but stay professional.
- Do your research about the journalist. Who is this person you're writing to? What do they like to write about?
- If you have a team, work with them! They may have insights that you might've missed.
- Don't waste the journalist's time. Just get to the point.
- Don't be afraid to be told "no." Not every quote or pitch you send out is going to get published.
- Always follow up!
- If you see an interesting article in your niche, pitch the journalist an idea for something similar that suits your business . Find a way to help them write a new article.
- When pitching to journalists, if you can, send high-quality visual content (i.e. graphs).
- Don't pitch the same idea to multiple journalists at the same news publication at the same time.
- Follow the journalist's rules. If they say not to pitch them on X, don't pitch on X!
- Use your business data to come up with valuable insights for the press. Ratepunk has successfully leveraged our booking data (we see who has the cheapest overall hotel prices on the internet) to get a live TV mention.
- Share your wins and losses on LinkedIn, and remain active on the platform.
- Turn on Google alerts to track mentions.
- Establish clear goals. Do you want to get featured on live TV? Be mentioned in 30 publications? This will help you allocate your time and strategize according to your priorities.
- Participate in events and take your PR IRL.
- Try to find an angle you're passionate about every time.
- Don't burn bridges; always be pleasant and understanding.
- Find websites that let you publish your press releases for free, and keep them on a list.
Be persistent and don't give up. PR success isn't going to be fast, and sometimes, you just have to get extremely lucky.
Keep trying, and you will get there eventually. I'm also giving away my email contact list of nearly 2K emails here! It's a great starter database.
Discuss this story.
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Launching an Incredible Podcast 🎙
from The Hustle newsletter
The pandemic birthed a rise in puppies, planting flowers in Animal Crossing, and podcasts, with 1.1M+ shows launched in 2020 alone. But soon, the podcast phenomenon plateaued. New podcasts decreased a year later, and in 2022, fell by 80%.
Does this mean the podcast train has left the station? Not at all. It just means that your podcast can't suck.
Podcast geniuses Darren Clarke (executive producer of My First Million) and Kal Elsebai (HubSpot's senior manager of podcast strategy) shared their tips on how you can turn your business or niche hobby into a killer show!
Create the podcast you want to listen to
Instead of finding a profitable niche, start with your passions. If you can rave about a topic for hours, chances are your enthusiasm will come through, and people will pay attention.
If you're starting from scratch, conduct your research, identify your niche, and figure out your unique take on that topic. Ask yourself what listeners will take away from tuning in to your podcast. Will they whip out the Notes app? Will they chuckle at your wit throughout?
If you already have an audience, find the middle point between your passion and their wants. Poll your customers, newsletter subscribers, or social media followers. If possible, get them on a call.
Launch with slingshot momentum
Before you launch your podcast into the ether, set it up for success:
Figure out a realistic cadence. Can you produce an episode a week? Whatever you choose, stick with it.
Record several episodes before launching. That way, you give yourself breathing room to produce future episodes.
Write a snappy description.
Create a trailer that demands attention. The trailer for your podcast should feature the hosts, your topic authority, and what listeners can expect.
Design compelling podcast art. The thumbnail should tell a story right away. A mixture of cool art and cool headshots seems to be the winning formula.
*Source: HubSpot Podcast Network
Platform algorithms, including Spotify, favor new shows, and will promote them more than older ones. But you only have ~48 hours to leverage it.
Grow and monetize
Guest on another podcast.
Pay attention to viewership spikes. Did a certain topic generate a huge amount of listens? Create episodes around a similar topic.
Collaborate with influencers.
Podcasts make money through two avenues: Advertising and subscriptions.
Introduce advertisements. "This episode is brought to you by..." brings in ad revenue for podcasts. Listeners dedicate almost an hour of their time to someone they trust on a topic they love. When hosts recommend products or services, they pay attention.
Offer exclusives. Podcasts often offer exclusive content to subscribers, such as behind-the-scenes recordings or bonus episodes. For example, you could record an hour of content and reserve half of it for subscriber-exclusive content.
You can get sponsored advertising for your podcast in a number of ways, including:
Reaching out to brands or small businesses directly.
Becoming an affiliate marketer for Amazon Marketplace, Audible, and others.
Taking advantage of platform-based advertising, such as Spotify's subscription model.
Monetization happens in due time. Prioritize creating compelling content and growing your audience before thinking of sponsorships. Few brands will pay to advertise to a nonexistent, or even small, audience.
Subscribe to The Hustle newsletter for more.
In the News 📰
OneTake AI Hit $500K ARR 🤖
by James Fleischmann
Sébastien Night built OneTake AI early on in the AI craze, and grew it to $10K MRR. Then, he surfed the AI wave all the way to a big milestone: $500K ARR ($42K MRR).
Two years ago, I was running a seven figure training business. It was so tedious to create lots of high-quality video, and I realized that this was a huge problem my clients were facing also. I didn't build an AI startup because I wanted to do AI. I built an AI startup because I was pissed, and only AI could solve the problem.
So, I built OneTake AI. By the end of 2021, we had a proof of concept. In 2022, we had the MVP, but nobody cared about AI then. I still managed to grow it to $10K MRR after a year, and I decided to shut down my other business. I could see that the opportunity was huge in the AI B2B SaaS subscription space.
The timing was great! Once ChatGPT captured people's attention, we started growing much faster. Growth quadrupled in 2023.
Differentiating an AI product
We are an AI startup in the video space, but contrary to pretty much everybody else, we are not trying to play in the generative field (talking avatars, etc.). Our work is purely transformative: Taking real life recordings and editing and translating them.
I believe it's a solid long-term choice, because even after the AI content apocalypse has submerged us in AI-generated content, there will still be people who want to record themselves, and not an AI avatar, for a podcast, conference, course, etc.
We are right on the verge of a lot of convincingly realistic AI content getting poured onto every text, audio, image, and video platform. Get as much human attention as you can in the next few months, then snowball and leverage it into getting more of those AI-picked recommendations.
Know your customer
I understand the needs and psychology of the founders we sell to better than anyone else. This allows me to drive the product, and create useful features that have a "Wow!" effect for customers. They couldn't have described that this was the solution they were looking for, but when they see it, they must have it.
How do I do it? By actually talking to people! We have a chat widget on our site, and I've never used AI for it. Plus, the way I sell is through live webinars and live online challenges. We invite our paid customers to attend, also. In fact, the vast majority of our paid customers come from there.
If you've got 20 paid customers sitting in the room with you every time you talk to a new prospect, two things happen:
- You get social proof and trust much faster.
- If there's currently a bug or a major annoyance in the app, customers will tell you right then.
We've built a system where customer feedback is impossible to ignore. It's a kind of pressure that makes it impossible to fail!
Discuss this story.
The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Justin Albertynas, Darko, Bailey Maybray, and James Fleischmann for contributing posts. —Channing
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