In building a startup, it is axiomatic that the media plays a powerful role in informing, educating and ultimately shaping public perception.
Yet it is common practice to see startups operate in media isolation.
At the Startup Port Harcourt Week 2017, a special session was dedicated to discussing the role of media in building startups and how founders can better engage with the media. A lean budget, lack of know-how and time, were the most frequently heard reasons why media engagement was at a record low.
Taking proactive steps to solve the low media engagement challenge, Netopps (organisers of Startup Port Harcourt Week) partnered with Techative and Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), to organize a media workshop to teach startups how to better engage media and boost their profile.
The workshop which held on Friday 9th February, 2018, at the PIND Economic Development Center in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, had practical sessions facilitated by seasoned media personalities.
The ‘Importance of and Power of Telling Our Story’ was handled by Head Content Developer & Editor at Metamorph Publications, Jennifer Enyeanya.
In her presentation ‘Why Startups Should Tell their Story’, Jennifer, who is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, took us to school on how to tell convincing stories that inspire as well as evoke emotions. “Every pitch about your startup is a story and the best stories are compelling and purposeful” she said.” Can your story raise the hair at the back of people’s arms?”
Renowed Radio Show Host at Nigeria Info 92.3 FM, Enoh ‘Enigmatic’ Ogbevire, emphasized the power of radio and it’s listening audience in her lecture “Pitching for Radio”. “Majority of Nigerians are still very traditional hence radio as a platform has one of the largest followings.” she said. A major takeaway from her conversational session was for founders to think value first when pitching for radio.
A single picture, they say, speaks of a thousand words and more. Mathew Smart, PIND’s Media for Development Officer, was on hand to give practical tips on storytelling via pictures. “What message do I want to pass across with this picture?” should be a recurring question and it shapes what techniques and settings to employ in photography.
After a short tea break and networking, yours truly talked about “Pitching to an Online Media Platform”. Emphasis was placed on the need to keep your pitch simple and interesting. This is because the online audience, which is mostly populated by millennials, has a short attention span. I also outlined the technicalities of writing a press release and how to craft a convincing and newsworthy story.
The social media expert Eze Wodu, of the popular Twitter handle, TouchPh, delivered insights on “How to Make Your Story Trend on Social Media”. “Hashtags are great to use, but use wisely as it could make or break your campaign” he said.
And wrapping up the sessions, Ebenezer Wikina, NDLink Project Analyst at PIND said there are two major ways to getting your story out on international media platforms; by sending a pitch to the organization or becoming a columnist. In his own lecture titled “Pitching to International Media Platforms”, Ebenezer who is a contributor for The Huffington Post, said in pitching, “use global context for your story as this is more appealing to them and always avoid printers devil by checking for grammatical errors”.
Feedback from participants at the workshop showed that they better understood the power of media as a gateway to reaching target audience, why they had low engagement on social media platforms, technical know how on pitching to different media platforms amongst others.