social media content

Video Story Pitches = the Steak in the Sizzle for Startups

The best asset for a startup business is the entrepreneur who risked everything to start it. Their face in a video story pitch can more than compensate for the money, skill and established rapport of larger businesses.

The best asset for a startup business is the entrepreneur who risked everything to start it. Their face in a video story pitch can more than compensate for the money, skill and established rapport of larger businesses.

Startups usually don’t set aside pots of money for marketing. To get noticed, they need low-cost options with a decent chance of success.

Writing for EntrepreneurJennifer Spencer offers some suggestions, starting with video story pitches.

Established firms with a PR agency or in-house staff have existing relationships with local reporters and key trade press publications. The best asset for most startups is the founder. There is no better way to pitch a story than in the voice of the founder.

A video literally puts a face to the pitch, Spencer says, showcasing the brains behind the new business. That can spark interest and stand out in a crowded queue of pitches written by public relations professionals.

Written press releases can include quotes from the CEO, while a video pitch conveys context in a conversational tone. It’s as if he or she is personally sharing their views or telling an interesting story, because he or she is personally sharing a view or a telling the story.

Standard story pitches have embraced multi-media. Video story pitches also can be accompanied by infographics, charts, images and B-roll video.

Video story pitches still need to be news worthy. No fluff or self-serving CEO quotes. And production values matter.

Video story pitches still need to be news worthy. No fluff or self-serving CEO quotes. And production values matter.

Well-conceived and engaging videos used for story pitches can be repurposed as social media content, which isn’t true of typical text-based press releases. Video content attracts more clicks and has wider generational appeal.

Creativity is useful in developing story-pitch videos. There aren’t really too many restraints. For example, a video might include short clips of endorsers for a new product or a visual explanation for how to use a product.

Another creative use of a video story pitch is to newsjack, the art of piggybacking on a trending story to gain attention for your brand. A lot of newsjacking occurs on Twitter, so a video story pitch can be an attention-grabbing variation that can make its way onto traditional media websites and social media platforms.

Think of video story pitches as teasers. Produce longer versions or a series of clips that can be shared in response to media inquiries or as extenders if the media picks up your story.

Video story pitches still need to be newsworthy. You need a captivating news hook. Fluff won’t cut it. Self-serving quotes don’t come across any better on video than in print. Poor production can undermine the effort.

As things stack up, lacking financial resources could even be an advantage. It will force you to be inventive, authentic and engaging – more or less, the steak in the sizzle of any good story pitch.

Gary Conkling Image.jpg

Gary Conkling is principal and co-founder of CFM Strategic Communications, and he leads the firm's PR practice, specializing in crisis communications. He is a former journalist, who later worked on Capitol Hill and represented a major Oregon company. But most importantly, he’s a die-hard Ducks fan. You can reach Gary at garyc@cfmpdx.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @GaryConkling.

 

Savvy Sponsorship Embodies Mayo Brand Message

Miracle Whip celebrated its 84-year-old history by sponsoring a women’s basketball team consisting of 80+ year old players who grew up with the iconic mayonnaise and embody the brand’s message of enduring heritage.

Miracle Whip celebrated its 84-year-old history by sponsoring a women’s basketball team consisting of 80+ year old players who grew up with the iconic mayonnaise and embody the brand’s message of enduring heritage.

A testimonial by LeBron James may be beyond your financial means, but what about a team of 80-year-old female ballers? You could afford them, but would you ever think to ask them?

Leave it to a mayonnaise icon to make the connection. Miracle Whip, which debuted in Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, is turning 84, so some clever person in the marketing department thought of a way to mark the birthday. Kraft-owned Miracle Whip sunk its sponsorship dollars into the San Diego Splash, a women’s basketball team whose players are 80+ years old. (A couple of players are in their 90s.)

Talking to AdWeek, Marketing Director Matt Carpenter said he was looking for a way to underscore the heritage of Miracle Whip. Then he saw a segment on espnW about the San Diego Splash that showed inspiring footage of the women sinking baskets and competing vigorously. “Just seeing these ladies touching people of all ages lined up with how we think about our brand,” Carpenter said.

It didn’t hurt that many Splash team members grew up with Miracle Whip as a favorite condiment. Team member Jean Field said, “I’ve been a Miracle Whip fan since I was 3 years old. My grandparents had it in their icebox. My mother had it in her refrigerator. And it’s been in my refrigerator and my kids’ refrigerators for years.” You couldn’t write a better ad script than that.

Carpenter hasn’t decided whether to feature the team in any Miracle Whip ads. For now, he is content with letting his brand’s association with the Splash whip away on social media.

San Diego Splash team members have their own cards sporting basketballs bearing the Miracle Whip logo.

San Diego Splash team members have their own cards sporting basketballs bearing the Miracle Whip logo.

The Splash sponsorship is clever for several reasons. It involves an organic connection between a brand and consumers that isn’t phony or pumped up. Sponsoring an octogenarian women’s basketball team is different without being kitschy. The sponsorship creates content that is perfectly suited for social media sharing. And, not unimportant, it is an affordable marketing investment, even for enterprises with far less cash than Miracle Whip.

Carpenter said the sponsorship includes contributions by Miracle Whip to the team’s scholarship program, paying for the team’s league fees and buying new gear. The players won’t have to buy any Miracle Whip for the rest of their lives, either.

Marketers shouldn’t overlook out-of-the-box possibilities for memorable associations, through sponsorships or other connections, that embody the message your brand wants to send.