How to Pitch the Press

Guy Kawasaki blogged about this panel put on by Redfin on the topic of startups pitching the press.  It’s an hour-long video (so grab a cup of coffee), but helpful in addressing the issues small companies wrestle with when trying to get press coverage.  Panelists include TechCrunch, WSJ and others.  It’s nice to see the tables turned on journalists where they’re having to *answer* questions!  Some of my favorite bits include:

  • Journalist: "PR companies suck the life blood out of startups."
  • If you get asked a question you don’t want to answer, like "what is your revenue?" respond in one of two ways: (1) be straight, e.g. "I can’t comment on that right now, but I can tell you how big and how fast this market is growing…" or (2) if appropriate, ask if you can answer the question "on background" (as opposed to "off the record").  On background means that the fact can be used if corroborated by someone else, but not attributed to you.
  • What happens if you misspeak and say something silly or absurd?  You beg for a retraction and you definitely do it personally (i.e. don’t send in your PR firm to clean up your mess).