Tips for startups on how to pitch to bloggers and media

Over the past few months, I’ve been approached by a number of startups to write about their business and give them some media/blog coverage. I am a patientImage of a classroom person and a strong supporter of Canadian technology companies. That’s why I’d never really trash a company for being bad at pitching to me – or for disclosing information that they probably shouldn’t share with a blogger.

However, I thought it was necessary to provide some basic guidelines on the type of information that bloggers and media require upfront when you are preparing to speak to them.

1. Put together a fact sheet about your business. Make sure to include information like who is your ideal customer, what does your market opportunity look like, how has your business grown and been received by customers since you launched, etc.?

2. Try to think of a story angle that might be of interest to the blogger. Just asking them to write about you may not be the best approach. Think about why your company’s story is relevant to industry trends and consumer behaviours happening right now in your market. Does something related to your business tie-in with a seasonal or trending news story? If so, try to come up with an angle to pitch to the blogger when you contact them.

3. Think through some of the potentially “tough questions” and prepare answers for them that will likely satisfy the blogger/writer’s curiosity or skepticism. It’s better to have a prepared response than have the blogger/writer go digging for the answer – only to uncover a big hole in your story, or a potential threat to your business. If you know your business well enough, you should have those answers in advance.

4. It’s sometimes better to wait, rather than pitch to the media too early on. Even though you may just have launched, think through the timing of your announcement/media pitch. If you don’t have a lot of customers yet, or have not got your product up to a satisfactory level, perhaps wait a while until you have a bit more of a story to tell. It’s more important that users who DO use your product are satisfied – especially if you’re a B2C business. Otherwise, if you try to drive traffic to your site too early through PR and blogs, your customers may be turned-off when they get there and never return.

I hope these tips help you to get the best story possible when pitching your new business.

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