Greetings DMSers. Nice job with the mini-pitches yesterday about your markets. Our next one will be Thursday, Nov. 12 and will focus on revenue generation. You’ll have 3 minutes total to talk up how you’re going to monetize your concept.
Since we’re focusing on The Pitch (remember it’s two parts: the verbal and the deck), I want to share some resources that can help in the development of your story:
The exact pitch deck strategy I’ve used to raise $125M since 2011 by Mitchell Harper. While some of his content is beyond the scope of our class exercise, several tips are really worth using.
He has another post, How to nail your investor pitch and walk away with multiple term sheets, with great advice also. Check out #5 through #9, which all apply in some way to our assignment.
Finally, I mentioned a great piece in This American Life about a journalist pitching an investor on the streets of San Francisco. Listen to that one here. Dive into the “I’ve got 99 problems and a pitch is one” segment. Great storytelling.
Tomorrow is all open lab time to work on the Money & Marketing Plan and your product mockup.
Greetings DMIers. We’re heading into Week 7 and we’ve got a fantastic week ahead.
First off, be sure to click over to the Homework and Resources tabs. Grab the revised versions of the course schedule and the DMI 1 Pagers. We’ll briefly chat about these at the start of our next session.
Dabbling in Design Tuesday
Most of Tuesday’s class session will be open lab time to work on two big design projects you have:
- Homework 6, which is your logo design, and
- Your overall product design. A draft version is due before Thanksgiving break.
You can use any software you choose for these design tasks. The lab has full access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud versions of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. Adobe also offers a free 30-day trial of this software, which may prove helpful in November.
In terms of your product mockups, you can also explore the wide variety of wireframing tools available. Last fall’s group of students experimented with JustinMind and Balsamiq. But, there are many, many other options out there. Check out these articles to get a glimpse of the range:
- Creative Bloq: The 20 best wireframing tools
- DevZum: 18 Best User Experience (UX) and Wireframing Tools
The Hatch’s EmmKrem Visits Thursday
We have another amazing J&PR alumna visiting with us Thursday. Emmalee Kremer graduated from the news option in 2011. Currently, Emmalee is a senior account executive at The Hatch Agency in San Francisco. She’s worked with journalists from Wired, The New York Times, Re/code and Tech Crunch among many others.
Emmalee specializes in working with high-tech startups and venture capital companies. She’s going to talk about life working for startups in the public relations and marketing space. Since this is a big part of your Money & Marketing Plan, I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions to toss her way. Follow her on Twitter @EmmKrem.
Greetings DMIers. This Thursday we’ll have the first our of entrepreneur guest speakers. Our guests, Brittany Comas and Ally Dukkers, graduated from the Chico State J&PR program with the news option and are currently running various social media platforms for The Hunt.
The Hunt is a fashion startup located in San Francisco. The company’s about page explains that it “is a community powered mobile app that is transforming the way that people shop online. By empowering peers to suggest products for each other, The Hunt taps into the personal shopper inside all of us and creates a positive community centered on fashion and individual style.”
Brittany and Ally are going to discuss:
- Career path: how they moved from reporters at The Orion to social media goddesses in San Francisco.
- Their jobs at The Hunt
- What it’s like working for a technology startup
- How your journalism skill sets translate well to startup companies
- Recommendations for landing jobs in the tech space
I’m sure our guests can give you a wealth of ideas for your digital media product concepts. Do your research and bring lots of questions.
Happy Sunday DMIers: This week we’re continuing our focus on primary research. Your draft research plan is due Thursday and should include:
- A description of your product concept
- Clear identification of your market
- Your introduction: how will you explain what you’re doing to the people you need to interact with?
- The exact research methods you wish to use, and the exact questions you’ll use via those methods.
- And, you’ll need to have some type of visual mockup of your product concept
In addition to the resources highlighted last week, you might find these two articles helpful:
Tools To Help Create Mockups
You can use paper drawings of your product concept for our first round of market research, but you might get inspired to dive in further with some of the cool tools you’ll find in the articles below. And, you might find some new app startups to experiment with – there’s fashion, time management, social media and email tools highlighted among many others. Both are found on Medium (an amazing news startup you should explore if you don’t already use it):
We’ll use some of our time in class Tuesday to work on the product mockups.
Greetings, DMI class. I hope you found yesterday’s class session helpful in brainstorming your initial new product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.
Tomorrow we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market on your concepts. This may help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. Briggs Chapter 5 hit on this point well.
When we did the sticky test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. Talking to your market may yield some interesting ideas on those fronts. I found this NiemanLab article that highlights an unexpected element quite well: Soon, publishers will be able to determine when smartphone users are bored and push content at them.
The NiemanLab is a fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts like The Atlantic is doing, or other news content formats like podcasting, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists, etc. And, some of you are looking at localization aspects – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?
Greetings DMIers: I hope you had a successful week 1 and that you’re ready to leap into week 2.
We’re going to do a design thinking activity that was created by the Institute of Design at Stanford. In our class session you will:
- Brainstorm the gift-giving experience with a partner.
- Based on that brainstorm you’re going to develop a product prototype.
- Then, you’re going to test that prototype with your partner.
The pace will be quick and that’s intentional. Remember to spend some time before class thinking about your gift-giving experience. Think about the process, not just the person you gave a gift to and what the actual gift was. Also, think about your personal motivations in this activity.
START FINDING THE PROBLEM
This week we’re also going to start diving into the creation of your original DMI product concept. You have two assignments to help you jump start your creativity:
- DMI 1 Pagers: Now That’s Innovation (due Thursday): This task has you identify innovators within the industry you want to focus on this semester. To create your own idea, you need to know what’s already happening in your industry: Who are the innovators? What cool things are being created?
- Homework 1 Startup Ideas (due Sept. 8) forces you to put into writing some initial product concepts.
Two points to highlight about this product concept creation:
- As we saw in the introductory course videos last week, many people will argue that you should follow your passion in your startup ideas. But others, Steve Jobs included, argue that you should focus on what you’re good at rather than what you are passionate about. Why? Check out this Medium article.
- The most successful products solve a specific problem the market feels. It will be key for you to be able to clearly define The Problem your market faces. I often refer to this as your customer’s pain point. Example:
- Let’s say you love going to music festivals or live sporting events. Think about the problems/negative experiences that come along with participation in this activity. If you had the power to change something in this experience, what would it be? Talk to your friends, do they have the same pain point as you? Perhaps they have a different problem to be solved?
The assigned chapters in the Briggs text will also dive into the topics listed above and help you jump start your new product concept creative process.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’ll see you in class Tuesday.
Greetings DMSers. One of the big conundrums with our digital media startup business plans is the revenue section. Most of you are using advertising in some way as a revenue source. Advertising is appropriate as long as its implemented in effective ways that do not turn off members of your market.
There are many details that you’ll need to think through in terms of your advertising plans. Some of those topics include:
- What types of advertising will you use?
- Where in your product will those ads appear?
- In the case of sponsored content, how are you going to be transparent to your market in the labeling of these paid-for spots?
- How much are you going to charge for each category of ad you’re going to sell?
To help get us started on that last bullet, take a look at some of these resources:
- Quirk’s Online Advertising Guide: this is helpful to think of the different areas, sizes and options in web pages for advertising.
- Digiday’s 2013 article showing how much it costs to run certain types of ads on well-known sites.
- Promise Media offers a section identifying how to develop online ad rates, rates cards and more.
- Association Media Publishing has a great list of key terms you need to be familiar with in the online advertising area. Some of these terms are also covered in Briggs but not all of them.
We’ll chat more about this in class as we continue to develop our business plans.
Good Mornings DMSers. We started a great discussion yesterday about corporate journalism, branded journalism and sponsored content. Just to make it more interesting, let’s also throw in these terms: content marketing and native advertising.
At our next class session, we’re going to continue this discussion by examining content samples to help differentiate these terms and to understand how they might apply to your digital media startups. Additionally, we’re going to dive into some of the ethical questions being discussed in news and PR circles on these topics.
Let’s also touch on this from a reader’s perspective: Can they differentiate between news and ads in the digital space? Does it even matter?
One of the sites we’ll examine is the Richmond Standard. As you’ll see in the following links, there are various points of view on this Chevron project:
A Chevron PR website pretends to be an objective news source, published in the Los Angeles Times.
Corporate Journalism is better than no journalism, a guest post published in PRNewser.
This article, which does not address the Chevron project, also sheds some interesting light on these topics:
What does the rise of brand journalism mean? For one thing, it means journalists have to up their game, published in GigaOm. I strongly recommend you dive into the hyperlinks within this piece.
I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Enjoy the articles.
Good morning DMSers. In today’s class we’re going to start diving into the marketing and public relations section of your business plan. A lot of ground to cover here.
Aside from the Briggs text, I’d like to share the following resources which may prove helpful in the coming weeks:
Demographics of key social networking platforms from Pew Research Center.
Connecting with Customers: How to Market to Their Emotions from Entrepreneur.
Bootstrapping Your Way to Success, also from Entrepreneur.
More to come at 2 p.m.
Greetings DMSers. I hope you’re having a fantastic Thursday now that the midterm is behind you!
Monday we have a guest speaker, Colby L. Smith. Colby graduated from our program in 2013 and landed her first job out of college with a startup company. She’s now a social media and marketing specialist with the Melton Design Group where she is working on another startup project, the Outdoor Trunk.
Colby’s talk will focus on what it’s like to work for a startup company in your first job out of college. She’ll discuss strengths and weaknesses of making this type of leap and key questions you should ask during the interview process.
And, since she’s a social media and marketing specialist, you might pick her brain about how best to use these skills in the marketing section of your business plan.
Check out Colby on LinkedIn. Bring your questions.