Gregory Galant is Co-founder & CEO of Muck Rack, Host of the Venture Voice podcast, and Co-founder of The Shorty Awards. Previously, Greg was an associate producer at CNN.com. In 1996, Greg founded Halenet, an award-winning Internet strategy firm while in high school.
- Who is Gregory Galant?
Greg has been a lifelong entrepreneur. He got onto the internet very early on and taught himself to create and code websites, skills which he then used to build a business while in high school and beyond.
While working as an associate producer at CNN.com in 2005, Greg had the idea to download mp3’s of spoken word content, more commonly known as podcasts. He started one the very first podcasts focused on entrepreneurs where he interviewed people like Reid Hoffman, the founder of Yelp and more. One of his podcast guests named Evan Williams was working on a prelaunch company that ended up being a failure, but that lead to him pivoting to his side project which turned out to be Twitter.
Greg’s philosophy when starting a business is if you can try it out quickly and cheaply, don’t think about too much. If it doesn’t work, you only lost a couple of weekends. Greg has found that the longer he thinks about an idea before launching it, the worse it does.
The Shorty Awards lead to Greg noticing that journalists were using social media to figure out what to write about. This lead directly to the idea for Muck Rack.
- What is the business model behind an awards show?
In the beginning sponsorship was the main revenue source for the Shorty Awards. They quickly found out that sponsorships are very unreliable so they needed to figure out another way to generate revenue. Greg noticed that agencies were doing more digital work and were used to paying an entry fee to be entered into an awards show. They decided to keep it free for individuals but for branded agencies to charge an entry fee.
Thousands of companies pay The Shorty Awards a little bit of money so they aren’t beholden to any one company.
- Dealing With Uncertainty
If you want to have a reputation as a good business person, be sure to get into a good business. Does your business have a good revenue model? Revenue diversity is important to eliminating some of the risk inherent in business. No one customer should make up more than 10% of your revenue.
It’s okay to start with a less than optimized revenue model if it allows you to transition into a more stable one.
- PR And Muck Rack
Greg saw that journalists were on social media but that it was hard to find them. He came up with the simple idea of a website that allows you to see the journalists on social media and what they were sharing. They ran it as a free resource site on the side of the Shorty Awards but eventually realized that it more potential.
Muck Rack transitioned into a subscription service to pitch journalists after feedback from one its users.
The big difference between Muck Rack and HARO is Muck Rack is really more of a search engine for journalists that allows specific targeting of journalists based off what they write about. It’s more of a proactive approach to getting PR.
The number one thing for entrepreneurs to keep in mind when they are pitching journalists is that they are human beings. Be personable and thoughtful in your outreach. If you do your research and send them a relevant pitch, you are actually helping them. The generally love hearing from an entrepreneur because of your natural passion for the business.
Try boiling the down your pitch to a tweet. What’s newsworthy about your business that you can convey in one sentence? Write the headline to see if there is something really interesting or if you’re just caught up in your own story.
- Gregory’s Takeaway
Think through the worst case scenario. If the costs to try a business are low and the worst case is that you lose a couple of weeks of your time, you can think of it as an experiment that didn’t work out instead of a failure if it doesn’t work out. You’ve got very little to lose and there’s a good chance that there is lots of upside if it works out well.
@gregory on Twitter
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