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Intro to media relations for entrepreneurs lion's lair competition

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Media relations advice for entrepreneurs looking to raise their profile with prospective customers, investors, partners, suppliers and employees. Presentation was delivered to participants in the 2018 Lion's Lair competition run by The Innovation Factory in Hamilton, Ontario.

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Intro to media relations for entrepreneurs lion's lair competition

  1. 1. Media relations training for the entrepreneurs competing in the Innovation Factory’s annual Lion’s Lair competition in Hamilton, Ontario Free media relations advice courtesy of Jane Allison and Jay Robb Slide images courtesy of Pixabay 1
  2. 2. YOU ASK, WE ANSWER What question do you want answered by the end of the training? What’s the one thing you want to know about working with the media? 2
  3. 3. IN THE BEGINNING… Launched a media relations summer camp in 2007 Free media relations training as a thank-you to non-profits and community groups – more than 200 campers have attended Campers polished, practiced and then pitched story ideas to reporters and editors at The Hamilton Spectator The best pitches wound up in the newspaper Condensed version for Lion’s Lair competitors 3
  4. 4. ONE CAUTION Do you have the right attitude to work with the media? Take a hard pass if you believe: • The media traffic in fake news • Reporters are irresponsible • Traditional news media is irrelevant • Media is beholden to advertisers and interested only in entertaining the masses If you believe this, find someone else in your start-up to work with the media Don’t go into an interview spoiling for a fight or on the offensive. 4
  5. 5. THE VALUE OF MEDIA COVERAGE Good coverage can help differentiate yourself and your start-up – stand out from the crowd Raise your profile with prospective customers, investors, suppliers, partners and employees Earn a Good Housekeeping seal of approval – 3rd party validation by the media instead of humblebragging by you or your mom Media coverage drives social media 5
  6. 6. BUILD TRUST Media coverage is one way to connect with prospective customers, investors, suppliers, partners and employees. People need to be aware of you and like you before they’ll trust you with their money, time and talent. 6
  7. 7. WHAT IS NEWS? Reporters, editors and producers will ask 2 questions when evaluating potential stories: 1. RELEVANCE - Why should I care? Why should our readers, viewers and listeners care? The more people who care, the better the story. 2. TIMELINESS - Why should I tell this story now? How does this story connect with what’s already happening in the community and in the world around us? Also, is your product or service UNIQUE? Are you doing something that hasn’t been done before? 7
  8. 8. KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE Your start-up is your pride and joy and all-consuming passion. Of course, it’s front page news to you. You want to be on the cover of Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Wired. To the reporter, you’re just another assignment. And the reporter is not your publicist. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for the reporter to tell a story that will be of interest to her audience. 8
  9. 9. ALL STORIES NEED A NEWS HOOK You already have one as a Lion’s Lair competitor – there’s both relevance and timeliness. After July 25, you could be among the 10 finalists. On Sept. 27, you could be the Lion’s Lair winner. This will be of interest to media in: - Hamilton – home of Lion’s Lair - Your hometown - Your alma mater which is always looking for alumni success stories And we all know that entrepreneurs and start-ups are job creators. Cities are competing to attract people like you. 9
  10. 10. YOU ARE THE STORY Reporters are trained to build stories around people. WHAT you’re doing is interesting. WHY you’re doing it is even more interesting. As an entrepreneur you have a great story to tell. Make it personal. So what’s your back story? • What’s your motivation? • Who’s your inspiration? • What problem are you trying to solve and why did you chose to fix that problem? • Are you the first in your family to be an entrepreneur? Or do you come from a family of entrepreneurs? • Have you always been entrepreneurial? Were you the kid with the lemonade stand and lawn-cutting business? • Did you quit a job to create your own job? • What does your family think? • Are you juggling family and work while building your business? • Have you built other businesses? 10
  11. 11. GO INTO THE INTERVIEW KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF IT The goal of your interview is not to spend an hour having a free-flowing conversation with a reporter. You are not there to shoot the breeze or make a new friend. The goal is to get your key messages delivered to prospective customers, investors, suppliers, partners and employees. The reporter is treating this interview as an assignment – you should take the same approach. Be courteous, professional and all business. The reporter doesn’t want an hour-long conversation. She wants a quick interview with you serving up some great quotes that need little or no editing or deciphering. In your interview, be BOLD, be BRIEF and then be QUIET. You will get yourself into trouble if you go off on tangents and ramble to fill silences. Reporters are trained to use pregnant pauses between your answer and their next question. You should be able to say all you need to say in 10 minutes or less. 11
  12. 12. ANTICIPATE THE QUESTIONS REPORTERS WILL ASK: • WHO you are and WHO are your customers? • WHAT problem are you trying to solve with your start-up? WHAT does your start-up do? • WHY did you chose to solve that problem? WHY does this problem need solving? • WHEN did you start solving this problem and WHEN will you be launching your business and bringing your products and services to market? • WHERE are you setting up shop? WHERE are you making your product or delivering your service? Remember – YOU are the story. Don’t shy away from your motivations, hopes and dreams. 12
  13. 13. HAVE AN ELEVATOR PITCH READY FOR YOUR INTERVIEW You’ll get a 10-second clip for TV and radio news. You’ll get 2-3 sentences for a newspaper story. Make it count. Have one key message with 2-3 proof points / supporting facts. Again, be BOLD, be BRIEF and then be QUIET. Think and speak in soundbites. Open your interview with your elevator pitch. And end the interview with your pitch – most reporters will wrap up by asking if you have anything else you’d like to add. Don’t talk about “we”. Instead, name your start-up during your interview. 13
  14. 14. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Never attempt to wing it. Know exactly what you want to say and the best way to say it using the fewest words possible. Strip out all jargon. Speak for a general audience. Imagine you’re talking to your parents or grandparents. What’s the one thing you want readers, listeners and viewers to remember about you and your business? Rehearse until you no longer sound rehearsed. Say your answers out loud. Make sure your non-verbal communication matches up with what’s coming out of your mouth. Amp up your enthusiasm. 14
  15. 15. STAY FOCUSED No distractions before and during your media interview. Be fully present. Give the reporter your undivided attention. Listen to the question and figure out how to answer it in a way that incorporates the messages you want to deliver to customers, investors, suppliers, partners and employees. Keep track of what you’ve said, what you still need to say and what you’d like to do a better job of saying over. Watch your body language and tone – be positive and confident. 15
  16. 16. FOLLOW UP AND GIVE THANKS Email the reporter after the story runs. Thank the reporter for the opportunity to be interviewed. Highlight what happened as a result of the media coverage. Who contacted you? Share the reporter’s story on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Post on your blog or website. Don’t send gifts – just give thanks. 16
  17. 17. THE PERFECT PITCH Email your pitch. Do not show up at a newsroom or call while the reporter’s working to deadline. Send one email to one reporter (send an email to everyone and no one’s likely to do a story). If you don’t know which reporter, send to the assignment editor or producer (you’ll find their contact info online). Subject line is your headline – highlight what’s unique or the problem you’re solving (remember to be RELEVANT AND TIMELY) One screen of text – do not write a mock story. Point form is fine. No attachments Let the reporter know who they can talk to and where they can visit. What’s the backdrop for photos and video? Include full contact info plus numbers for weekends and weekends. Don’t forget dates if your pitch is time sensitive or tied to an event or announcement. Never bait and switch – the story you pitch is the story the reporter will get to cover. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. 17
  18. 18. STAY IN CONTROL WHEN THE REPORTER CALLS YOU If the media call you for a story and you we’re expecting it, you can: • Say yes or no to an interview request. • Ask about the story angle. What’s the story about? Who else is being interviewed? • Buy yourself some time to work on your messaging. You can ask for an hour or two before doing the interview. • Negotiate where you’ll do the interview and for how long. 18
  19. 19. HOW TO BUILD A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH REPORTERS SO THEY’LL CONTACT YOU AGAIN Don’t get back to the reporter a week after she calls you (especially if you’re the one who pitched the story). Don’t be camera shy. Don’t ask to review and approve the story before it runs. You are not the editor. Don’t ask to review your quotes. Instead, focus on being clear and concise during your interview so there’s no risk of the reporter misunderstanding what you’re trying to say. And don’t go off on tangents. Don’t tell the reporter that what you’re saying is off the record. If you don’t want your name attached to what you’re saying, don’t say it. And know that everything you say before, during and after the interview can be used by the reporter. Don’t ask the reporter to send you a copy of the story. Find it yourself online. 19
  20. 20. Don’t make a big deal out of a small mistake. If you really want a correction, email the reporter and point out what’s wrong with the story. Don’t vent on social media or go to the reporter’s boss. 19
  21. 21. BE A RESIDENT EXPERT Submit an op-ed to a newspaper. Guest editorial of approx. 750 words or less. Be a guest contributor to a blog or newsletter. Share your experience as an entrepreneur and competitor on Lion’s Lair Talk about your motivation and inspiration Why should others consider being an entrepreneur like you? What’s it really like? How hard is it? What are the most common misperceptions? What’s the greatest challenge? The greatest reward? What’s the best advice and worst advice you’ve received? What should our community be doing to better support entrepreneurs and encourage entrepreneurship? What was the experience like with Lion’s Lair? What did you learn? 20
  22. 22. DO GOOD TO EARN GREAT MEDIA COVERAGE Be a hero in our community Make a change with more than your product or service Make corporate social responsibility part of your start-up’s DNA from the very beginning. Chose a cause that aligns with your business and reinforces your brand. Do good to differentiate yourself from competitors. Own a cause that aligns with your company’s business goals. For example, Country Time is offering Legal-Ade for entrepreneurial kids who set up lemonade stands and get fined You can: • Donate % of sales. • Adopt inclusive hiring practices. • Donate your time and talent. • Be environmentally sustainable. Do everything and you’ll be remembered for nothing. Focus instead on being all-in on a specific cause that you can own. 21
  23. 23. Listen to The Marketing Book podcast with Douglas Burdett Subscribe to The Story of Telling blog by Bernadette Jiwa Read The Media Training Bible by Brad Phillips Hire Warren Weeks to conduct on-camera media training (www.mediatrainingtoronto.com) 22
  24. 24. FIND AND TELL YOUR SIGNATURE STORY Everyone has a story that is uniquely their own “You don’t have to compete when you know who you are” – Bernadette Jiwa A powerful story well told will differentiate you and your start-up You created your business to be a catalyst for change Tell us why this change matters to you – why are you putting everything on the line to make this change? What are the core values / fundamental beliefs at the heart of your business? People are drawn to a business with a clear purpose that aligns with their values and beliefs If we like you, we’ll trust you and do business with you as a customer, investor, supplier, 23
  25. 25. partner or employee 23
  26. 26. CONTACT US: Jane Allison DOVETAIL Community jane@dovetailcommunity.com 905.520.1745 @janeallison24 Jay Robb Mohawk College jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca 905.979.8893 @jayrobb 24