If you’re a MakerPro with a fledgling product to sell, you probably want some sort of media exposure to get the word out about your product. Though I’ve never had a product to sell, before I started writing for sites like Embedded Computing, I tried to get exposure for my various DIY projects with some moderate success, and now that I do work primarily for tech publications, I have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.
Make it interesting
Certainly the first thing you’ll need to do to promote your MakerPro project is to make the project itself interesting. If it’s not something new or innovative, then no one wants to read about it. A background story helps, and if there is an interesting mistake along your path to success, definitely include it!
Sometimes I go looking for things to write about, but it’s so much easier if people just send me article ideas. Many websites have forms you can fill out to submit your story pitch, so if you have a favorite site (or six) that deals with what you have created or are doing, fill out the form or send it to their submission email address. I’d suggest having a list of potential media outlets ready to go, and tailoring your story to the various outlets you send it to. Perhaps keep a list of who and what works for future use.
Take to social media
If the websites or print publications that you want to target have a social media presence (which they probably do), then ping them that way, too. Twitter is my personal favorite, but there are certainly other methods.
Similar but somewhat different animals are social bookmarking sites like Reddit. If you can get traction on one of them, your cause will be helped immensely traffic-wise. If I don’t have anything pressing, I often check out a few “subs” to see what out there is interesting and submit what I find to an editor of a relevant publication. These kinds of sites can be quite touchy about self-promotion or even the format of what you post, so I’d recommend getting a feel for how this works before posting about how great your invention is twenty times!
Offer samples cautiously
This may go without saying, but if you want a review of your product, the person reviewing it will likely need to get one of these items to use and observe. Keep in mind, as a writer, I personally wouldn’t participate in a situation where I was expected to give a good review or even specifically put an article on a site that I don’t own in exchange for getting something. It may seem like a subtle difference, but I’d look at, “Here’s my product, review it and publicize it if you can/think it deserves it,” much more favorably than, “I’ll give you this cool product if you can guarantee a good review on XYZ site.” In fact, I would say no to the second proposition.
The good news, from my perspective, is that everyone I’ve dealt with has been aboveboard in this kind of situation. I’m generally looking for content ideas anyway, so why wouldn’t I or another tech journalist review your product, especially if it’s really interesting?
Realize that things don’t last
Sadly, if you do get exposure by a few media outlets or on social media, it won’t last forever. It’s a great feeling when something takes off and you see an explosion of traffic. The first time I was featured by a major website, Hackaday, can be seen in its current form here, and how it appeared in 2011 in the picture above. Most likely though, this surge will die down within a few days.
With improved traffic to your site and attention on your MakerPro project, be sure to capitalize on it. This could mean getting subscriptions to an email list or direct purchases of a product, but be ready and you can hopefully leverage this success into something even better and more permanent!