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How to pitch your startup to media [Recap]

Panelists: Kristen Bergman, Armand McCoy, Dick Pryor

At some point of your startup life you will need some constructive media coverage. And at other point you will have to face negative press pressure as well. In both cases you need to handle it with delicate care and patience and persistence. Sometimes, positive media coverage can even change the fate of a startup. However, handling media, either time, is difficult. You need to learn it. Understand it. And apply it.

Seth Godin said understanding something is hard work. And we under-perform while it comes to understanding anything because we tend to take shortcuts. Instead of listening things deeply we like to talk, instead of asking more questions we love to give answers. But while dealing with media taking shortcut can become detrimental at the end.

To help startups out Bangladesh Startup Cup organized an event titled ‘how to pitch your startup to media?” on 7th January, 2014 at the auditorium of Daffodil International University, Dhaka. The event was divided into three parts: panel discussion which was moderated by Kristen Bergman, a Q & A session and practice session.  

Pitch to media
Pitch to media

In this post I’ll try to recap few crucial insights on pitching to media opined by expert panelists.

Relationship: The world revolves on connection. Your state of relationship with media people plays an important role whether you’ll get any media attention or not. Even in your tough time a good relation can save you. Build good relationship with journalists and media personalities and maintain it.

Timing: When do you pitch your idea to someone carries a lot more meaning. As human being our condition, situation and state of mind changes all the time. You must find a time when the person you are pitching to feel comfortable to listen you.

Relevance: While pitching someone keep in mind that, every media/journalist does things for their audiences and readers. If your idea does not resonate with their audience then it’s not a win-win situation and possibility is that they would feel less interested to publish your pitch. However, if you can make it relevant to their audience then your chance of getting published will go higher.

Idea: Present your idea in a way that it does not sound selfish. Make sure your idea is compelling and have a public issue built-in.

Honesty: Be honest because if you do it other way, some day they will find it out and they will screw you up.

No comment is a bad reply: This is a common phenomenon especially when companies go through hard times; they often try to avoid media. If accidentally they meet press they try to shut them off by saying either something blunt or something like ‘no comment’. This is a bad way to deal with media. Take time, think, and reply. If you can’t reply right away then take time by asking politely. Make sure your whole team talk in same tone. Discrepancies between opinions can go against you.

Take preparation and practice: Make sure you are ready to talk to media. Practice your pitch over and over again. Do demo. Take feedback. As we know-‘chance favors the prepared mind’.

Compliment with Recap: Build A Business workshop with Kristen Bergman

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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