An air of humble eagerness to learn filled the WeWork space last night. Located in the Golden Gate Theatre near Civic Center, the beautifully designed co-working space combined a 1920s elegance with a polished contemporary design. Wine, beer and mediterranean food was served to the entrepreneurs and media professionals that gathered for last night's event, "Secrets of media deduction; How to attract journalists with your story" hosted by the PR Innovators Meetup and Hotwire PR.
The room quickly filled for the panel discussion featuring Samantha O'Keefe (editor for TechCrunch Startup Battlefied), Alastair Goldfisher (Venture Capital Editor for Venture Capital Journal and PEHub.com), Salvador Rodriguez (Silicon Valley correspondent for International Business Times) and moderated by Chikodi Chima (founder of Moonshot PR, a PR agency dedicated to startups).
For entrepreneurs and those working at startups, it was a great event to learn how to attain media for your business. And for PR professionals, it was a great event to expand your network and potentially find clients looking for PR services.
Chima did a fabulous job moderating the panel, delicately balancing between asking questions and offering invaluable insight, as well as giving the audience (it was a packed event!) time to ask theirs as well.
As an entrepreneur, we can always stand to improve our PR skills and efforts. Here are my ten biggest takeaways that I hope will help you in your business.
- PR is not a sustainable user acquisition strategy. Remember that the journalist's job is to inform the public; not be your marketing channel.
- When hiring a PR agency or freelancer, have realistic expectations and understand that you are paying for their established relationships.
- Know your journalists. Go for quality not quantity. Create a curated list of journalists that cover your industry.
- When pitching them, get familiar with their writing style and interests.
- It's like dating- meet them face to face or find a common bond with them. Following them on Twitter is usually an easy way to learn more about their personal interests.
- Don't be a "hasty pasty" i.e. do not copy and paste pitches to several journalists. Keep it familiar and personalized.
- Keep your pitches succint and include why their readers should care.
- In your pitch make it easy for them to utilize your information i.e provide a link for more resources to further explain your business or mission.
- Gimmicks only go so far when pitching. Sending cookies may be memorable, but make sure you have the business to back it up.
- Offer exclusive content. Embargos are usually not cool. What is an embargo? "In public relations, a news embargo or press embargo is a request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met."- Wikipedia
Bummed that you missed the event? It's ok! Here's some scoop on the panelists---just in case they are the journalist you want to pitch.
- Salvador Rodriguez (@sal19)- enjoys flirting. Like seriously. Invite him to a party, out for drinks. He's from ASU and is passionate about diversity and inclusion.
- Samantha O'Keefe (@samok) - one tough cookie. Keep everything short and relevant for her. Connect the dots immediately and demonstrate how you are unique. Focuses on lifesciences and education. Oh, and she studied waste water.
- Alastair Goldfisher (@agoldfisher) - Connect with him on social media, but don't pitch him there. He's focused on VCs, not necessarily startups. Loves to report on the funding process.
- All journalists- spell their names and companies correctly. Yay for minding your details! Remember that they all have deadlines and have a short time to check out your material.
Now I want to hear from you! Which tip from this article helped you the most? What have you found to work in your PR efforts?
Let me know and leave a comment below!
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Danetha Doe (@danethadoe) is an entrepreneur who loves to see other entrepreneurs succeed. If you've got a fun event you'd like me to attend and write about, shoot me a tweet. I'd love to hear from you! #MoneyandMimosas