How to Approach the Media at Web Summit w/ Yaniv Feldman

Journalists from all  over the world will be at Web Summit – Have a look at some of the best here

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Feldman-YanivYaniv Feldman is a Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Geektime, one of the largest tech news sites in the world. Yaniv has been covering the Startups and Venture Capital industry around the world for over 5 years and knows exactly how a Startup should approach the media at tech conferences. Here we ask him about some of the major dos and don’ts that Startups should consider for Web Summit:

What is important for a Startup to do ahead of Web Summit or any event to get publicity?

I would recommend to try and map the writers/bloggers who are relevant for the field the company is in and try to see which of those reporters are coming to the conference. Later on, I would try and contact them in advance, and pitch them a story with an opportunity to interview or just casual conversation during the conference.

What is the best way to pitch a story to a journalist?

There are plenty of articles on the subject that I would recommend including:
http://markmhendrickson.com/post/6
http://venturebeat.com/2011/01/24/pitch-to-tech-bloggers/
http://thenextweb.com/us/2010/02/25/write-killer-email-pitch-blogger/
http://mixergy.com/how-to-pitch-your-story-to-a-blogger-with-brad-mccarty/
http://jasonlbaptiste.com/featured-articles/how-i-pitched-techcrunch-and-13-ways-to-get-press-when-you-launch-your-startup/
http://buzzsumo.com/blog/pitch-journalist-tips-techcrunch-ny-times/

How do you get a story or brand to resonate?

That depends on your audience goal. Whether you are aiming to get discovered by potential investors, potential users or potential partners, you need to target your message accordingly. If you aim to get investors, then your story will need to focus on stuff that interests investors such as the size of the problem/market, your potential vs. the competition and so on. If you are looking for potential partners, your story should be about your offering and how it can help partners who choose to work with you – the story should also appear in publications that are relevant to the industry in which your Startup is operating, and your potential partners would be reading.

How do I get organic publicity for my company?

It’s the same as asking how do I make an app or a video go viral. You just can’t predict something like that in advance.
You can, however, try to emulate some of the stuff that have made previous stories in your industry go big.
You can also create a lot of relevant industry content such as opinion pieces and analyses, both for your own blog or through guest posts on larger outlets such as Geektime.

Should you be engaged with a PR agency to drive your companies profile?

That depends. There is no right or wrong answer to this one and it depends on your own people skills and writing skills. Basically, the press always reacts better to people we know (although most journalists will always say they prefer to get pitched by founders than PR agencies). Meaning, if you have enough money and lack the time and/or the skills to create those connections, then using a PR firm would be a wise choice.

What are key factors that journalists look for when interviewing start up companies?

First of all, they are looking for something different. they are looking for something that would be interesting to their audience and make them feel they are getting real value from reading the story.

Second, they would look for evidence of the company’s stability and growth as no one really wants to write about a Startup the shuts down after a couple of months (although these things do happen from time to time). From here on, it depends on the writer and the outlet they are writing for. Some pay attention to the product, some pay more attention to the competition and the market, some pay attention to the financing. If you research well enough before you approach a particular outlet/journalist, you should know what is the angle they are interested in and how a story they would write about you would appear.

How can a Startup build lasting relationships with journalists at the event?

Don’t be afraid to approach journalists, we are just normal people like you. Give us your quick pitch and why we should be interested in your company, let us know if there is any way you can be of help to us (you know people and can connect, you can help us get scoops on big stories, etc) and move on. Don’t linger too much as there are always other people who are waiting to do just the same and deserve the same time and attention you are getting 🙂

Give an example of a bad pitch

A pitch with too many buzzwords (Innovative, Disruptive, First ever, genuine, etc) after/before every other word is pretty bad. Also, a pitch that a plain person* could read and still not understand what the company/product is doing is very bad. *I am talking about a person from the street, not the audience for your product.

Give an example of a good or innovative pitch

Shouldn’t be more than two paragraphs. Explain who you are and what you want from me on the first paragraph. Explain about the company and why should I care about you in the second one.

Attach links to images and videos, website, and more information in case I am interested in hearing more (preferably no attachments).

That’s my personal preference, but each writer like their’s a little bit different.

Have a look at 250 Journalists Attending Web Summit

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