9 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Approaching The Media

9 Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Approaching The Media

by Michelle Colon-Johnson

Publicity is a great way for an entrepreneur to establish credibility for their brand and products. In today’s world where everyone is trying to get their message heard, publicity continues to be one of the number one strategies that can catapult entrepreneurs into success.

Every day, the media is approached by millions of people who want to share their message with the world, but sadly only a few will get noticed by a journalist, reporter, producer or radio host. The ones that get noticed are the ones that have learned what to do and what not to do.

Getting publicity is a craft. Not only is it a craft, but there is a method that one must follow when reaching out to the media if they want to get their message heard. “Remember, the difference between marketing and publicity is that you pay for marketing and publicity is earned.” Here are nine common mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid making.


1. Not Building Relationships

The media gets pitched hundreds of pitches each day. Approaching them without first building a relationship gives you a 50/50 chance of them even opening your emails. Bob Burg, the coauthor of The Go-Giver, says: “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”  You move your chances from 50% to 100% if you take the chance to build a relationship with the media ahead of time.


2. Asking Too Soon

Once you build relationships, remember not to ask the media for too much, too soon. Nothing scares them away faster or makes them run for the hills quicker than a new contact firing away requests soon after they meet them. Relationships take time. Take the time to earn their trust, learn more about your contact, and ask what you first can do for them.


3. Pitching Irrelevant Content

The media already has in mind the story that they want to write about. You have to know what to pitch to them and what they think is relevant to their platform. Requesting that a journalist who normally writes about fiction to write about nonfiction is a sure ways to get you blacklisted from that particular journalist’s platform. Sometimes–depending on their mood–can also get you blacklisted in their circle of influence.


4. Failure To Do Research

The more you understand about the media and their platforms, the more likely they are to respond to your requests. This is as simple as a Google Search. A Google Search will tell you what social media platforms they are on and what they are talking about on each platform. Their website will give you a feel for what is relevant to their audience.


5. Following Guidelines

The worst thing you can do when reaching out to the media is to not follow their guidelines. The media is not a one size fits all platform. Each host, producer, blogger, journalist, or reporter will have their set of guidelines you will need to follow. For those who fail to take the time to know each and every person’s guideline they are approaching, you are setting yourself up for rejection, or better yet, crickets.


6. Sending Attachments

One of the big mistakes a contributor continues to make is sending attachments. The media is not going to open your email unless they have requested you to send an attachment and especially not at the beginning of your relationship. Would you open an attachment from a stranger?


7. Hyper Linking Submissions

Some do not know that when submitting an article you should not hyperlink your content. The editors and media will either do this for you, or they will request you do so. Instead, place the full address in the body of the email as such: http://melissas27.sg-host.com/.


8. Arrogance and Entitlement

Too many entrepreneurs feel a sense of entitlement and think that they deserve to be written up on any platform they set their sights on. Unfortunately, no matter how BIG you think you are, or even how big you may be, the publicity world has changed. It has changed to the method of you now have to do your time and prove yourself. Arrogance will not be tolerated, and entitlement is obsolete. You earn publicity by providing noteworthy content and by following the rules. Leave your egos at the door and do a check up from the neck up.


9. Failing To Show Gratitude

This last step amazes me more than any of the others. Showing gratitude to those who publish your work, interview you, and write about you is the most obvious thing that one should do, but yet, the most overlooked. Send a thank you card, tweet about them. I have even sent flowers.

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Make people feel good about doing business with you!



Michelle Colon-JohnsonMichelle Colon-Johnson is the Founder of 2 Dream Productions, Inc. Michelle is a 5-time stage 4 cancer survivor who created a company to help others live their dreams; it is through others that she gets to live her own. Join her at http://michellecolonjohnson.com and on Facebook and  Twitter.

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