“Man Bites Dog” is the advice you get from Mike Butcher, Editor At Large at TechCrunch, when you ask him how to best engage with the press. He’s got a point. Let me explain…
First off: Working with the press (and I use the term very loosely here — for me this includes bloggers, social media and pretty much every other form of story telling for an existing audience) is an incredibly powerful way to get your story out there. For a cash-strapped startup it is most likely one of the best and most cost-effective ways to reach an early-adopter target audience.
Now. Let’s clarify something: The press needs you. They need your story. They have an audience to feed. You are their lifeblood. As much as they might appear like king makers living in a castle on a very tall hill behind very heavy doors — they need you at least as much as you need them. So don’t be intimidated.
But — You need to give them something which is worth their time. And that’s where the man bites the dog. Nobody cares about a story reciting for the n-th time that a dog has bitten a man. That’s old news. Not worth telling. Nobody cares (other than the man and possibly the dog). And that’s exactly what happens with way to many startups: They are so stuck in their own heads that they think their awesome 15th Angry Birds clone startup which received $20,000 investment from uncle Joe is worth talking about. It is not. You are a dog and you just bit the man.
Create a story which is worth talking about. Did you overcome some crazy stuff to do what you do? Great! Are you doing something which nobody (genuinely) has done before? Awesome! Are you 14 and this is your third startup? Incredible!
Whatever it is — it must be news. The press will gladly help you if you give them something worth their time. Man bites Dog.