Last year during the Web Summit, I wandered around the exhibition area and wondered why many of the exhibitors wanted to talk to me.
It then dawned on me that my ID badge was color coded as “press,” the first year I had attended as such. Pretty soon, I was walking around with my wrist band hidden up a sleeve.
It was a tough reaction from someone who had just spent a lot of time fighting to get in front of potential investors — to pitch my idea!
The problem I ran in to was that there was too much. Too many people with too many wares and not enough time to sort through them.
While some startups may have been interesting to others, they were of little interest to me.
So it was interesting to see how two of the pros handle this deluge of people competing for their attention.
Fleisher recently gave some tips on how to hack a journalist to the Web Summit crew. Butcher, meanwhile, has posted videos and slides (below) on how to deal with the tech media.
Rather than repeat everything they said, I pulled three themes common to both journalists.
Do your homework: Fleisher, who is based in London, said there is no point in a Berlin-based business approaching her when the WSJ has a Berlin office.
Butcher agreed. “Target the right title and the right writer,” he said. Influential online-only sites are followed closely by the print press. A mention in TechCrunch could be followed up elsewhere later on.
Butcher said to think about what is newsworthy about your company. “The fact that you exist is not news,” he said.
Do you have a great product? Competition, drama, gossip are all key components of any good story, he said.
You do the work to save them time: Journalists will get hundreds of unsolicited emails and phone calls a week.
Are you being clear and direct? Butcher said emails should come in plain text, not as attachments.
Fleisher likes to see where people are from/based, if they have funding and how much, and a short description of their product. “It’s just about providing short, succinct information,” she said.
Butcher suggested bullet points of funding, backers, customers, etc.
Build relationships with the media: Your pitch may not make the front page of the Wall Street Journal, but you could be approached later when your industry is being covered.
Fleisher recalled how she met the owner of an IT consulting firm at a conference. They established a “really good rapport,” he gave her his details and he stayed in touch.
She would later call him for comment on a story on work-life balance.
Butcher suggested networking and blogging. “Don‟t be a leech. Network. Get noticed,” he said. And echoing Fleisher’s advice, he said, “Be a great contact.”
Images taken from Web Summit website.