Skip to content

Media Training for Startups: Q&A

On August 29th, Sarah Rice (Head of Communications, MXit) gave a talk entitled "Media Training for Startups" for the Silicon Cape. This was followed by a Q&A with Sarah and Michelle Atagana of Memeburn. Below are my notes from Michelle's session. Additional items from Sarah are marked SR. (My notes from Sarah's talk)

  • Venture Burn receives a lot of Press Releases and submissions to their Startup Questionnaire.
    • if you submit the questionnaire, you must be ready now!
    • answer the questions correctly, clearly, and simply.
  • There are three core questions for startups:
    • What's your business model?
    • What do you do, in one sentence? (SR: can be short. Four words is okay.).
    • Who are your competition?
      • Saying there is none is kidding yourself.
      • SR: alternative way to frame the question is: who's taking my money if I'm not getting it?
      • If your business is similar to another, what is your unique spin?

Press Releases

  • The first paragraph of your Press Release must grab the reader.
  • Ditch the buzzwords.
  • How are you making money? It's all about making money! Keep it simple.
  • SR: understand that, as a startup, you're low status. No need to grovel, but be open, honest, and humble.
  • Sarah's point of "Don't be an asshole": very important! Always ask nicely.
  • Journalists are stressed, they have too much work to do.
  • Don't expect them to remember you: they meet a lot of people!
  • Give journalists time to read, think, and write about your story. Don't pressure them, and do not go behind their back to their boss.
  • SR: if you follow up, be nice. Ask for feedback.
  • SR: Have a small list of people to send a Press Release to.
  • When they receive a Press Release, they'll re-angle it for their audience, find back up info, and make it into a story.
  • Memeburn is a tech web site: they want tech news.
  • Keep the tech as simple as possible. Let the journalist "tech it up" for their audience as they see appropriate.
  • Keep it under 400 words.