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Startup Interviews: Kimanzi Constable

Kimanzi Constable is a former bread delivery guy who self-published two books that have sold over 86,000 copies. In the last year he has lost 170 pounds and moved his family to Maui, Hawaii. You can usually find him writing while enjoying an ocean view. He is a published author, international speaker, and coach.

He’s a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, andMind Body Green. He is a business editor at The Good Men Project. His mission is to help men and women create true freedom in life. Join him at KimanziConstable.comand on Facebook at Kimanzi Constable.

A great product or business idea is only the beginning. Gaining exposure for your new venture is critical, but many new entrepreneurs/businesses struggle with this. What is the key to getting attention and getting ahead of the crowd?

You have to go where others won`t. Too often, entrepreneurs stay inside their comfort zone by focusing on what they know. They see top entrepreneurs posting on a certain website, or getting interviewed on a certain podcast, and think that`s where they need to be.

There are over 900 million websites and 250,000 podcasts. There are many places to get exposure that are far less crowded than the ones we typically know. Research new and better places to get exposure. Go where the crowd isn`t, and as much as possible, go mainstream (Such as traditional media).

What advice do you have for new companies looking to gain media exposure?

Research. You have to figure out what are going to be the best outlets to get exposure for your business. Once you figure them out, study what the best practices are. If you`re writing, what are the terms of service and the guidelines? What kind of content works best on that outlet? When a pitch isn`t successful it`s usually because the business hasn`t done its research.

It starts with an incredible business and product—let`s assume you`re already there. Then, it`s a matter of reaching out to as many top outlets as possible. You can also form a relationship with the editors or writers at an outlet. It`s also the same with podcasters.

Do you have any tips for pitching your business or product to the media or reporters? Do`s and don`ts for a media pitch?

Normally a pitch isn`t successful for a few reasons, but the main reason is the “ask” exceeds the relationship. Your first interaction shouldn`t be to ask for something. That`s the equivalent of meeting someone and asking them for a kiss on the lips. Your first interaction should be to form the relationship. This should be done on social media.

Be Patient and don`t send a follow-up email. I understand how frustrating waiting can be, but if you want to successfully land an article on some of the largest websites in the world, you have to learn how to wait. More than that, the wait will be worth it. Editor`s priorities aren`t the same as ours.

From what I`ve seen—on average—it typically takes three-weeks to get a response, and another three weeks before the article runs. For some, it happens quicker. For others, it takes longer. Realize that this is brand new; there are no definite criteria.

We see no problem in sending a follow-up email to see what`s up. From an editor`s perspective, it`s annoying. To them is says the person will be difficult to work with. They are getting a pitch from a stranger, and then the stranger is questioning why things aren`t moving quicker? That`s how it comes off even if that`s not your intent. The follow-up email could cost you the opportunity. How do I know this? I had an email exchange this week with an editor at the Huffington Post. She told me this is the reason most pitches aren`t successful.

Target the right publications. I get a lot of articles sent to me for The Good Men Project. Instantly, I can tell if an article will get the desired result for that person. I have people write articles about parenting who are in the online business space. Those articles won`t get them any clicks.

If your goal is to get credibility to leverage other places, that`s one thing, but if you write somewhere just because they have a lot of traffic, you won`t get your desired result. When someone reads a parenting post, and then your bio says you`re an online marketer, there will be a disconnect in the readers mind and they won`t click. Target the publications that best fit your message.

Connect with an editor. One of the first things you should do is Google the editor. See what they`re up to. Connect with them on Twitter and share their content. If they have a blog, comment and share their blog. Nothing fake, actually read and understand what they`re saying. Your goal isn`t to be their best friend, but you do want them to recognize your name. It will make the pitch smoother and more effective.

Don`t pitch multiple editors or different publications. Pitching multiple editors would get you better results, in theory. However, in reality you end up coming off as a spammer. Editor`s talk, and when they enter the article in the queue, another editor who you pitched would see that. Your article gets rejected and you get put on a “do not accept” list.

Don`t pitch multiple publications with the same article. I know of a few people who had their articles accepted in all three of the places they pitched the same article. When he informed one, they emailed the other two and the article was rejected in all three places.

This interview was brought to you by Capital Office Your Virtual Office London.

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