QUESTION: NAME ONE TIP FOR PITCHING A MEDIA OUTLET ON AN ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURE.
PITCH THE STORY TOO
“Journalists love to tell a story, so pitch them your startup story rather than just telling them about what your product is. Make it colorful and interesting so they can easily see how this would translate into a compelling piece for them to write.”
TIE IN A HOT TREND
“The best thing to do when pitching media is to tie in your current pitch idea with a topic that is already hot in the media. Media outlets want to get the most viewership possible, so they like to ride popular stories as long as they can. This tactic especially works when you can tie a celebrity into your story – my most popular post was “5 things LeBron James can teach us about entrepreneurship.””
INCORPORATE THE NUMBERS
“Business is a lot of numbers, so including numbers (revenue, profit, employees, etc.) is always helpful for a pitch. When we pitch Back to the Roots, we always mention the impact we have on coffee waste by saying “on track to divert 3.6 million pounds.” When quantifying the story, the pitch, idea, and the significance become clear for the journalist. It’s easy for them to skim over in a hurry.”
HELP THEM HELP YOU
“When pitching to a media outlet, try to find something relevant in your business that the outlet is passionate about or they may have been discussed in the past. Helping them create new content — with a little sprinkle of your own business — will help establish a relationship and help open doors for future/better opportunities.”
DO RESEARCH, BE PERSONAL
“Working in media has taught me the importance of personalization. A few targeted pitches to the right people, using their names and addressing how your product/service fits within their specific outlet will get you much further than a mass pitch sent to every email address you can get your hands on.”
BECOME AN AUTHORITY
“Some of the best-received content that we’ve had published has been in response to changes in our industry and hot topics in the news. A good way to secure a media placement is to reference a current event, trend, or statistic that affects your business and detailing how your company is developing or changing as a result.”
FACTS TELL, STORIES SELL
“The media exists to tell compelling stories, not to provide free advertising for a business. Think of your business as a TV series and create multiple story arcs. Do you have a quirky startup story? Are you piggybacking on or revolutionizing a trend? Make a list of 10 or 15 story angles for your venture, then match each one to its most appropriate media target.”
THEY’RE PEOPLE TOO!
“Sometimes, people forget they’re pitching a real person, not just a “media outlet.” This journalist is a person, with tight deadlines, frustrations, and an overflowing inbox, just like the rest of us. Follow that journalist on Twitter: What time does he usually publish stories? Why would he care about your business or story? You want to be a convenience, not just another spam email.”
HAVE CELEBRITIES USE YOUR PRODUCTS
“Nothing has made pitching to media outlets easier for me than being able to say that influential celebrities support our work — particularly if the celeb is willing to go on record for a quick quote or interview. Media outlets want to know that their article, if published online, will collect good traffic, and they know that celebs drive this traffic better than anyone else in the world.”
DO SOMETHING CRAZY
“You read about it all the time: someone puts themselves on the line with some kind of stunt, and everyone starts talking about it. What is something that you can do that would have the press all over you and want to talk to you about? Be creative and don’t hold back — and you will get your PR.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.