Questions to answer before you talk to a journalist

Edited excerpt from a Facebook update by WSJ startup reporter Lora Kolodny; I’ve excerpted what I view as the key questions:

Dear Founders,

Here are ten questions I’d like you to be able to answer candidly and accurately if you’re pitching me to write a story about you or your company.

1. (a) What service do you provide, or what product do you make and sell? (b) Who needs this most? (Please explain it, simply, as if you’re telling this to a classroom full of high school students, not a room full of VCs, peers or consultants.)
2. Who are your key customers or constituents, now? Who will they be in three years?
3. Define your competitive set, please. Now, how do you distinguish yourself from the competition if you are different than they are?
4. Why do customers or constituents like you or come back to you?
10. Are you solving problems for your industry, for society, the world? Which problems? How come nobody solved those problems before? Or if they did, why didn’t it work?

Lora

Notes:
(1) If your pitch isn’t clear, your strategy isn’t clear, because conversations about messaging are really about strategy.
(2) For that reason, compare this to: (i) Building a valuable product — a checklist of questions to answer and (ii) Clarifying your strategy using a simple template.
(3) Re. “Please explain it, simply, as if you’re telling this to a classroom full of high school students, not a room full of VCs, peers or consultants.” Reminds me of “I received emails so obtuse, vague, and laden with jargon, I couldn’t understand what I was being pitched on” from How to pitch your story to a journalist.

One thought on “Questions to answer before you talk to a journalist

  1. Pingback: Documenting your product-market fit hypotheses | A Founder's Notebook

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