Student entrepreneur and electronic engineer Simon Barker has learned a couple of lessons about media relations and is happy to share.
England Ė As you may remember I, an
electronics PhD student here in the north of England, along with partner Leonie
Cunnington, have formed Slotzz, a business that makes slipover cases for the
Apple iPad. Now read onÖ
Slotzz is a month old and, as
promised, I am going to start sharing some of the lessons I am learning along
the way. Iíve got two to share today and they are both media related.
before that Iíd like to point out the launch of our second product; the Slotzz
iPhone case Ė to complement the iPad case.I also want to say that thank you to
everyone who has given us feedback. If you sign up to our mailing list before
the end of September, you stand a chance of winning one of them. Anyway, back
to the matters in hand.
1: Always write your own press release
We were fortunate enough to have an article written about us in one of the local papers recently. The article wasnít particularly well received by people though and didnít really convey an image that is representative of the company. To be honest, business people I met at an event last week said it made us sound like amateur hour! I am of course grateful for the coverage - any press is good press, as the saying goes - but I feel it could have been so much better if we had prepared a press release prior to contacting the paper. If we had written our own release then the journalist could have used segments of it for their piece, which would have saved them time and helped convey our creativity, enthusiasm and professionalism better than perhaps a phone interview did. It's of course my fault that the article didn't turn out as well as it could have done, but as I keep being reminded "make mistakes often, make them early and make them small".
have now written our launch press release and incorporated the newest product,
an iPhone case, in to it. The release follows roughly the same introductory lines
as his article did but it hopefully conveys our passion and energy a little
better. When writing in the third person it is always hard to make a personal
connection with readers, but with the generous help of the university press
officer I think we have crafted something that gets our message across well.
2: Always double check who you are talking to
one may sound ridiculous but let me lay out what happened and I think youíll
see where Iím coming from. We were dealing with two journalists at, we thought,
two different newspapers. However, due to an administrative error we were in
fact talking to two journalists at the same paper. We had come to dealing with
these two chaps through different routes and never double checked with one of
them which paper he was from, we made an assumption. Never assume.
realized our mistake when only one article was printed and it appeared in a
paper we didnít expect to see it in. We very quickly contacted the journalist
whose article was not published to find out what had happened, and apologize if
we had wasted his time. He was very nice about it all, understood the mix up
was unintentional and says it happens quite often. This could easily have been
stopped if we had just double checked from the start.
I mentioned, we now make iPhone cases, same basic principle as the iPad case
but a perfect fit for the iPhone. We had lots of requests for iPhone holders
from reviewers, customers, friends and relatives so we spent some time
designing and prototyping and we have made a case that is a great fit for the
iPhone 3G and 3GS; the iPhone 4 case is coming soon.