This week, we gear up for StartupFest, one of Canada’s leading technology conferences hosted in beautiful Montréal.
In case you’re wondering why this sounds familiar – we’ve talked about why you should be there before!
(Psst… it’s not too late to register. Skip to the bottom for a special discount code that’ll get you 10% off.)
The event has a ton of great aspects, but by far my favourite is the opportunity for startups to pitch their ideas to a wide variety of audiences, including the media, VC’s, and – wait for it – grandmothers.
Consider one of the golden rules of pitching. If you can pitch Grandma – you can pitch anyone.
You may be thinking, ‘My grandmother? she doesn’t even know how to work an iphone!’ Which is exactly the point. The key (among several others we’ll dive into later) to successfully pitching the media is to keep it simple. In an ever changing world of technology and innovation, there are a lot of big words being thrown around these days in terms of software, the internet, and applications. Heck, it’s hard for even some of us in the industry to keep up.
Which is where Grandma comes in. While Grandma might not understand SEO or how a smartphone works, she does understand the age old problem solving model.
What is the problem and how are you going to solve it?
This model has been around since the beginning of time. It led to the invention of fire and the wheel. It led to the innovation surrounding us today. Which means even if Grandma is as old as the stone-age, she will still understand the concept of recognizing a problem and working to find a solution.
This problem-solving model is crucial to any media pitch. What is the problem and how will your startup/product solve it. While it may seem tempting to offer the media everything you’ve done prior to now and everything you plan to do following your product launch, be warned. They don’t care. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it on track.
5 Key Things Grandma Wants You To Remember
Most grandparents will gladly remind you regularly that their time is running out. They will also remind you that their attention span is limited. Journalists will happily ignore you when their work time is running out and if you’ve had the pleasure of conversing over email with them, you’ll notice a similarity. Emails are short and brief.
Why? Because time is valuable. Journalists are pitched every day. On hundreds of companies, angles, and news events. The key to infiltrating the other pitches and getting recognized as significant is to keep it short.
This is the problem. This is how we solve it. Can I tell you more?
If you can keep your pitch to 3-6 strong sentences, you are more likely to receive a reply or even feedback than if you send journalists a long-winded pitch. Length should always be considered the ultimate deal-breaker. Always keep your initial pitch short and ask permission to send additional info based on their interest.
You said so yourself. Grandma doesn’t know how to navigate the iphone. Which means she probably doesn’t understand words like 3G, iOS or what Twitter integration means.
A tech journalist on the other hand probably will but that doesn’t mean you should fill your pitch email with technical terms and the fancy bells and whistles you’re about to unveil. That comes later.
We’ve already covered brevity. Now keep it simple. Address the problem and offer the solution in terms that are understandable and effective. Don’t use three words to explain or describe one. Deliver straight-forward explanations in as few words as possible.
Just like Grandma likes to personalize cards for every occasion to you, she likes to receive the same in return. Personalization is very important. Especially when pitching the media.
If you send out mass-emails that are generalized to every journalist from the eastern to western seaboards, you may as well bid your pitch adieu as it will surely land in the trash folder. Why? Because journalists can smell lack of effort and mass-production.
Always write your pitch emails to the writer of interest and research beforehand who the best writer for the job is. Address the pitch to them and if you’re sending a media release, we recommend naming the file for the writer.
In several words, address why you chose them personally to reach out to and why you think they’re the right person for the job. Don’t use fake flattery and don’t try to be their best friend.
“You cover only the best e-commerce apps – I think ours will fit into the mix nicely.”
By taking the time to add personal touches to a standard pitch you’ve drafted, it will not only make a difference when the journalist reads it but it significantly increases the odds of receiving a reply and securing coverage.
Before the internet was the go-to destination for all information and reviews, there was a little thing called Consumer Reports. Chances are your grandparents have used this handy guide as a resource at some point in their life whether it be helping with the purchase of a car or their first microwave. Why? Because people like to have facts and read testimonials.
When explaining why your product or startup is about to change the game in a big way, offer measurables. Don’t just say you’re awesome. Offer real data or stats to support your statement. Whether it be user reviews, investor testimonials or notable recognitions in the industry; mention something.
Chances are your Grandma will want to invest her hard earned retirement money into your idea. And even if it’s just the money in the cookie jar, she wants to know it is going towards value. Equally, investors and users want the same comfort. Why is your product/startup worth their money/time?
Similarly, a journalist will want to know the same. How will they benefit from covering your startup or product and more importantly, how will it benefit their readers? How will you be relevant to their audience?
An excellent time to drop your value proposition is in your opening when you address why you choose this writer in particular. This is why I’m writing to you and this is why your readers are going to care.
And one last tip? Grandma likes it when you call her. Never be afraid to pick up the phone and personally call a journalist!
It’s not too late to register for this year’s#StartupFest (July 10-13) in Montreal, and meet me! I’ll be MCing both Thursday and Friday afternoon on the Roundtable Stage – so make sure to come say hi!
To claim your 10% Discount on Tickets go here.
See you there!