Marco Santana

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Startups, here is how NOT to pitch a news reporter.

I had a conversation recently with an Orlando tech leader.

In it, I bluntly told him what I felt was one of the biggest problems I see when a startup pitches me a story.

They are so eager to tell me about their product line that they forget I’m not there to sell their product. I’m there to tell their story.

A recent pitch from a public relations professional focused upon a new company’s tech product.

Only through a brief conversation did I get to the actual story: the company was built by a group of serial entrepreneurs who at one point were part of an exit worth more than $100 million.

This isn’t a post to pick on one particular PR agency. The occasion was hardly an isolated incident.

In this post, I’ll answer the question: “What will make a reporter almost immediately pitch your pitch?”

  1. Take your time getting to the point, assuming I have plenty of time to read your flowery language.
  2. Don’t offer an interview with a CEO and instead say I can speak with a marketer (which, by the way, is rare for a startup to actually be able to afford).
  3. Tell me you are the “Uber” of anything – unless you’re pulling in millions of dollars of revenue, have millions of users and have revolutionized an industry.
  4. Tell me you’re a “solution.” I hate that word.

The relationship between a reporter and a startup entrepreneur should not be a contentious one.

But, understand, while your exciting news is the greatest thing to you at that moment, the reporter’s focus is to tell a story that is going to engage readers.

The unspoken transaction there, of course, is as more people read the story, more people see your product/company.

That’s a win-win.

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