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"Pitching, personality and (ethical) promotion" 2015

Guest lecture for the "Professional Issues" module at University of Edinburgh, taken by Computer Science and Software Engineering Students

Nicola Osborne

on 15 October 2015

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Transcript of "Pitching, personality and (ethical) promotion" 2015

Pitching, personality and (ethical) promotion

Nicola Osborne, Jisc MediaHub Service Manager / Digital Education Manager at EDINA
(& former Social Media Officer)
How you pitch and explain your ideas

Promoting what you do:
how you might promote yourself.
how to promote your idea, your work, or your product.
Legal and ethical aspects
How not to pitch to a billionaire...
"Image from page 13 of "The Keif method of cutting coats and vests" (1899)" shared by Flickr user the Internet Archive Book Images / internetarchivebookimages
...is about tailoring your message for your audience
"Image from page 34 of "A scientific guide to practical cutting" (1873)" shared by Flickr user the Internet Archive Book Images / internetarchivebookimages
And, like a tailor, you have to be efficient...
Keep it brief, clear, focused.
Aim to get the person interested - they can always ask more later.
Be ambitious but don't offer things you can't deliver, or are not in a position to offer.
Be confident, even if you don't feel it.
Research or think about the person you are pitching too so that you know what you want to get out of that process - it could be feedback, advice, connection to a key contact, it's not always about investment...
The same basic ideas also applies to...
Smaller Investors and supporters including Crowdfunders
What a great pitch video looks like.
What makes an idea or product appealing.
What causes the most confusion or questions...

Try searching around and reflect on what you find...
Selling your idea to potential project partners, co-founders etc.

Banks / Merchant services.
Press and bloggers.
Influential users who may become ambassadors for your idea/product.
Communicating your product (or idea) to customers/users
... how your idea is different from other products or ideas that are similar (or could be adapted in similar ways).

... why someone should spend money or time or share information to be part of that - why is it interesting, worthwhile, good value for money...
Legal Aspects
A few key pieces of legislation apply to communications like this...
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/contents)
Data Protection Act 1998 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents)
EU Data Protection Directive 1995 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:31995L0046), including the "Right to be Forgotten" protections, 2014 (http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/
US privacy laws (see: http://www.sba.gov/content/privacy-law) (see also recent Safe Harbour ruling on data storage/transmission beyond the EU)

Equality Act 2010
And also... Defamation, Libel and Harassment also apply online.

Best Practice Guidance
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Code: http://www.dma.org.uk/the-dma-code
The Association of Internet Researchers Ethics Guide: http://aoir.org/ethics/
Electronic Freedom Foundation privacy guides/commentary: https://www.eff.org/issues/privacy
There are a few ways to build your profile online...
So how do you start?
Did anything surprise you?
Did it help you think about your own pitches, and how you might pitch ideas to others?
Always tailor your message to the audience(s) and their interests:
Why should they listen?
Why should they care about your idea/product?
What will be unique and interesting about the idea, for them?
What will be engaging, fun, energising for your audience(s)?
And think about the questions you'd ask about an idea, the potential criticisms and answers.
"Festival Crowd" by Flickr user Shane Kelly (ballinascreen.com)
Explaining your idea to non-technical people who need to be on-board
"Journalists on duty" by Flickr user Yan Arief Purwanto / yanrf
task: crowdfunding video plan
task: campaign and building community
"Show and Tell by Flickr user Erin Nekervis / theeerin
In small groups (5 or 6 people):

Identify an idea you'd want to pitch
Think about how you would shape your idea into an engaging pitch video for Kickstarter or Indiegogo etc.
Your audience might not be technically minded, so how will you explain what your idea does and why it matters?
Think about how you would get your message across, and why should someone invest in it?

how did that go?
How easy was it to explain your idea?
What was most challenging?
Do you think you could do something similar for your own ideas?
Do you think you'd be:
Why? Or why not?

What else might you need to do...?
So be careful about what you say about rivals, how you reply to customers/business partners etc.
Impacts on web design, communications, employment, etc.
Relates to collection, processing and retention of personal details - so consequences for mailing lists, contact databases, registration and payment systems, etc.
Protects your IPR rights but also those of others - impacts on use/reuse of text content, images/multimedia, etc. Can help you use and protect branding etc. too.
These are just those most relevant to communicating your ideas...

plenty of other legal aspects depending on your idea/business/organisation - e.g. FOI law for publicly funded organisations
Social Media
Ethical use of personal data
EDINA Social Media Guidelines: http://edina.ac.uk/about/social_media/social_media_guidelines.html
University of Edinburgh Social Media Guidelines (staff): http://www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme/training-support/guidelines/social-media
IBM Social Computing Guidelines: http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html
today's session...
Questions are welcome at any point!
Golf man sale #2 by Flickr User Richard Cocks / richardland
Think about...
And then try it out.
Pitches and short videos are part of a bigger mix of communication and promotion tools...
Remember: you can learn from others' success (and failures)
A website, a presence, some contact route(s) are all important for your personal profile, and also for your idea/company/project.

Social media tools are a great way to build presence as they:

Are go-to spaces for expertise and advice.
Offer new and engaging ways to tell stories, to engage in dialogue, to reach out to your audience(s) - whether potential employers, business partners, investors, or for building a network, or developing a community of customers or users.
Rank highly on Google, Bing, etc.
Can enable direct access to key figures from investors to Research Councils to press and potential users/customers.
May generate media interest in your work, new collaborations and other unexpected opportunities.
Offer inexpensive ways to raise your own profile and that of your research.

Online presence matter on an ongoing basis, for key announcements, releases, funding pushes, etc. you need a campaign...
Campaigns are about having a focus and creating specific "Calls to Action" (e.g. "Fund this" or "sign the petition" or "contribute to this project" or "ask a question")

They are about specific goals or specific periods of time, such as:

Getting an additional x new users
Raising y amount of funding
Increasing the number of likes or interactions on a presence
Promoting a particular product or subscription option to raise awareness and/or sales
Launching a new product or idea.
Creating a particular brand profile, or adjusting the message around your brand.

They involve a mix of channels: e.g. website, press release, scheduled articles or videos, emails to mailing lists etc.

You need to monitor, reflect, adjust your approach.
What tools should you use?
- somewhere for people to find you consistently (can be any web based page you like, your own domain name helps).
Mailing list/newsletters (e.g. MailChimp, TinyLetter, Google Groups)
- brilliant for building up a database of possible contacts, customers, etc. But you need to create regular content/schedule updates to make it useful.
Blogs, Tumblr, Medium
- make your work visible, enable semi-formal ways to share working methods and progress, and provide a way to find and engage in dialogue with your audience.
- very effective way to share key research updates, build a network around your work, find peer support and advice, track news.
- great for building interest and communities depending on who you want to reach, but also requiring you to update any presence regularly as content turns over regularly.
Video/Vine/Streamed Hangout, Audio
- can bring clarity to complex concepts quickly. Well-made short videos or animations can convey complex concepts and research quickly, accessibly and in very engaging sharable ways. (Try live video - Periscope/Meekat etc. - only if brave & well planned!)
Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest,
etc. – any images bring a project to life – research is about people, ideas, events, collaboration, equipment... Images make your ideas, achievements and discoveries far more tangible.

But also, what works for your audience and your idea? It might be code on GitHub, it might be updates via Whatsapp? Ask or check out what they want.
To learn what works best in communicating either an ongoing project or campaign you need to measure, reflect, & learn what works for your audience and your idea/project
For example...
the Trading Consequences Launch
Website updated with support information, links & resources
Branding checked across presences, URLs checked, all partners asked to check own details, organisation names & branding, project publications etc. via checklist.
Researchers, all project partners, engaged in press release drafting and approval process, including identification of key stories/possible top lines.
Press release drafted by Press Office with EDINA, final version agreed by partners and press offices at all partner organisations.
All data providers and funders contacted to inform them of launch date, kept posted on press release, sent preview of tools and sent approved release with permissions to reshare.
Final press release pushed out through UoE/Press Association
Press releases launched in parallel through each partner, and some data providers.
Launch blog post drafted for launch. Additional blog posts and activities planned as follow up to launch.
Hashtag publicised, all partners encouraged to tweet. Jisc prepped to retweeted project.
The Conversation approached, researchers co-authored piece for just after launch.

Resulting Coverage and interest...
Press: The Times; Metro*; Evening News*.
Blogs/reviews: Chronicle of Higher Education.
Arranged pieces: The Conversation; EDINA News; Yfile; St Andrews HCI blog; Informatics News.
Approaches from: BBC Reporting Scotland (feature); Edinburgh Evening News (feature)
Presentation invited by data provider following launch.
Extensive twitter activity, particularly from academic historians and researchers.
And substantially increased usage of the site and associated tools - people were clicking through from sharing and coverage to explore Trading Consequences visualisation and data tools.

*Not as helpful as could have been – project name not included!
A quick health warning about promotion...
"tools of the trade" by Flickr user Various Brennemans / brenneman
Hone your content based on your feedback, engagement, etc...

What do you want to share about your idea/project/product?
What are your audience interested in?
What images or additional resources can you share to help attract interest?
Can you share engaging details to share a particular process or what the team/project is like to be part of?
What playful quirky content can you use, is it communicating your idea effectively and appropriately?
Are you getting a lot of interesting comments or questions? Does that suggest a new blog post/resource/video, etc?
Make the most of what you have and remember to share successes, achievements, key developments or updates, press mentions, presentations etc.
Use tools like: Google Analytics; WordPress/Blogger/Tumblr stats; Twitter Analytics; Facebook Insights; Google+ Insights; YouTube video and channel Insights; follower counts; measures of interaction - e.g. comments, replies, etc.
"stethoscope" by Flickr user Dr.Farouk

Think about your idea and some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevent, Time-bound) goals for a campaign:

What would your goals be?
What channels would you use in your campaign
How would you find your audience?
What precautions might you take to meet legal requirements and best practice concerns?
What would a successful campaign look like?
task: campaign and building community
How did that go?

What was easy?

What was difficult?

How could you use ongoing presences to build interest for this sort of campaign?


Series Two of StartUp (on another company) finished this summer with updates on how Gimlet's business model has moved on - worth a listen...
(Also useful for reminding
what you love about your idea/project/start up)
A note on stitching videos together...
some practical tools & tips...
Make a plan or storyboard
. (And if filming vox pops: plan and test your questions & ask more than you need.)
Make sure you
capture good quality audio
- picture quality doesn't matter as much. Phones, Zoom mics, headsets, etc. are all good. Pick a quiet recording space, check sound on headphones (better for monitoring quality).
Provide some context
- title, or branding or call to action
Use the tools you have
: mobile phone, laptop camera, screen capture, digital camera or video camera. With editing tools like Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, YouTube, etc.
Animation is great various free animation tools online or try timelapse with timed image capture + Picasa or iMotion etc. on your phone (but note: animation = time consuming).
Editing takes longer than filming
so much better to plan and reshoot rather than "fix in edit".
Only use music, footage or images you have rights too - e.g. use & credit CC licensed works
Clear simple editing and ideas work best.
By Flickr user gina pina: "My Aunt sent me this picture of a quilt top my Granny pieced out of some of my fabric scraps"
Full transcript