How to pitch your app to TechCrunch — Get featured in TechCrunch with these tips
Learn how to make your pitch stand out from 100s TechCrunch's writers receive every day.
TechCrunch is among the most desirable websites to get your app featured, but it’s not easy. Writers receive hundreds of pitches every day and it’s not enough for your app to be a good idea well executed.
To gain coverage on TechCrunch, you need to tell the right story. And who better to guide you in that storytelling — and getting the story into the right hands — than Matthew Panzarino.
Matthew is TechCrunch’s former Editor-in-Chief and was at the publication for over ten years. His inbox has seen countless pitches in that time and his observations will help your pitch stand out.
These tips will help you regardless of what publication you’re pitching to, but they’ve come directly from Matthew’s TechCrunch experience, so that’s where we’ll focus.
Why do apps pitch to TechCrunch?
Matthew shares three major reasons why people come to TechCrunch to pitch their app.
- Recruiting: By gaining coverage, apps can get the story out about what they’re trying to do and show why theirs is an interesting challenge to solve.
- Raising money: A story in TechCrunch raises attention and sets the app apart from the thousands of other companies pitching investors.
- User acquisition: The main reason why apps pitch to any publication — to gain new users.
Using PR for user acquisition (UA) deserves to be expanded a little. Matthew points out that if broad user acquisition is your primary goal, you shouldn’t be looking to gain coverage in TechCrunch or anywhere. Instead, you should be looking at other channels: ASO, performance marketing (e.g. Apple Search Ads or Google App Campaigns), and so on.
However, this isn’t to say that coverage in TechCrunch can’t lead to new users. Often, stories can gain apps thousands of new users; more rarely, tens if not hundreds of thousands (over a long period). But the right way to think about UA and TechCrunch is that being covered can lead to thousands of highly targeted users: power-users, early adopters, people highly likely to give you feedback.
You’re not going to reach a million users through a TechCrunch article, but you will gain something valuable to help you achieve that goal.
Three tips to effectively pitch your app to TechCrunch
1. You’re not pitching to TechCrunch; you’re pitching to the writer.
The title of this blog is slightly misleading. You don’t pitch to TechCrunch: you pitch to one of TechCrunch’s writers. It is the individual writers who wield the power; they have their own specialisms and interests, and bring with them their own audiences.
The benefits of researching which writers at TechCrunch are specialists in your niche — and by “niche”, don’t just think app, think personal finance, think laundry-as-a-service — are twofold. First, a writer with experience in your niche brings a personal interest and writers want to be writing stories on topics that interest them, so your chances of success will be higher. Second, the subsequent stories will be better: that deeper understanding brought by the writer will mean that you might have a write-up that you then use (whether for marketing, pitching to investors, etc.) for years to come.
For early-stage apps, getting into the hearts and minds of a particular writer early on can be especially fruitful, as they can become chroniclers of your progress over time.
2. Focus your pitch on what sets your app apart.
The fundamentals that have gone into building your app: the elegant design, robust build, great accessibility… These things, Matthew says, bring you to zero. That’s your solid foundation, the things every app should be aiming for as a minimum.
To make your pitch interesting to your chosen writer(s), you need to focus, almost exclusively, on differentiation. What makes your app special? Only you can answer that. It could be your feature-set — using a feature only recently made available by a recent Apple or Google update, for example.
Or it might be your unique story. Matthew shares a hypothetical example, “My brother and I founded this app. We saw a need because our mother was in a hospice and there was no elder care app that also integrated messaging in this way…” The story of why is part of what will elevate your pitch.
3. Keep your pitch to the point (and your press kit comprehensive).
When pitching to TechCrunch, the usual rules apply: keep your subject lines short, simple, and to the point. Keep the body copy down to just a few lines and, to echo earlier advice, focus that copy on what makes your app unique. Don’t paste generic information because it won’t get read.
However, the body content needn’t be restricted to just a few lines, says Matthew.
“If you have a very defining, potent, straightforward screenshot of something that’s in your app. And you’re like, ‘look, we did this. It’s really cool. You’re going to love it.’ Put that in there too, right in the body of the email.”
What not to put in the email, however, are tracking pixels or links. And — especially! — never call the writer and say “hey, I saw you open my email”. It’s “creepy and weird”.
Then there’s the press kit. While you keep your pitch brief, you need to make your press kit comprehensive enough that the writer can write their story without any further research (but keep it easy and obvious how the writer can follow-up with you should they wish).
Make it easy, therefore, for the writer to write the story. But stop well short of trying to write the story yourself. Provide the key story beats — i.e the crucial information through start, middle, and end — but allow enough room for the writer to tell the story the way that they want.
Pitching your app to TechCrunch: In summary
These golden rules of pitching your app to TechCrunch can be applied to almost anywhere you wish to achieve coverage.
- Do your research — know the publication and writer
- Tailor your pitches — focus on what the particular writer is interested in
- Focus on your uniqueness (especially important for TechCrunch)
- Get the basics right: short email, detailed press kit
Looking for more ways to use PR to promote your app? Read our PR tips guide.