Three international journalists from Aljezeera, BBC and Bloomberg shared ideas at MESTTalks on how startups in Ghana can get featured on international media.
Ama Boateng has been a reporter for Aljezeera since 2006 and covers stories across Africa. Her presentation highlighted Aljezeera’s perspective and how tech startups can better position themselves to get the media spotlight. At Aljezeera, she says the focus is on people. So, any startup that wants to be featured should not just be a part of a story about people but must also have a strong impact on those people. It is not usually the case that you will have an international media organisation do a story solely on your startup. She also added that it is very crucial to be thoroughly prepared and confident when you finally get the opportunity to be featured.
Andres Martinez from Bloomberg also covers stories across Africa for the bureau. He touched on the fact that in an international media organisation there is limited amount of space for stories. So, in order to get featured your startup or product should be newsworthy. Things he looks out for include: how your startup is affecting policy decisions, mergers and acquisitions, where is the money from and where it is going etc.
Sammy Darko from the BBC also introduced participants to a number of BBC programmes that are focused on promoting startups across Africa. Eg. African Dreams and Africa Health Innovation Series among others. Sammy highlighted some practical steps to be taken to get you featured on the BBC:
- Originality of your idea or startup: Avoid direct copying and pasting of ideas. It gets boring when a media organisation churns out news items about the same thing over and over again. It stands to lose audience.
- Relevance of your startup: Your startup must be relevant to the larger community.
- Social Media Amplification: Nowadays, most media organizations take their news from social media. A very good example is the #dumsormuststop demonstration. The organisers got attention from the BBC mainly because the movement was a trending topic on social media. So, get a good number of followers for your product or startup on social media and create some buzz around it.
- Timing: You can also take advantage of a particular event or period to get some media attention. He cited an example of govote.ng which got media coverage during the Nigeria elections. Finally, he advised entrepreneurs not to give up but to keep pushing and cultivate a good relationships with journalists.