Why your big idea needs media

You are an inventor, an entrepreneur, a game changer – and your big idea’s going to change the WORLD!

Only problem? There are a limited number of sprockets your friends and family are willing to purchase.

The solution? Media.

We know, we know – FAKE NEWS. But not this time.

Coming up with a solution, a shortcut, a simpler sprocket is definitely the most challenging hurdle to overcome as an entrepreneur, but without the eyeballs of the world you’ll find yourself shouting into space. The Canberra Innovation Network offers a number of workshops for those at the start of their sprocket’s journey, including Idea to Impact, Selling to Grow, and Raising Capital and Negotiating Terms among others, all with one thing in common – a focus on customer conversations. And once your sprocket’s ready to market, the easiest way to attract new customers is through the press (both traditional and digital).

Welcome to the media release – long the scourge and sustenance of journalists, the bulwark of PR pros and often debated pro forma of the business world, the ideal media release is similar to the perfect pet – we’ve each got the best one at home and can’t explain exactly why. There are rules meant to be broken and those that are sacrosanct, and if this is your first foray into the world of the release we’re sure a bit of guidance could go a long way.

The rules

Every editor, journo and PR person has their own preferences. But a few things are universal. Every press release should:

  • Be topical (no one cares about old news)
  • Be one page (no one will read more than that)
  • Include a quote or two (ideally from someone available for an interview)
  • Include hyperlinks (to your site and to original imagery available for publication, along with credit information)
  • Be sent to a focussed list, and personalised (if your sprocket is a bit of satellite software and you send it “To Whom It May Concern at Guns & Ammo Magazine” expect a “block sender” rather than a “tell me more, sprocket guru!”)
  • Be written for the audience it hopes to reach (sticking with the satellite software example, your announcement to the CSIRO newsroom will use very different language than the same pitch to Kyle and Jackie O, who may still be interested in your sprocket but will need you to spell things out with simpler language)
  • Include a call to action

If you’re able to sum up your sprocket in line with the above bullets, you’re onto something good! So long as your format is standard (start with a bold headline, follow it with a couple paragraphs of solid, sizzling info, and end with a call to action and clear contact info) and your font isn’t offensive, consider yourself good to go.

The next challenge is landing on …

Who to delight or annoy with your message

Focus on the editors of publications interested in sprockets like yours, journalists on the sprocket beat, and the media you and your peers consume (podcasts as well as papers, mags as well as websites, influencers as well as institutions). Thankfully it is easy to find most any media person or media-savvy individual’s digital details, and with a slightly specific pitch a release will be happily received.

Of course it could be received with radio silence, but that’s not always a bad thing.

Recently we hosted a PR & Media 101 webinar (YouTube link here) and publishers and PRs gave valuable insight on approaching outlets and piggybacking your idea on a news cycle. Participants were into it!

  • Attending the PR 101 event online was convenient and having access to the panel of experienced public relations practitioners made the hour valuable.
  • It is a fabulous meeting. Experienced marketing professionals share insights of their communication strategies. Use of simple terms and real-life examples engage with all audience at different skill levels.

We also facilitat a free workshop with amazing presenters from radio, the web and print and in addition to allowing entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask our panel tricky questions, we talked a lot about finding the right audience.

CBRIN is focussed on presenting useful tutorials and workshops such as this one on an ongoing basis for Canberra-based innovators, creators and game changers. So join us for the next one!