May 14, 2021
8 Tips for Pitching Your Startup to Media
For International Women’s Month 2021, Google for Startups and Factory Berlin teamed up to host a special event series for female founders. Here are our panelists top tips to getting your startup media coverage.
Get the basics right.
During this event, there was no shortage of cringe-worthy anecdotes of startup founders’ sending requests with the wrong outlet name in the text.
It should go without saying that when addressing a journalist, you’ll need to address them correctly. Getting their name or their media outlet’s name wrong is an easy way to lose credibility before even getting to your pitch.
Double check your email text before it goes out if you want to have a chance at landing coverage.
Do your homework on the outlet.
In addition to knowing the basics like the media outlet name, you should also know the audience which they are addressing.
“Do your homework. Know the media outlet and know the target group behind it. Offer content that fits that audience.”
Establish Yourself on Social Media.
Catch the attention of journalists by showcasing your knowledge on social media.
Preferred platform? All our journalists agreed that Twitter is particularly useful for sourcing expertise and finding new leads for stories.
“Founders and VCs can set themselves up as thought leaders on social media and other platforms. Write things on Medium or LinkedIn. Show that you’re an expert in a particular area.”
Think Like a Journalist.
When pitching your startup, Miriam reminded founders to “think like a journalist. If you were reading something, what would you want to know? What would excite you?”
At the center of all great tech startup stories, there is a human interest element. Dig deep to find what’s compelling or unusual about you and your story. Ask yourself: What is my personal connection to the problem that I’m solving? Why am I obsessed with this?
Hannah Schwär added, “A good story or pitch has to give a reason why it’s interesting”. You’ll need to know what makes your story exciting to make a successful PR pitch.
Position Your Story in a Wider Context.
A simple way to find that “why”? Lay the scene when pitching your startup by describing its unique fit in your industry or its context in the world right now. A story is more powerful with context.
“Journalists are looking for stories that speak to a wider issue. Rather than just pitching your startup or founder profile, consider how it fits into the current landscape of your industry, and current circumstances of the world.” Hannah.
Kill Your Darlings.
A simple way to sink your pitch is to pitch too many things all at once. Stay focused and hone in on the most powerful part of your story. As Svenja said, “Kill your darlings. There might be many, many interesting things about you but concentrate on the core.”
“Press releases resonate rarely, because the journalist knows that it is not exclusive.”
Ditch the Press Release.
All journalists want to get the story first, so a press release can put a pitch at a disadvantage.
If you are going to share a press release with a journalist, then make sure to write an email to go along with the press release which is personalised for the journalist and their outlet which describes why they should be especially interested.
The final word of advice? “Just be genuine and as human as possible,” says Miriam.
It’s easy to feel vulnerable while pitching your story to a journalist, but it always helps to remember that the journalists are people too. Be respectful, polite and personable. This will resonate with the person at the other end of your email and help you have your story heard.
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