Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Start-Up 101: How to Be a Media Darling (And What Not to Do)

Just starting your own business or need a refresher on how to speak to the media? If you want to get your message across, don't forget these three tips:
1) Craft a well-spun story that will inspire your targeted audience--offer anecdotes and examples that will encourage the audience to relate to you
2) Train yourself to read industry news and research the publications and have a solid idea about who you want to talk to.
3) Tailor your story to the needs of the blog or publication and the interests of the blogger or reporter

...and What Not to Do
Last week, I interviewed a very nice gentleman who was starting a fundraising company targeted at helping the Christian community do their fundraising. I should mention that he has a lot of optimism and drive to see his company through, but there were definite challenges in trying to get the story. Also, he is OK with the idea that I'm using this as a blog post.

First of all, it's a challenging story to write because religion is a sensitive subject. I felt that with the right story, I could dance around the religion subject, to meet the needs of The Millennium Marketer, a corporate-targeted, social media-oriented, start-up mentality blog.

1) Don't forget to read the publication that you are speaking to. In other words, make your ideas relevant.
Unfortunately, my friend with the Christian start-up company tied every message that he had to God. It sounded to me that Jesus is the CEO and he is the sub-CEO, but that is the message he was telling me. Every other word was, "I did this to follow God's motivation is role model is passion is church." That is totally fine for a Christian blog or publication, but maybe that won't work so well for other media outlets that you want to reach out to.

2) Don't come unprepared. Practice makes perfect.
This goes back to the first point. This friend didn't have quick answers for simple questions, such as what are your hobbies, what do you enjoy doing? You have to know yourself, your company, and be able to pull up all the history of your company on the spot. Lack of preparation is probably one of the reasons for the fall-back "God" answer.

3) Don't forget what your message is and the reason why you want to get in front of the media.
At different times of the interview, this gentleman also mentioned his weaknesses, which wasn't part of any question that I asked him. I didn't have any choice but to record this information. He didn't seem quite sure what the story was that he wanted to tell me.

There are many great Christians out there in the world, but many people have heard about the Bible, a thousand-year document, for many, many years.

Bottom line: If you want to inspire others, come up with an original story and message that will get people excited about you and the product that you are trying to sell.

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