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Start-ups: Get Ready to Meet the Press

Do yourself (and your investors) a favor and don’t be that guy or gal. I’m talking about the founder or CEO who assumes their latest accomplishment, no matter how big it is in their head, is newsworthy. Trust me when I tell you that no one, and I mean no one, loves your company as much as you do. At least not yet.

Journalists are inundated with boring, irrelevant and overblown pitches from start-ups. It's not press-worthy enough to launch a company. Journalists want to know that their ink is being spent on something that will be generate interest and make them look good. That’s not so different from investors, really.

Here are the things reporters want to know before they show interest in your story:

What is your product or service?

In simple lay terms, what does your product do? What proof do you have that your product or service solves a problem or fulfills a need? A smart PR partner will help you prepare a one-page fact sheet that outlines the user experience and key features of your product/service.

What makes it special?

Why does your business exist? What problem(s) are you solving? What are you doing better than everyone else?

This is your moment to shine. Be ready to explain in three sentences why your offering is better and why you will capture the market share you need to be successful.

What proof do you have that it will live up to your claims?

What have you done to validate your offering? Do you have numbers that show actual demand or usage?

How big is this opportunity?

How big is the market your company is addressing? Show your numbers. A reporter wants to know there is an audience for your story and that it has longevity.

Who’s on your team?

A company is only as good as its people. Do you have a co-founder? What makes your team special? How did you attract them? What is their background? Do any of them have interesting and relevant stories?

Who is on your board and/or advisory board? Remember these members often bring cache to your business and may give reporters reason to look a little closer.

Who is your competition?

Everyone has competition. If you don’t know who yours is, work with a PR firm to help you figure it out. Before you meet with a reporter, you will need one slide that outlines your competition and their product/service differentiators.

How is your business funded now, and how will that change in the next few years?

Are you self-funded? How much have you raised? What round of funding are you seeking now? What will you do with the money (e.g., hire staff, research and development, new office space)?

What’s the payback period?

What’s your timeline for turning a profit? Have you tested your offering and revenue plan with beta clients?

Why are you located where you are?

Why did you pick the city you are in to grow your company? What's compelling about the location? Do you have an office/warehouse? What are the numbers (e.g., square footage, lease period, room for growth, staff)?

What’s your story?

Is there anything interesting about the name of your company or offering? What inspired you to start your business? How did you and your co-founder come together? When did you realize there was a need for your business? Don’t be shy. Tell the story behind your business.

This may seem like a lot of questions, but in the end, journalists will appreciate how press-ready you are. Need help getting ready to meet the press? Contact us for more information.

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