Girls Who Code founder and CEO Reshma Saujani released her book “Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More and Live Bolder” in February, the same month Technical.ly, Generocity and Karin Copeland Presents partnered for what turned out to be a wildly successful and informative speaker event featuring the author in Philadelphia.
The gist of Saujani’s “brave, not perfect” message is, in the words of Technical.ly Events Director Catherine Sontag, that “by teaching girls from a young age to be perfect (while boys are taught to be brave), we send them forward in life with unrealistic expectations. Afraid to fail, women are less likely to take chances, preferring the path that is safe.”
I was reminded of all of this during the May 21 Tapp Social, “Putting the PR in NonPRofit,” where I sat on an informal panel with Amy Cherry, assistant news director for WDEL, and Kelly Bachman, senior communications manager for Christiana Care.
The panel was geared toward nonprofits, but the concern for getting everything just right before pitching a story to the press seems universal. People — founders, project leads, outreach specialists — seem to have an overarching fear that if it isn’t perfect, the idea is going into the garbage.
Breathe. A lot of “perfect” press releases go into the garbage. A lot of awkward cold introduction emails go on to be articles.
It’s much more important that you’re ready to discuss your new startup or product or project when you pitch a story about it.
What happens, I think, is that when a company is starting out and doing OK, but not yet at the level of hiring a PR person, the choice seems to be drop $1,000 on a professional press release or learn how to make one. And the thought of making a $1,000-quality press release when you don’t have a background in PR is intimidating. So it gets put off, the story isn’t told, and you wind up wondering why that other company that’s no better than yours has been written about multiple times.
Just send a simple email introducing yourself, saying what you do and why your story deserves coverage. If you don’t hear back in a few days, you haven’t necessarily failed — just follow up. Be brave, not perfect.