So you want to be a Star? How to speak to the media.

From: RushPRnews
Published: Fri Sep 16 2005

San Francisco, Montreal (rushprnews)09/15/05- You’re an Internet start-up in a rush for gold – the headline that may open the floodgates to fortune and fame. You’re financed, full of spirit and brilliant ideas. You deserve recognition for those endless hours of hard work.But unless you understand the fundamentals to good public relations, you may come across as a rank amateur to that much sought-after editor at your favorite media outlet.

After all, your first audience is the press. So, how do you present yourself and your company as polished and professional? Start with the following six steps:
Idea: In clear, concise English , do not use business jargon, describe what makes your company and services unique or at least important to the readers of the publication. Why should they care about you? What can you do for them? How is this news? Focus on new developments, the impact you will have on a specific industry, a trend or much needed solution to an ebusiness problem. Do not claim that you’re the next "Yahoo," or "Ebay." Take the opportunity and make the effort to distinguish yourself from the pack. Do not use words such as The Best, instead demonstrates what makes your company or services unique.
People: Who are the key people in management? What is their professional and educational background? OK to strategically name drop here. "Joe is a Harvard MBA, Mary came over from" The Internet industry is still new –people with a proven track record draw attention. Determine who will be the best company spokesperson for a given audience. Don't push the CFO for an interview with a marketing pub. Present someone who has a compelling story or a real industry strength.

Testimonial: Testimonies from former or present clients are very impactful. Request the clients’ permission to use their names and post their contact information. Keep the testimony no longer than three sentences and covering the four factors:, quality of work, customer service and reliability and of course repeat business.

Research: Research, research and more research. Even if you are crunched for time, it is crucial that you are familiar with the media outlet that you are approaching. Read the articles, find the writer that is interested in what you have to say and then write a compelling, one paragraph pitch letter. A journalist is deluged daily with story ideas. If you sound well-informed and genuinely interested in his beat and articles, you may very well capture his attention. Even if he doesn’t use your story idea, chances are he’ll remember you the next time.

Communicate: Start with an email, use that pitch letter. Do not send unsolicited attachments. That is THE sure way to insure that your pitch gets deleted BEFORE it even hits the screen. You may offer to send additional info after you have made initial contact with a writer or editor. Wait a few days for a response and then place a call. Be prepared to leave a voicemail. Speak slowly and be polite. Your voicemail may be a shorter version of your original pitch. Repeat your name and phone number at least twice. If you don't get a callback, and are convinced that your stuff would be great for this publication, go back to step-three and do more research to identify someone else who may be interested. Do not get in touch with the entire editorial staff. Remember that very often, reporters are all sitting next to each other in a small space. Be aggressive but be selective. Some media outlets do not accept emails, therefore use the good old fax. Same principle follow-up with a short voicemail. One more thing, NEVER, I mean never start your pitch or voicemail with, "Did you get my release?".

Follow-through: You have reached a receptive reporter/editor. You're on his radar screen and you have promised him additional information about your company, the industry or your CEO. Listen to what he has asked you and send him the specifics within 72 hours. Do not send him the same old press kit, which he most likely can find on your web site, unless that is what he has specifically requested. Respond to his needs. If you mention a WSJ article or a case study that sparked his interest, send it along – it’s a nice touch.

Build a bridge: When reaching out to the press, remember to demonstrate a solid grasp of the issues at play. Engage in meaningful dialogue about your company and industry issues. Offer yourself as a resource even when it might not benefit you directly. You will benefit in the long run. Create opportunities for ongoing updates and conversation. The best media contacts are long-term relationships. Make the effort to cultivate and maintain these connections and you give yourself the best opportunity to gain the media exposure you desire and deserve.

About the author: Anne Laszlo-Howard ( ) is the Founder of RushPRnews (, a press release and keywords marketing services agency.

Company: RushPRnews
Contact Name: Anne Laszlo-Howard
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Contact Phone: 514-523-4115

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