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Posts tagged Shark Tank

PR Lessons I Learned from ‘Shark Tank’

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14175093191_9c5cffdf72_bHi, my name is Savannah, and I’m addicted to Shark Tank. I watch old episodes, new episodes and Beyond the Tank. At least one TV in our house is turned to CNBC to catch reruns at all times. I buy products and eat at restaurants (and food trucks) solely based on their involvement with Shark Tank. In short, I am an addict.

While Shark Tank helps force me to think creatively — and always makes me wonder what my million-dollar idea will be — I started to realize over time that many of the show’s lessons are actually applicable to public relations. Below are my top four takeaways.

  1. A good, solid pitch is a must. Having a pitch that’s dynamic and gets to the point quickly is key in capturing the Sharks’ attention, the same way a pitch must quickly garner the interest of a journalist. It has to be just the right length while effectively conveying your message. If it’s too long or not getting to the point, you’ll lose interest. 
  1. Know your clients – their audience, competition and industry. The entrepreneurs on Shark Tank must know their business from top to bottom. Similarly, PR pros must know the ins and outs of their client’s business as if it were their own. If you don’t know your client’s target audiences, how can you create a plan to reach them effectively? If you don’t know their competition, how will you be able to differentiate them? If you don’t know their industry, how will you effectively tell their story? All of this is paramount to PR success.
  1. Confidence is key. Anyone who watches regularly knows that the entrepreneurs who enter the tank with confidence are already more likely to get a deal. Like Shark Tank, confidence can make or break you. Clients are looking to you for your expertise in PR, and if you’re unsure of yourself it shows. A PR pro that’s always second-guessing themselves and their decisions can make a client nervous, and ultimately cause them to seek other PR help. 
  1. Hire people smarter than you. It’s completely OK to admit that something isn’t your area of expertise and hire someone who knows more about something than you do. Entrepreneurs are always seeking out partnerships with Sharks who can help them with a part of business they are struggling with, whether it’s manufacturing or marketing. As the PR landscape continues to evolve, companies are going to rely on and hire experts, like social media managers, for example, who can help a company continue to expand its offerings and grow.

Five Media Relations Tips for Entrepreneurs

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by Caroline Wilbert

Mark Cuban likes to tell entrepreneurs NOT to hire PR firms, that they can just do it themselves. It is one of the tips in his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, and also something he blogs about.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Getty Images

I both agree with him — and don’t. I do think entrepreneurs who have the time and instincts can generate some good press. Considering the fact that most startups are on tight budgets, it often makes sense for entrepreneurs to give it a go. Of course, good PR people have media relationships, understand what a story is, know how to write a compelling press release and will create a comprehensive communications strategy to support an organization’s goals.

Most team members at The Wilbert Group have worked as journalists, and there’s really no way to replicate the understanding and the network that comes from years spent in newsrooms.

But for those entrepreneurs who are not yet ready to hire professional PR help, here are my five media relations tips:

#1 Read carefully the media outlets you plan to pitch. Figure out what kinds of things they typically cover. If you read enough stories by a particular journalist, you can figure out what he or she considers interesting and/or newsworthy.

#2 Try to think objectively about what makes your company interesting. Maybe you just landed a $5 million customer deal and that is a game-changer for your tech startup. However, just because something is big for your company’s bottom line doesn’t mean the media will care.

#3 Ask a journalist to lunch or coffee. Build a relationship. Introduce him to others in the startup world. Be willing to give before you get.

#4 Stop speaking in jargon. Think about how you would explain your business to someone at a cocktail party, or to your mother. That’s the kind of language you should use in a press release and a media pitch. This is particularly important, and perhaps difficult, for techie startups.

#5 Use social media as a tool for traditional media relations. Twitter is a great way to build relationships with journalists. Follow them. Retweet them. Engage with them. Once you land a story, post it on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, increasing the reach and impact of the hit.

And as for Mark Cuban, while he may not be encouraging people to hire me, I am still a fan. I never miss Shark Tank!