How to Get National Press With No Budget (Plus: One Year of Mentorship from Alexis Ohanian)

Preface from Tim

This is the second post by Alexis Ohanian for Entrepreneurship Week on this blog. Here is the first post, which covers his founding of reddit, which he later sold for millions of dollars.

This post covers a critical topic: how to get massive attention for your company from national media. How do you pitch press? Develop relationships with influential journalists?  The real answers might surprise you.

Most books and articles on this subject are pure BS. Speaking as someone who’s been on magazine covers (Outside, Inc. Magazine) and section covers (NYT Style Section, Travel Section), I can tell you: there is a science to this.

Alexis is a master. Enjoy.

Enter Alexis

I’m back!

Tim very kindly invited me back to give you another excerpt from my book that draws from all my experience over six years as a Y Combinator advisor and startup investor (70+ companies).

I want to help you do what Steve and I did (not in costume) to grow reddit into the top-50 website it is today… with a total advertising budget of a few hundred dollars. I spent that all on stickers…

Sidenote: The first one of you who tweets at me (@alexisohanian) with the correct answer for Steve’s Halloween costume in the above photo will get a signed copy of Without Their Permission, plus some fun extras.

Traction: Everyone wants it, here’s how I think about generating “buzz”

I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.

Jay-Z, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”

I believe in startup karma.

Being the kind of person who’s always asking for favors and hustling others is a reputation that not only gets around, it sticks. It’ll work in the short term, and perhaps there are some exceptions to the rule who have made it work in the long term, but being someone who’s always asking for favors makes the already difficult job of starting something new immeasurably harder.

Instead, look at every meeting as a chance to do someone a solid. This especially matters when dealing with representatives of the media, because just buying them a coffee doesn’t mean you’re getting a front-page story. Look at every meeting as a long-term investment. She’s not writing about your startup? That’s okay!

Be helpful. What’s she thinking about right now? Some kind of trend is going on in X that’s not been covered yet, and she’s looking for a founder doing Y. If you can connect the dots, make the introduction for her. You’ve just helped two people with one e-mail. Cha-ching. More good karma.

Over the years, you can build a reputation as a connector in your field. Connectors are a journalist’s trump card when they need to get a lead on an unreported idea, or when they need an introduction in order to land a useful interview. This is a valuable position for you to be in, because it means you’re going to stay at the tops of their minds. When your journalist friends are writing about something in your field, whom do you think they’re going to reach out to first?

Never Turn Down Cannoli

In between bites of cannolo (yep, that’s the singular form of cannoli), I was explaining to Rachel Metz, freelance reporter for Wired, why was going to become the front page of the Internet. She seemed interested, but she could’ve just been enjoying her cannolo.

I’d taken the Fung Wah bus down from Boston to meet with her in downtown Manhattan because a few weeks earlier, I’d met a friend of hers named Jennifer 8. Lee. Jenny had attended a Halloween party that Steve and I had thrown at our Somerville home and office—which should explain the above photo—and we hit it off. We discussed the subject of her book proposal, which happened to be, of all things, Chinese food. I managed to impress Jenny with my knowledge of Chinese cuisine, so we got to talking that night and that led to her introduction to Rachel.

A few days later, Rachel would confess to me that while she initially wanted to write a story about reddit, she felt we’d become friends and that it wouldn’t be professional for her to pursue the story. That was fine by me. No Wired story came from that, but I got a new friend in Rachel, one who happened to mention reddit to her editor at Wired, Kristen Philipkoski. Kristen, the wife of Kourosh Karimkhany, was doing business development for Conde Nast and heard from Rachel about a pair of plucky founders in Boston working on something interesting called reddit.

And then one day (February 22, 2006, to be precise) this e-mail popped up in my inbox:

I’m a friend of Rachel Metz. I’m also the director of biz dev for CondéNet, the internet arm of Condé Nast, which, as I’m sure you know, publishes magazines like Wired, GQ, Vogue, New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc. I’m intrigued with your technology and was hoping to set up a time to talk about possibly working together. I’m open the rest of the day today and Thursday, but will be traveling for a week starting Friday. Do you have time for a phone call? Also, are you based in Boston?

Little did we know that exactly one year after that fateful party on Halloween, Steve and I would be celebrating the acquisition of our company. As if you needed more reasons to throw a Halloween party. Or eat cannoli.

Everyone Is the Media

The traditional public-relations industry model is broken. Good riddance.

The only time I ever wrote a press release was when Condé Nast made me do it for the announcement of our acquisition, and I wasn’t about to argue with the company that had just bought my company. Full-disclosure: Since writing this book, I’ve had to edit a press release the PR firm hired by my publisher wrote on my behalf. But the truth is, I’m not certain that press releases are as relevant as they were in the twentieth century.

These days, everyone you meet is part of the media. Every relationship you enter into, whether it’s with a customer or a writer at The Wall Street Journal, is a long-term investment. No self-respecting journalist wants to feel like all she does is publish press releases as “news,” although some do. The idea that a press release is magically going to compel someone to talk about what you’re working on is absurd. At a time when none of us have enough time to pay attention to all the content the Internet produces, you can be sure the professionals who are pitched every minute of the day certainly don’t have the spare cycles. This means you’re going to have to make yourself known. Here are some things to keep in mind as you do that. 

Be Helpful

If you’ve been doing your job as a founder, by now you should be an expert in your industry (and maybe even in a few others as well). Use that to your advantage when talking to the media. It gives you insights on bigger trends that are valuable to journalists, so be helpful—even if it’s not directly helping you or your company, it is actually still helping you and your company. Anything you can do to help someone else do his or her job better is going to win you that valuable startup karma. Noticing a trend in X meets Y, offer an introduction to some other experts in X meets Y. Be helpful!

Remember the RentHop team from chapter 4? 1 While Lee Lin was getting his broker’s license, he found himself noticing trends. He validated that hunch when he and his co-founder, Lawrence Zhou, started mining mountains of New York rental-price data that revealed everything from how much more people are willing to pay for a doorman to how much less an apartment is worth for every block it sits away from a subway stop. At first, they had no plans to publish any of what they’d learned. Once Lee started promoting RentHop, however, he realized that these data were a tremendous resource. Whether it was a blog post he wrote charting the optimal time of day to search for rentals in New York (spoiler: between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.) or a statistic a journalist could cite for an article, it was a piece of added value that bolstered his company’s reputation as experts in apartment rentals.

Every time Tim does a great job breaking down exactly how he does everything he does, it’s being helpful. Over time, he becomes known as the guy for getting things done (not always in 4-hours, mind you) then turns around and does solids for people like me. Building for the long-term.

Speaking of which, I’ve got an entire class on online brand building (lessons from reddit, breadpig, and hipmunk) with specific examples of everything from low-cost social media campaigns I used to make people love our hipmunk chipmunk to the sticker strategy that spread reddit aliens all over the world. Grab some popcorn, it’s long.



Pitch the Right Journalists the Right Way (by Not Pitching)

Okay, you’ve found them. Warm introductions to mutual acquaintances from people who know you both well always help, but there’s nothing wrong with a cold pitch. Just be concise. I try to write e-mails in fewer than five sentences. Precision with impact is one of the most effective writing skills one can have. The best way to get coverage is to not pitch your product. Journalists are human beings. Whether they write for [insert your favorite, most venerable news organization here] or they just launched their first blog yesterday, they do not exist just to write about you or your big idea. Sorry, but it’s better you hear it from me now. In order to earn their attention (and their goodwill), you’re going to have to give them something. Pitch by not pitching—be helpful. You know what they’re into, so send them a link to a breaking yet underreported story you think they’d appreciate. If you can introduce them to a fellow founder who’s working in a sector they’re covering, offer it to them. Know they love futuristic watches? Let them know when NOOKA is having a sale. When and if the time comes to make a pitch (you’ll know it when it happens), then do it well. 

Tell Stories Around a “Peg”

Pardon the jargon, but it’s helpful to know how journalists think. Big trends, things that people are talking about, are “pegs” that you ideally want to anchor to your pitch. It could be as blatant and timely as the Olympics, or it could be more subtle. During the famed billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, Michael Seibel, CEO of SocialCam, a mobile video-sharing app and portfolio company, rode the wave of media attention surrounding the acquisition. It was no surprise that over the next few days, articles buzzed about who would be “Instagram for video.” It didn’t surprise me one bit when SocialCam was there in every discussion.

Over time you’ll develop an eye for it. If you’re reading about a particular idea that’s got everyone’s attention, find a way to connect your own story to it. If you don’t get written up, or quoted, or appear to have gotten anything in return for your time, don’t fret (and remember what I said about these people not existing to do you a favor). There’s always value in taking the time to meet someone. You shouldn’t always be pitching, anyway. Build long-term relationships and they’ll pay long-term dividends.

Don’t Forget to Document Your Startup 

Take photos around the office, screenshots of early builds, et cetera. No matter how things turn out, you’ll appreciate having these memories later. In the meantime, it’ll be useful in a blog post or tweet. And if things turn out really well, people will come to really value those behind-the-scenes photos or embarrassing early builds.

For instance, here’s a photo of Steve and me from just days after we’d launched reddit.

The first photo taken of Steve + me as “reddit founders” – photo courtesy of Trevor Blackwell

Please, please have a decent high-resolution photo of your founders readily available. I’ve had to arrange last-minute photo shoots for founders who were about to land some great press but didn’t have a single decent photo to send. Your smartphone won’t cut it. Borrow the nicest digital camera you can find from your nicest friend and take some photos. If nothing else, you can send them to your mom.

For good measure, record the stages of your product, too, even if it’s only so you can look back on them with a hearty laugh. No matter how your company turns out, you’ll appreciate having a record of its evolution. I use this first version of reddit as an example of just how embarrassed you should be by your first version.

Attentive readers will notice I managed to get –1 karma, because Steve is a jerk.


Once You Get Press, Make a Note of It, Then Get Rid of It

This has been my policy since the day we finally got a taste of attention from the mainstream media. It was a different Internet back then, and it took me months of hustling to finally get someone to write about us. Oddly enough, it was a British newspaper, The Guardian, that wrote the first story—six months after we’d launched. It was great to see the increase in our traffic when a digital publication would write about us, but there’s something to be said for that palpable version of the news. The Guardian kindly sent us a few print copies. I reread the article, imagining better quotes I could’ve used, and brought it with me on my next trip back home. My parents had hoarded just about everything I did since I was a little kid (only child, remember), and my mom was thrilled to see her son’s name in print (I couldn’t tell her that it was less exciting than digital, which would have enabled us to actually get click-throughs to our site).

This started a tradition I continue to this day. Even though Mom is gone, I personally send my dad all the press I ever get, because I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to think about it for more than a day. It’s a twenty-four-hour rule. I think I heard a football coach talk about this once in an interview. Feel good about the win for twenty-four hours, and then get your mind off it and think about next week. Same goes for losses, too. But I especially don’t want to dwell on past accomplishments, and I recommend the same for my portfolio companies.

Complacency, especially in this industry, is toxic. Remember what I said about your milk shake—forget that kindergarten advice and don’t share it.

Spreadsheets Are Your Friends

As a startup founder, you’re a cheerleader. You should always have a recent e-mail, or tweet, or quote from one of your users who love you readily at hand. Go a step further and keep a mailing list of those superfans who love you so much they’ve said they’d be willing to be interviewed about your business. List those people on a spreadsheet that you share among your team, and when you encounter a superfan, ask her if she’d be willing to be contacted by the press at some point and have a testimonial on record.

Each superfan should have his or her own row on your spreadsheet. Establish columns for a favorable quote, home address, occupation, and e-mail address. Always respect a person’s privacy and explain why these tidbits are so helpful; years later, when this list gets long and you’re trying to help a journalist who’s writing about graduate students in the Bronx using [insert your type of product or service here], you can get him connected to the perfect person.

Keep another spreadsheet for press hits, designating columns for important sort criteria like name, e-mail, publication, a pull quote from the piece, and the URL. This becomes your press contacts list. PR people will brag about the size of these as though they were in a locker room, but, as always, it’s not about size—it’s about how you use it. You’re building relationships. It does not matter how many people you have on this list if none of them give a damn about what you have to say.

Start small. As I said earlier, it took six months before any mainstream media wrote an article about us, and until then I was reaching out to anyone who had a blog in tech or media. As you grow beyond your niche, you’re going to be forced to connect your idea to bigger trends and find ways to humanize it with real people telling real stories.

Traction starts with a product people want; as word spreads, you’ll start seeing the week-over-week and month-over-month growth that gets investors pulling out their checkbooks and briefcases full of money.

Actually, most investments are done via duffel bags full of cash—or via wire transfer.

Get started being awesome. None of us know what we’re doing, but trying is how we learn.

[Excerpted from Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed, by Alexis Ohanian.]

Get a Year of Mentorship

Bonus! I’m hereby announcing a Prizeo campaign to raise enough money to fund every single STEM project in Brooklyn.

Yep, Tim inspired me with his fundraiser, for which I had the pleasure of being a bonus-prize, and as we’re both advisory board members to this awesome non-profit, I figured this was the perfect place to launch it.

This means a lot to me, not just because it’s my home, but because of how much I believe in the internet to change the world for good. Yet this will only happen if we get all of us connected and armed with the skills to make the most out of this tremendous resource. This is one small step forward.

Anyone who clicks through this link to enter the campaign in the next 24 hours (ending 9am PT on 9/19/13) will get twice the chance of winning the grand prize — a year’s mentorship from me that also includes dinner with Tim Ferriss. I get emails every day from people asking about everything from choosing college majors (cough computer science cough) to advice on raising venture funding. I will be a text message away, like a firefighter-yoda (though much less heroic), to help with in-the-weeds strategy or just a motivational pick-me-up at a moment’s notice for an entire year of our lives.

It’s the sort of thing I’m already doing for my portfolio founders and I’ll gladly take on another if it means helping this many of Brooklyn’s kids.


About the author: Alexis Ohanian is the author of Without Their Permission.

Ohanian is a startup guy making the world suck less: redditbreadpighipmunkY Combinator. Investor, speaker, host of Small Empires, and loves his cat Karma.

Afterword by Tim

Several commenters have asked, “How do I get to know journalists or bloggers in the first place?” Besides volunteering to work for free at events where they congregate (e.g. SXSW, GigaOm/PaidContent, etc.), here in an article that explain how to do it remotely:

From First TV to Dr. Oz – How to Get Local Media…Then National Media (Includes actual pitches, e-mails, etc.)

  1. Of course you don’t. But if you read the book, you’ll know even more about what RentHop did to get traction 

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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59 Replies to “How to Get National Press With No Budget (Plus: One Year of Mentorship from Alexis Ohanian)”

  1. The link for “Anyone who clicks through this link to enter the campaign in the next 24 hours (ending 9am PT on 9/19/13) will get twice the chance of winning the grand prize — a year’s mentorship from me that also includes dinner with Tim Ferriss.” does not work.

      1. Just tweeted at Prizeo. Link does indeed seem to be down. Should have it up shortly. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Hey Alexis

    Thanks for sharing this info. Question – did you personally build the relationships with the journalists, or did someone on your team make the initial connections and then you took over from there?

    1. Several commenters have asked, “How do I get to know journalists or bloggers in the first place?” Besides volunteering to work for free at events where they congregate (e.g. SXSW, GigaOm/PaidContent, etc.), here in an article that explain how to do it remotely:

      Search “First TV to Dr. Oz – How to Get Local Media…Then National Media” on this blog. (Includes actual pitches, e-mails, etc.)

    2. It was just me. As the non-technical founder (Steve was the tech cofounder) it was on me to develop these. We had no PR firm, no specialists, just two recent college grads with a lot of hustle.

  3. Alexis, this is a fantastic post, and incredibly timely.

    I have to questions:

    1. How did you start the relationship with the journalist/bloggers? One thing is maintaining it and developing it, but creating it is a different ball game.

    2. How do you create traction and scalability without negativity? Once you (or your start-up) starts being picked up by the media, it will then get picked up by more and more outlets who want to jump on the cart. But how do you avoid over-exposure? Or just becoming “that story again”?

    1. To the first point, search for “First TV to Dr. Oz – How to Get Local Media…Then National Media” on this blog. It includes actual pitches, e-mails, etc. that I use. Hope it helps!

      1. Awesome – that’s right on the money!

        Watch this space and wish me luck, in a few months you’ll see us disrupting a very established industry! Onwards and Upwards!

  4. Hi again, Alexis

    Thank you for this 2. part from your book. My take-aways (and questions):

    – “If you can connect the dots, make the introduction for her.”

    – “These days, everyone you meet is part of the media.”

    – “Precision with impact is one of the most effective writing skills one can have.”


    My Questions:

    The “Give and ye shall receive” principle is quite known, since the times of the bible. I am having some (unnecessary?) issues with that: is it OK morally to give first *just in order to receive*? In an ideal case one gives because s/he wants to do so, not because s/he hopes to get something back in return. The world would be an ugly place to live in if that were our main driver. I am not saying that you propose that, but am wondering what you think about that. Is there reason for moral concerns in this context?

    When you talk about “superfans”, are you basically talking about the 21000 true fans” principle that also Tim has mentioned (here a video of him from 2009:

    @Tim: Do you still support that message or have things changed after your experiences that followed this short interview?


    Regarding the Prizeo campaign:

    I) official rules: it seems there are no official rules as the page is blank ( That means that you will send also to Europe in case I am one of the first 100 to donate 30 €?

    II) Since I am having obviously ethical concerns regarding the ‘I give to you, what do you have to give me in return?’ – approach, the reason that I will donate will not be because it enhances my chances to win, but because I believe in your project. Although I am not American (German, for that matter) I believe that a well educated and entrepreneurial-minded American people has also automatically a benefit for the rest of the world, given the (especially economic) importance of the USA.

    Best regards from Greece,


    PS: final take-away from your article/book “it’s not about size—it’s about how you use it” 😉

    1. David,

      If I may step in here to mention, the best plan is to serve without the focus on getting something back from the exact person you serve. Alexis got connected to Kirsten via Rachel almost by chance shall we say. Alexis was just being friendly and had shared about his project.

      From my experience people like to help out helpful people who offer real value. In a nutshell do your best to offer value and it comes back to you in better and often surprising ways. Sometimes quickly, sometimes later.

      For example,I once did a volunteer event and in the audience was a person from CBC who got me on the radio which lead me to a paid speaking engagement because someone listening to the radio liked my spin on how to create success and wellness. I had no idea CBC would be in the audience I was just doing a volunteer speaking engagement.

      All the best to you,

      David in France

      1. Hello David in France 🙂

        Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

        The best thing, for sure, is if one has this character of simply wanting to volunteer, help other etc. Then it feels natural. The ones that aren’t ‘naturals’ might have their doubts about it, since they might ask themselves: “Am I doing this because I want to do that in the first place, or am I doing this because I am hoping for something in return?”.

        Not sure if I am able to convey the the moral issue that one might have with that.

        Best regards from Greece,


  5. A lot of people might not like this one — but you might have to be controversial or at least totally stand for something unique. I had a reporter from the NY Times contact me for a piece once just because they liked what I wrote about on my blog. I even got a link on NY Times during Thanksgiving week.

    1. It depends on the brand you want to build. Uniqueness is very important, regardless, but add controversial and you can have huge results. American Apparel, OKCupid trends blog, etc are examples.

  6. Awesome post Tim & Alexis! Thanks for the excellent start up tips. I look forward to picking up your book – Without Their Permission.

  7. Alexis, I now understand why you took the time to respond to all the comments from your last post…. I have an overwhelming feeling to book my next travel adventure via Hipmunk, just because I appreciate the time you took to provide a thoughtful response! Touché

    Have you ever considered and a search option beyond just hotels? I recent traveled to Missoula MT for a month and found a place to stay on Craiglist for a third o the price of an extended stay Hotel an about 100 times the amenities! I will now always search sites like AirBnB, Craiglist, etc when I travel to see if I could find a hidden housing gem

    Thanks again Alexis and thank you Tim for all the great content you have provided and showcased on your blog


    1. 🙂 Gotta walk the talk, Brent. Thanks. Glad to hear I converted another hipmunk!! We’re the first travel search site (maybe only?) to incorporate airbnb in our listings. HUGE fans, since we’re both YC grads and I remember those cats back when they entered YC with a ‘crazy idea’.

      A 21st century travel search site absolutely needs to take these alternatives into consideration.

      Rentals might come… one day… in which case I’m excited to see in the results! (YC co + investor)

  8. Wow, another great article and worthy cause. Just donated- keep up the good work!



    P.S. Having either Alexis or Tim as a mentor would be immensely helpful and seriously a dream come true. Totally stoked at just the very notion of it all-

    1. P.S. How the hell did you guys get your pictures on your posts here? Don’t look as cool as everyone else here. Is that part of WordPress? Just curious- Cheers Ryan

  9. Inspiring post. Love the detail and look forward to the book. If I don’t have the luck in winning the incredible grand prize, I truly hope someone with world-changing ideas does as with you by his side, shit will happen 😉

  10. Hi Alexis/Tim,

    I’m an online professional poker player that has been forced to move out of the USA due to the legislation in the United States regarding online poker. My dream is to start a youth center on the tumultuous South side of Chicago. Besides getting an undergraduate degree in Sociology, I have no idea how to realize this goal. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

    1. Hi Biggie!

      I wish I could even begin to tell you how to go about this. It sounds like you’ve already had to overcome a lot. That’s an awesome ambition, but break it down and set yourself some attainable goals for the year, then the month, then the week, then the day – every day – and get to it.

      Three big things every day. Do those. Then repeat.

      Love seeing such a commitment to making the world suck less. Much respect.

  11. Alexis,

    Thanks for being here and for helping us learn, and showing us your DonorsChoose campaign. Tim has gotten in me a spirit of web giving through his last Charity Water Campaign and he made me realize how easy it is to give, share, and promote great causes virally.

    Do you think using a company like Vocus is worth the price tag or would you rather make the connections in person? I have been using HARO for the past few weeks and it feels good to reach out and give knowledge to a reporter not in hopes to get anything, just helping.

    I had a great screen share with a guy from Vocus and he showed me all the wonderful things that they offer but it’s at a price.

    They say link juice from their subsidiary is like gold and he showed me many examples of how that press release from a client traded up the chain, do you think press releases are better for some companies, or just too expensive when you could be helping others out to land to that NYT reporter?

    1. Wild. I’ve never actually heard of Vocus. Does that make me a noob?

      Sorry I can’t help much there.

      But! I think Press Releases matter once you’re a big enough deal that people care about everything you do. e.g., Facebook can fire off press releases because they’ve already got so much going on and everyone wants a piece of them. 99% of us don’t have that.

  12. Just entered the Shopify contest last night (the baby powdered, back handed slap in the kisser to get things started!) and now I’m watching your top video and taking notes. LOTS of notes.

    Thanks for the video! I really needed to hear this to shape my marketing.



    1. Huzzah! Very happy to hear it, Gigi. TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

      Then remember me and give me some props for inspiring you, please!

  13. Hey Tim/Alexis, I see Clay Hebert is advising those Minaal guys currently tearing up on Kickstarter… are either of you involved with that project?

  14. Hi Alexis – great post. Partly reminds me of Charlie Wilson’s war – help as many people as you can with what is important to them. When the time is right, it becomes that much easier to ask for help, whether it’s votes in Charlie’s case or signups in our case (for Swapt).

    In either instance, good will and selflessness go a long way.

  15. I don’t think it’s difficult, but your personal strategy of reaching out vis a vis is not always a possibility. Building rapport takes time over the internet & when pitching they have to listen to you & if it’s not controversial or timely they may or may not even if it’s attached to a larger idea such as “Lifestyle Design.” I’ve been personally targeting a specific media list & establishing rapport via Twitter. I haven’t asked for anything & most are very hesitant to follow back. Your theory of once you begin to asks so many questions they will inquire is dubious & even those who you support & follow, such as yourself, do not reply. You also mentioned HARO & Profnet & I think those are the equivalent to playing the lottery. Unless you have an assistant it’s not even worth it to reply to any queries.I use my design skills to establish rapport & even sent something to you personally without a response. While it’s not impossible it is difficult because people whom are already established are unappreciative of the people that have made them who they are. Nonetheless, nothing is impossible & all things happen in due time. Looking forward to your next post. Cheers!

    1. I would definitely say your comment about HARO is incorrect. I’ve submitted 4 and landed one. You have to scan everyday yourself and see what fits for you.

      You should do press for fun anyway, if you not having fun, why are you doing your project. PR is a commitement, need 1-12 month or more PR plan.

  16. Unfortunately I cannot donate since I’m abroad. But thanks for sharing your experience. I’ll be glad to read your book once is out, getting more ideas so I can gain the sufficient momentum to change the way people experience travel.

  17. Hey Tim & Alexis,

    Tim, thanks for the advice a couple months back at Ignite Durham. Really helped my confidence and ability to launch my latest website.

    Until yesterday, I had never been on myself. Before I dropped out of university, my roommate was addicted to the site but I never thought to check it out – now I can’t get off – and have read almost every article I can find on Alexis (…and watched every Small Empires video). Very inspiring stuff.

    Alexis, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked Tim with a little tweak to make it more relevant to this article:

    1a) Do you have any advice for college/university dropouts like me diving into the tech/startup scene for the first time without a degree?

    1b) Do you think a degree has an effect on your chance of getting press?

    (It seems most people who are interviewed/many founders are recent grads of Ivey league schools.)

    1c) How else can I prove that I know that I’m talking about and am a reliable source of information in my field?

    P.S. – Will you (Alexis) be speaking anywhere in Ontario, Canada anytime soon?

  18. Hi Alexis,

    You’re surely very busy; will you be able to also have a look at my questions (6th person from the top)? At least the 1st questions regarding the Prizeo campain, in case my other questions don’t make sense 🙂

    Thanks and regards from Greece,


  19. Hi Tim. Wanted to let you know that your reach for teaching all of us about entrepreneurship has extended to my 8 year old son who I helped publish his first alphabet picture book. We’re doing a father/son dual book launch today at a local independent bookstore in Oregon. He got interviewed by two local newspapers. Here’s one of them:

    This experience is also teaching my son about financial management. He gets a “paycheck” from me whenever he makes a sale but I make him fill out an Excel spreadsheet that divides up the money into different areas like college and paying back the cost of the book production. In turn, this experience has now extended to his 6 year old sister who’s been selling hand made bookmarks at our signings. No way little sister is letting big brother have all the fun.

    Of course at book signings nobody cares about my books anymore when they notice him sitting next to me. Sigh. =)

    Not sure you’ll get this comment, but thank you for what I’ve been able to do with your help, since reading 4HWW back in 2011. It’s really not about me anymore but about my kids.

    Raymond Macalino

  20. Tim,

    This is probably totally unrelated to the associated blog but it seems that this is the only way to contact you. I couldn’t find an email address and on the advice from your ‘contacts’ page I am posing a question regarding some Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that you made reference to on The Joe Rogan Experiance. Can you recommend a brand/source that I can purchase this through?

    Your pal from Down Under,


  21. Tim,

    I realise this is completely unrelated to the above blog but I have a question regarding Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that you made reference to on The Joe Rogan Experience. Can you provide me with a brand/source that I can purchase through?

    Your pal from Down Under,


  22. Tim,

    You have been an such an inspiration to me in my life, and at this point I have to reach out. Following your heart, passions, and dreams is something your methods give a framework, or a blueprint to unlike any thing else. I am a 30 year old entrepreneur from Michigan, and am a finalist with an opportunity to join a team to set a world record of crossing the Atlantic Ocean kiteboarding!!! The whole mission of this team is to show the world that when following your passions, anything is possible!! We are in the final days of this competition, and if selected I would be the only American involved!! Any help with exposure to this amazing project would be unbelievably helpful. I don’t want to fill up your comment section with details, so if you have any interest, please let me know!!! Thanks

  23. This is really helpful. I loved the idea of keeping a spreadsheet of your super fans. That is something that will pay off for sure. Thanks for this!

  24. A pitchtastic post, and sterling quote to cap it off:

    “….None of us know what we’re doing, but trying is how we learn….”

  25. Thank you for sharing your experience and how you went about from the good and bad parts. Sharing and being so honest is very refreshing in this day and age with everybody seeming to compete for either attention or money. I found the video very inspiring and helpful as i am in the process of working out which way to go and how to go about it with a very large cricket community following.

    I am looking forward to using your helpful information and enjoying the ride along the way.

    Thanks again Damien

  26. Thank you for sharing your experience and how you went about from the good and bad parts. Sharing and being so honest is very refreshing in this day and age with everybody seeming to compete for either attention or money. I found the video very inspiring and helpful as i am in the process of working out which way to go and how to go about it with a very large cricket community following.

    I am looking forward to using your helpful information and enjoying the ride along the way.

    Thanks Damien

  27. Those are some really nice tips to get the buzz going for your startup. If you have tried setting up a business, you’ll know how hard it is to get it off the ground. But with the right connections, you can get it up with little effort. It is just a matter of knowing what to do.

  28. Does any of this work for writers? It all seems focused on start-up businesses (and not just this article, but much of this blog). I’m a writer and food historian (current book is Midwest Maize, U of IL Press), and I really don’t want to farm out research (my favorite part of this “job”) or start up something that is more hip or high-tech. Any hope for those of us who actually adore what we do, but who still need to pay the rent? Any great press/PR for someone who is never going to be a dot-com?