10 Media Tips for Entrepreneurs

By Amanda Lewan on March 25th, 2014 / Comments

I’ve spoken with hundreds of founders and CEOs, some just starting off, others with billions in their bank account.

Most of the interviews go over really nicely, often people enjoy sharing their stories and talking about their business. An interview with any media is a great chance to spread *good* news of your company around. Yet there are plenty of entrepreneurs, of all ages, some with millions in investments behind them that could still take a few tips on how to pitch and present to media.

The last thing an entrepreneur wants to do is burn bridges or get caught saying the wrong thing online. It spreads and it looks bad to investors and other professionals.

Here are ten tips for speaking with the media.  Keep the media on your good side, and use it to help spread awareness when you need it most. It will pay off in the long run.

1. Be helpful to the journalist. Whether it’s a small blogger or CNN reporter, think of what kind of story they actually care about. Know a bit about their work or at least their media outlet. Be responsive when you do hear back and be respectful of their time. Wouldn’t you want someone to be considerate of yours? You’ll stand out and be a great source for any future stories.

2. Prepare some answers, but be authentic. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Know the few talking points you want to cover, and be ready for any curve balls that might get thrown. If you’re authentic, especially on camera, people will notice and connect with you more. It’s a balance but one that can work out. Journalists know when you’re putting on a media face, and we known when you’re being honest and real. Most importantly, the audience will want to see the latter.

3. Don’t name call competition. Really, don’t do this. It doesn’t help you much. Instead, you risk reporters or media outlets grabbing this quote and using it against you. It’s okay to talk about how you stand out or what you’re hoping to do better, but why throw yourself under the bus in the process?

4. Watch what you say on social media, too. The first thing a writer will do if they aren’t familiar with your work is Google you. Guess what comes up? It’s another one of those friendly reminders. Anyone can easily quote, pull, and publish linking to your Twitter or Blog.

5. Remember that everything you say is on the record. If you grab a drink after the interview, or are moving onto a touchy subject matter, remember that you are still speaking to a journalist. It might feel like friendly conversation but you have to remember why you’re speaking to this person in the first place.

6. Think about building relationships. If you want to be in the media more often, build a relationship with the different outlets and journalists. Follow them on twitter and share other work they publish. Thank them and invite them to events. It can help.

7. Have your team ready to share. Online publications often rely heavily on traffic. Keep this in mind, and prepare to share the story if you have a following. It’s the polite thing to do in our world of social media.

8. Make appropriate and sparse connections. Once you’ve been interviewed, don’t go back and email this reporter over and over again. Reporters are deadline driven, and should be asked about a story before given email introductions to your friend who wants an interview.  This goes back to point number one. How would you want to be connected to?

9. Don’t have too many asks. Whether it’s a written pitch in an email, or what you’d like the publication to do with the story, focus on just one ask. Are you asking for a story? Are you asking for sharing your kickstarter video? Are you asking to hold off a few days on the story? Just stick with one request and keep it simple. The media isn’t working for you.

10. Say thank you. Why? Because it’s the polite thing to do and helps build relationships with the person you just spoke with.

Image via Flickr.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.