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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. To successfully pitch to editors and journalists, focus on how you can provide value to their audience and treat them as partners rather than just service providers.
  2. Before pursuing press coverage, consider your goals and the purpose it serves, such as driving awareness or establishing credibility. Also, ensure the publication is relevant to your startup's audience.
  3. Entrepreneurs should focus on reaching their target audience through local or regional publications, instead of chasing national or international outlets, to maximize the impact of their press efforts.
  4. Understanding the mission of media outlets and adapting your pitches to their specific needs increases your chances of effectively communicating your message to their audience.
  5. Understand the mission and target audience of a publication, tailor your pitch to fit their objectives, and consider what makes your business interesting to effectively pitch your story to different outlets.
  6. Tailoring your pitches to the publication's needs and goals increases your chances of reaching and engaging your desired audience.
  7. Hiring a PR agency can save time and optimize press approach, but founders should consider cost, active media relationships, and agencies that utilize modern practices for successful press coverage.
  8. Working with PR professionals who understand your industry and target audience can help in pitching relevant stories and grabbing journalists' attention amidst the flood of emails.
  9. Press coverage provides validation, credibility, and social cachet, influencing how potential partners and advertisers perceive your brand.
  10. Research and identify the specific writers or editors who cover your subject area or target audience to increase the chances of getting press coverage.
  11. Utilize freelancers' motivation to secure paid assignments by reaching out to them directly through their portfolio websites or by identifying them on relevant publication websites.
  12. To gain media coverage, focus on capturing the interest of a single individual at a publication by sending a concise and tailored email that showcases your understanding of their audience and the writer you're reaching out to.
  13. Craft email pitches that are personalized to the recipient and keep them concise, focusing on sharing the aspect that will most interest them, to increase engagement and stand out from the noise.
  14. During challenging times, it is important to identify new markets and find innovative ways to meet their needs, regardless of the scale or complexity of our business.
  15. Research, understand, and customize your pitch to show genuine interest and increase the likelihood of grabbing someone's attention and interest.
  16. Building relationships, understanding perspectives, and recognizing the audience's interests are essential for fruitful PR interactions. Consider alternative PR approaches based on the nature of your business.
  17. Maintaining a genuine and respectful approach, offering exclusives, and understanding the publication's objectives can greatly benefit media pitches by building trust and increasing positive outcomes.
  18. Don't rely solely on press coverage for growth, as it is beyond your control. Understand the risks, be open, and accept that it may not always go as planned.
  19. By recognizing opportunities to contribute to a larger narrative, even if it means stepping away from self-promotion, you can become a valuable source for journalists and publications.
  20. By sharing unique angles, data, and innovative strategies with journalists, startups and companies can capture media attention and secure valuable press coverage.
  21. Being genuine and authentic in your interactions, whether with journalists or in any business setting, leads to better connections and understanding, ultimately increasing your chances of success.
  22. By asking unique questions and showing genuine interest, deeper understanding and engagement can be achieved in interviews.
  23. Embracing opportunities that are available, even without being asked, can lead to personal growth and potentially change the course of our lives. Don't underestimate the potential impact of these extra pursuits.
  24. Take initiative, challenge default options, step outside your comfort zone, and seize opportunities to control your own path towards personal growth and success.

📝 Podcast Summary

The key to getting press is understanding and serving the needs of editors and journalists.

When it comes to getting press for your product or startup, it's crucial to understand that editors and journalists prioritize their audience, not you. They care about serving their readers, listeners, or viewers with valuable information. To successfully pitch to them, you need to show how you can be of use to their audience. Approach them with an understanding of their goals and how you can fit into their mission. Treat them as partners, not just service providers. Additionally, consider reaching out directly to journalists, as they are more likely to write about your story compared to mass-blitz press releases. Remember, getting press requires a thoughtful and personalized approach.

The impact of press coverage on startup growth varies, and it should be considered as an add-on to your overall marketing strategy.

Getting press coverage for your startup can have varying levels of impact on your growth. While some entrepreneurs have experienced significant boosts in app downloads and sales from press coverage, others have seen little to no impact. It's important to remember that press coverage alone is not a guaranteed solution for growth. It should be considered as an add-on to your overall marketing strategy. Before investing time and effort into getting press, think about your goals and the purpose of the press coverage. It should serve a specific tactical purpose, such as driving awareness to a new product or establishing credibility for fundraising purposes. Don't pursue press coverage simply because you feel you deserve it or want more attention for your product. Additionally, consider the relevance and audience of the publication you're targeting as it may not always be the right fit for your startup.

Targeting the Right Audience and Publications for Press Coverage

When seeking press coverage, entrepreneurs should focus on targeting the right audience and publications. It is essential to understand the purpose of press, which is to drive sales or generate interest in a specific market. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to align their efforts with publications that reach their target audience and have a local or regional focus. Instead of chasing national or international outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, entrepreneurs should shift their attention to local publications that cater to their market, such as the local eater or the food section of a regional magazine. By understanding the importance of reaching the right audience and pitching to the appropriate publications, entrepreneurs can maximize the value and impact of their press efforts.

Tailoring Your Pitches to Media Outlets' Goals and Objectives.

When approaching media outlets, it's important to understand their mission and what they're trying to do for their audience. Different publications have different goals and objectives, so it's crucial to tailor your pitches accordingly. For example, Fast Company focuses on the evolution of business and looks for insights that help readers understand industry trends and shape their own companies. On the other hand, Entrepreneur Magazine aims to provide insights on how to think through business challenges. It's not just about solving a basic problem or showcasing a product, but rather offering unique and counterintuitive solutions that can inspire other entrepreneurs. Understanding the specific needs of different publications will increase your chances of successfully getting your message across.

Key factors for successful press coverage

Understanding the mission and target audience of a publication is crucial when seeking press coverage. It's not enough to assume that just because you're an entrepreneur, you automatically belong in an entrepreneurship-focused magazine. By analyzing the content and patterns of a publication, you can gain insights into what they value and what types of stories they're looking for. This knowledge helps you tailor your pitch and story to fit the publication's objectives. Additionally, it's essential to consider why you need press coverage and what makes your business interesting. Different publications have different angles, and understanding this allows you to pitch your story effectively to various outlets.

Aligning goals and understanding the publication's readership for effective press coverage

When seeking press coverage, it is crucial to align your goals with the publication's mission and audience. Instead of blindly pitching a narrative that you want to promote, take the time to understand what the publication's readership is interested in. Focus on serving their audience through your story and make it relevant and valuable to them. Consider the specific journey or aspect of your business that will resonate most with the publication's target demographic. Being creative and thinking outside the box can help you find unique angles that grab the publication's attention. By tailoring your pitches to the publication's needs and goals, you increase your chances of getting press coverage that effectively reaches and engages your desired audience.

Choosing the Right PR Agency for Founders

While working with a PR agency can be beneficial for founders who are busy and want to optimize their approach to getting press, it is important to be cautious in choosing the right agency. Hiring a PR agency can save founders time by allowing professionals to handle research, challenges, and pitch development. However, there are a couple of factors to consider. Cost can be a significant drawback as PR services can be expensive. Additionally, it is crucial to find a PR agency with active relationships in the media industry, as building relationships with writers and editors is essential for successful press coverage. It is also important to avoid agencies that mainly rely on outdated practices like press releases, as they are no longer the primary means of attracting press attention. Trusting a PR agency with the expertise to shape your story and connect with the right people can greatly enhance your chances of gaining media coverage.

The importance of working with industry-specific PR professionals and building genuine relationships for effective media pitches.

When it comes to PR, it's crucial to work with professionals who understand your industry, respect you as an entrepreneur, and provide valuable feedback. PR people who truly know you and your target audience are more likely to pitch relevant and meaningful stories, rather than bombarding media contacts with random pitches. Building genuine relationships with PR professionals like John Beer from Jack Taylor PR can make a significant difference in grabbing attention amidst the flood of emails that journalists receive. Additionally, it's important for startup founders to carefully consider the publications they target based on their goals and target audience, rather than simply aiming for well-known business publications.

The strategic value of press coverage extends beyond reaching a massive audience.

Getting press coverage is not always about reaching a massive audience. While publications like TechCrunch and Entrepreneur have millions of readers, your story may only reach a small number of people. However, this doesn't mean it's not valuable. The true value lies in the validation and social cachet that comes with being featured. You can use it as a tool to gain credibility, whether it's by targeting specific audiences through promoted tweets or displaying "as seen in" badges on your website. Even if the coverage doesn't directly lead to tangible results, it can still make a significant impact on how potential partners, advertisers, and others perceive your brand. So, focus on the strategic value of press coverage and leverage it as a valuable asset.

Targeting the right audience and editors: a key aspect of successful press coverage.

When seeking press coverage, it's important to think beyond just the name of the publication and consider who their audience is and how they cover similar topics. Sending a pitch to the most visible editorial person may not be the best approach, as they may not be the one responsible for selecting stories. Instead, take the time to research and identify the specific writers or editors who cover your subject area or target audience. Look for clues on the publication's website or through a simple Google search. For example, if your target audience is millennial moms, it may be more effective to pitch to a publication like Cosmo that covers snacks in seasonal roundups. Additionally, don't forget about freelancers who may also be writing for the publication. By understanding the publication's coverage and the specific individuals who would be interested in your story, you can craft a pitch that is more likely to resonate and result in press coverage.

Leveraging freelancers for product or story coverage

Freelancers, who are often independent contractors, are a valuable avenue to pursue when seeking coverage for your product or story. Unlike salaried staff writers, freelancers are constantly on the lookout for stories to pitch and are motivated by their need to secure paid assignments. By identifying and reaching out to freelancers who write for relevant publications, you have a higher chance of capturing their attention and getting your pitch read. To find freelancers, you can visit a publication's website and look for writers who are not designated as staff. Additionally, a quick Google search of the freelancer's name can lead you to their portfolio website for further contact.

The media is not a unified entity but rather a collection of individuals making subjective decisions. To get coverage, you need to find a way in by capturing the interest of a single individual at a publication who believes your story is worth sharing. It's crucial to understand that media professionals are busy and prefer not to be contacted through personal phone calls or social media messages. Instead, sending a concise and tailored email is the most effective method. This email should showcase the work you've done in understanding the publication's audience and the writer you're reaching out to. Just like when pitching investors, personalization and customization are key to grabbing their attention.

Personalized and Concise Email Pitches to Stand Out

When crafting an email pitch, it's crucial to make it clear that the message is targeted to the recipient. With inboxes flooded with mass blasts, personalized emails have a higher chance of standing out. Referencing something the recipient has written or showing familiarity with their work or publication can help make the email feel customized. By doing so, you separate yourself from the noise and increase the likelihood that the recipient will find the content relevant. Structure the email to be concise, with three paragraphs at most, and focus on sharing the aspect that you believe will interest the recipient the most. This approach saves their time and increases engagement.

Adapting to Change: The Power of Reinvention

During challenging times, it is crucial to be flexible and adapt to new circumstances. The example of Meg O'Hara, a Canadian landscape painter, showcases the power of reinventing oneself when faced with unexpected obstacles. When ski resorts shut down due to Covid-19, Meg had to find a completely different way to sustain her business. She recognized that skiers, who now had extra time and money, might still long for the experience of their favorite ski locations. With this insight, she started creating artwork depicting those cherished views, providing a solution that catered to people spending more time at home. Meg's story teaches us the value of identifying new markets and finding innovative ways to meet their needs, regardless of the scale or complexity of our business.

The Power of Personalization and Tailored Communication

When reaching out to someone for a pitch or an opportunity, it's crucial to show genuine understanding and customization. Take the time to research and understand the person's work and communication style. Make it clear that you know who they are and what they do. Craft your pitch in a way that relates to their audience or interests. Instead of simply presenting success stories, focus on problem-solving stories and be willing to discuss challenges openly. Additionally, building a casual social media presence before pitching can help establish familiarity and increase the chances of your email being opened. Remember, personalized and tailored communication goes a long way in grabbing someone's attention and interest.

Engaging with writers and editors on social media before pitching can lead to successful PR.

Building relationships and understanding the perspectives of writers and editors is crucial for successful PR. Taking the time to engage with them on social media before pitching can be a smart strategy as it allows them to become familiar with your work. This helps ensure that what you bring to them is genuine and in good faith. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that writers and editors are not there to serve you and your company. They have their audience's interests in mind when asking questions and conducting interviews. By understanding this, you can better navigate the PR process and have more fruitful interactions. Additionally, it's important to set realistic expectations and consider alternative PR approaches, such as positioning yourself as an expert or pitching authoritative articles, depending on the nature of your business.

Building Trust and Respect in Media Pitches

When pitching to journalists and media outlets, it is important to maintain a genuine and respectful approach. It is crucial not to play games or manipulate the media, as they will not tolerate it. Building a relationship of trust with journalists can greatly benefit the pitch. This can be done by offering exclusives or providing interviews with influential personalities. Additionally, understanding the nature of the publication is crucial. Some outlets, like Entrepreneur and Fast Company, prioritize positive stories that provide value to their audience. Tearing someone apart does not serve the purpose of educating and helping business-minded individuals. Overall, being upfront, respectful, and considerate of the publication's objectives will increase the chances of a positive outcome.

The unpredictability of press coverage and why it shouldn't be your primary growth strategy.

Press coverage is largely out of your control. While there are factors that can influence whether a journalist pays attention to you, what they write about you, and when they write about you, ultimately, it's up to them. Therefore, press should not be your primary strategy for driving growth. It can be a helpful add-on, but attempting to control the narrative or being too controlling with reporters can backfire. Press coverage is a vulnerable experience that requires a level of vulnerability and understanding that it may not always go as planned. It's important to be open, know the risks, and understand that getting press means reaching a wider audience, but also accepting the potential for things to go wrong.

Finding Relevance and Value in Unexpected Places

Sometimes you may not be the central focus of a story, but you can still play a crucial part in it. Lenny's encounter with Fred and his Ripple Rug demonstrates the power of finding an angle that is relevant and compelling to a journalist or publication. Initially, Fred's cat toy didn't align with Lenny's coverage interests. However, Fred smartly offered insights into a larger issue - the Amazon to eBay arbitrage scam. By shifting the focus to this problem, Fred became a valuable source for Lenny's article. This highlights the importance of recognizing opportunities to contribute to a larger narrative, even if it means stepping away from promoting your own product or venture.

Proactive and Creative Strategies for Media Coverage

Being proactive and creative in reaching out to journalists can lead to valuable press coverage. Sometimes, startups and companies have interesting stories or trends within their industry that can capture the attention of reporters. By sharing these unique angles or data with journalists, they create a newsworthy context for their business. For example, a real estate startup that contacted a reporter about an intriguing trend in the real estate market received prominent coverage. Similarly, a remote work consulting company generated press by creating surveys that provided interesting insights and angles for journalists to write about. Overall, founders and product leaders can leverage their data, unique perspectives, and innovative strategies to grab the attention of journalists and secure valuable media coverage.

The Importance of Authenticity in the Media Industry

In the media industry, it's crucial to be human in your interactions. Press releases and scripted talking points are not effective because they lack the human element. When engaging with others, whether it's through pitching or writing emails, it is important to be authentic and genuine. This applies not only to communication with journalists but also to any human-to-human interaction in the business world. Being human allows for better connections and understanding. It can make a significant difference in how your message is received and how relationships develop. So, remember to approach every interaction with a human touch, as it can greatly impact your success in the industry.

Unconventional Questions for Genuine and Insightful Responses

Asking interviewees or job candidates unique and thought-provoking questions can elicit genuine and insightful responses. By tapping into the unexplored territory and showing genuine interest in their thoughts and ideas, it allows for a deeper level of understanding and engagement. This can be a powerful technique to assess their thinking process and problem-solving skills. Similarly, as a job candidate tactic, drilling down into specific ideas and challenging oneself to think critically can leave a lasting impression on interviewers. Moreover, finding innovative tools like the BIGVU app, which functions as a teleprompter, can save time and enhance video recording experiences. Lastly, a recurring life motto to remember is the importance of building something sustainable and maintainable rather than just focusing on rapid growth.

The Importance of Maintenance and Continual Effort in Our Lives

Everything we bring into our lives, whether it's a new appliance, a project, or even a hobby, requires maintenance and constant effort. Just like Lenny's air conditioner and generator, or Jason's podcast and magazine, every addition to our lives brings with it the responsibility to maintain and nurture it. It's easy to forget that starting something is only the beginning, and continuous effort is needed to ensure its success. While opportunity set A represents the tasks and expectations placed upon us, it's opportunity set B, the things available to us even though no one is asking, that truly drives growth and personal development. Engaging in these extra pursuits, whether they directly lead to opportunities or inform future ones, can open doors and change the trajectory of our lives. So, don't shy away from what's available to you, because it may hold the key to your next big breakthrough.

Embracing entrepreneurship for personal growth and success.

Embracing the mindset of an entrepreneur can lead to personal growth and success. Lenny, a former magazine editor, shares how he transitioned into the role of an entrepreneur who helps others. He emphasizes the importance of taking initiative and not waiting for opportunities to come to you. This aligns with the idea of "opportunity set B," where one seeks alternative paths and challenges the default options. Lenny's realization that tracking progress in life and career is measured by the number of "Oh shit" moments highlights the importance of stepping outside one's comfort zone. Lastly, Lenny's advice to find and seize opportunities, such as working on press or exploring personal growth, empowers individuals to take control of their own paths.