Errors that Entrepreneurs Make when they Talk to a Journalist

Entrepreneurs who contact the media informing about their existence and about the disruptive solution that they are carrying or have just launched.

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Entrepreneurs who contact the media informing about their existence and about the disruptive solution that they are carrying or have just launched. The practice is fine and, as a rule, it is something that is appreciated. But what happens when you find yourself in situations like these?

The anonymity of the sources is preserved here so as not to hurt sensitivities, but the conclusions that are drawn correspond to real cases and situations that, as in this one, we suppose that one lives too often in all the newsrooms. They usually contact by email and present themselves as entrepreneurs who are developing a business or have just launched it, often “unique”. Up here fine. Both parties come out winning. But sometimes it happens that when the journalist responds to the demand and contacts the interested party, he takes surprises of the following type:

  • You only have an idea. You have identified a problem and you have come up with a way to solve it. The least is that it is own or a replica because the determinant is the execution. For that reason answers like: “that we still have to see it”, when they are asked by the ways of entrance or “our model of business consists in propiciar the healthy life” do not stop surprising.
  • I do not want my name to appear. “I do not want the name to come out because I’m waiting for a job offer that I would like to make compatible with this project. It hurts me to go out in the media “. Comments like this are more frequent than you might expect. The editor always has the option of attributing the declarations to generic sources “according to the company”, or “the founders say”, but also the doubt arises about whether or not to sign with his own name a content that does not give the face or the original source.
  • I’m not interested in this coming out. Another common practice is to provide the journalist with complete information to situate him in context and provide him with a broad view of the subject. The problem comes when you begin to limit, from everything said, what is publishable and what is not. “This does not interest me to leave”, is usually the warning, ignoring that the priority point of view for an editor should be the reader and, well, sometimes also the medium for which he works. But consider what interests the reporting company has another name.
  • When what concerns is only the personal brand: “Restless and passionate, very thoughtful and with participative will … perfection, order and rigor define it and lead it to doctorate in …” It is the real extract of the presentation of an entrepreneur who seemed to have confused the Infojobs email address.
  • You are going to send me the text before publishing it, right? Also a quite usual approach. In certain cases the distrust can be understood if it is a complex development or a sensitive or highly controversial issue, but it does not always coincide with the applicant’s profile. A few journalists like to write dictation, or the source or advertising orders, although in this second case reservations are made. A solution for those who do not end up trusting the ability of the editor to understand and transmit what they want could be to produce their own text or a press release with clear explanations, then giving the journalist the power to adapt it to the medium. Not the other way around
  • We do not have a photo: It is true that until a few years ago it was normal to send a photographer or photojournalist to take photos of the interviewees. However, as a result of the proliferation of digital media, the custom of requesting photos from the protagonists of the information has been imposed. Most have some to share with the media that request it, but there are also who contact without having foreseen this need. The immediate reaction is usually to gather the part of the equipment that is at hand and pull the phone, a practice not recommended as an image of the company. Better is this other formula: “If you are interested I would love to send you more information. We have a press release and graphic material prepared for you. You can contact me through the mail… and the number… “.
  • You have the agenda too tight: Well that you do not launch to answer the phone at the first tone and that every entrepreneur, like any other, must prioritize the tasks of the day. But sometimes it catches the attention that, after receiving the mail of presentation, costs so much to contact with the supposed interested one and to agree an hour. In the end it seems that the order of interests is reversed. “You already tell me one day and one hour to reserve a space in my schedule and do the interview.”

When you are a communication agency and the client is not very cooperative: It is not always the entrepreneurial team that takes the initiative to contact the media. Some with more resources delegate this work in specialized communication agencies that act as intermediaries between the client and the different publications. Being in the middle is not an easy task, but there are those who insist on complicating it even more. We refer to those clients few collaborators who do not finish postponing date and time of the interviews already arranged, who want the questionnaire in advance, even if it is the first time that the journalist hears about that company, or that they send out a questionnaire too lightly. Take this following example:

  • Question: “Main crimes that can be committed and legal gaps that exist in (a specific sector) and what could imply each of them”
  • Response: “The question is not well formulated because the fact that not all (companies in that sector) are regulated does not mean that they can commit crimes”
  • Question: “Who would be the most affected?”
  • Response: “Those affected would be third parties harmed as a result of an incorrect professional error”.

When you do not have the patience to explain what you do. Journalists often say they know everything and are masters of nothing. It is true that it is impossible to be up-to-date with all the topics, that is why among its qualities should be to know how to locate good sources. In most cases, the quality of an article does not reside in the virtuosity of the editor, but in the source, the teacher in this case, and their ability to transmit and communicate the key content. The abuse of technicalities, anglicisms and special jargon does not help communication either.

Inconsistency with the theme of the publication. Yes, emails of all kinds arrive, from film premieres to the election of the best album of the year according to a “mythical and veteran room.”