Media Advice For Entrepreneurs And Others - InformationWeek
Mobile // Mobile Applications
09:49 AM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul

Media Advice For Entrepreneurs And Others

How to get your company noticed -- advice from a journalist, a professor, an analyst, and a flack.

How to get your company noticed -- advice from a journalist, a professor, an analyst, and a flack.A couple hundred people -- mostly young and starry-eyed, but with all ages represented -- gathered in an auditorium at the Stanford Business School to hear a panel called Be Careful What You Wish For: Getting Media Attention For Your Company as part of Stanford's Entrepreneurship Week. The advice we heard is equally applicable to many small and midsize companies.

Forrester Research VP Charlene Li told us to avoid unrealistic expecations from media coverage, and pointed out that "not every company should be on the cover of everything." Li suggested attendees should ask themselves how publicity will actually serve their companies.

Li reads at least the subject line of all her email, so titles matter, she says. But to get her attention, you need to tell her "something I don't know" of "this is the problem you're going to solve, and this is how you're going to solve it." If you do get a briefing with her, keep it short and too the point.

Journalist Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief of Forbes lightened the mood by asking, "Entrepreneur Week at Stanford Business School, isnt that like violence week at the Mafia? Isn't that what you are doing all the time?"

Hardy gets 150 to 200 pitches a day: "It's a freakin' firehose all the time," he complained. Fortunately, he's good at deleting emails. For a small company to break through the clutter and get his attention, Hardy suggests speaking at a conference and saying something that gets noticed by people he respects.

Just don't tell him that your fancy new startup doesn't have any competitors. "If a guy says he doesn't have any competitors," Hardy said, "I think he's clueless."

The moderator, Stanford journalism professor Ann Grimes, chimed in with the hope that companies will write better email pitches and press releases . She sees too many "written in 'anguish' instead of English."

Finally, PR professional Reema Bahnasy, senior VP of Outcast Communications, advised companies looking for media coverage "to have opinions, take a position, don't be like everyone else." But she warned publicity hounds to ready for anything. Journalists "can smell fear," she said.

It's true, we can. It smells like chicken.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll