Choosing an angle for your story

Your first thought when you wake up is about your company. Your last thought before you fall asleep is about your company. This is what you eat, sleep and breathe. Conveying that passion to reporters is an important part of your communications strategy, but finding the best ways to convey this passion is sometimes difficult

When you are writing a pitch for the press, you must keep your audience in mind. Reporters are sensitive to the key-performance-indicators of user engagement and page views, but they also want to tell a story that's authentic. No news-outlet wants to copy-paste marketing literature to their readership, but they will gladly print a story if it has a compelling angle that helps tell the story of technology

Don’t Try to Sell!

Even though the purpose of your public relations push is, ostensibly, to bring in revenue for your company through increased attention and sales, your outreach to reporters isn’t a time to sell to consumers. Reporters are experts at seeing through sales pitches, and they expect a little more from an article that is going to be published in a major outlet.

Appeal to Emotions

Even if your facts are singularly compelling, they don’t make for an interesting story when they are laid out without context or emotional appeal. A powerful angle plays on the emotions of your readers, while still being honest and forthright. At the same time, overly dramatic appeals to emotion that are not backed up with fact – like the scare-mongering crime statistics used in some home security company ads – can turn your audience off and decrease the reliability of your brand message.

Finding your Angle

Let’s imagine a startup that has created a mobile application that allows farmer’s market customers to remotely order from their favorite vendors so their orders are waiting for them when they show up to the market. There's basically four types of angles that you can develop.

1. How does your technology help your audience?

  • The Town of Greensboro, NC used Appiculture to network their local farmer’s market to more than 10,000 local consumers. Surveyed farmers claimed that the app has led to 20% increases in their sales, and a 50% increase in repeat business.
  • By using Appiculture, customers are able to increase the amount of fresh produce in their diets without relying on GMO and off-season produce from their supermarkets.
  • The average user of apiculture saves more than two hours every week by ordering produce ahead of time before arriving at the farmer’s market for pickup.

2. Interesting Facts

  • Farmers on Appiculture make an average of $41,000 during the typical season
  • Farmers markets in the United States supply almost 20% of the fresh produce consumed by the American household.

3. Future Plans

Remember, when you use future-plan information in your pitches, you must only include publically available information (or information that you want to become public) since you should never send undisclosable information to media outlets to avoid unnecessarily complicating your media requests.

  • Starting in 2015, Appiculture will be opening its membership to flea markets in two test cities – with plans to open up to craft markets and flea markets nationwide by 2016.
  • Appiculture hired more than fifteen new developers in 2014, with plans to expand to a new headquarters in Duluth, MN in Q3. Validation from Market/Competitors
  • The United States Department of Agriculture claims that more than 38 new farmer’s markets have opened up this year, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. (Appiculture)

4. Interesting Background of Investors or Founders

  • Bob Smith, founder of Appiculture, initially created the app to serve the 30 members of his own CSA – but he realized the potential in the broader national market after being contacted by dozens of other local farmers to license the app platform.

What Makes a Great Angle?

The best angles for Startup PR are the ones that immediately relate the startup to an existing problem that is faced by the readers of the publication.

For example, there are some problems that nearly everyone faces – making the pitch very compelling. Even if your startup does something relatively obscure, find a way to relate the benefits of your product to customers by explaining how it could reduce stress, reduce environmental impact, etc. Think about what motivates you every day and see if you can take that passion and funnel it into your pitch.