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Last October, NY-based college review service Unigo announced a partnership with the WSJ to create “WSJ On Campus.” The service is described as, ““WSJ On Campus takes you into the dorms, classrooms and back offices to illuminate what goes on behind the scenes, with Journal reporters, current college students and noted experts providing their perspectives on every topic.”
Today NY-based Kaltura announced that they will be powering the video channel for Unigo and the WSJ On Campus partnership. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed although it is great to see more New York startups working together.
“When we created Unigo.com it was clear that video would be a huge part of what we were trying to achieve. Kaltura’s platform is a clear choice – it is extremely flexible, has advanced user-generated-content features, and the Kaltura team has great experience in supporting video both for social networks and for institutions in the Education space.” said Jordan Goldman, Unigo Founder and CEO.
The suite of Kaltura’s video tools will be available for students in the Unigo community. This partnership should do well for both companies since video reviews are a very important piece of Unigo’s overall offering.
The Wall Street Journal and NY-based Unigo have announced a new partnership today and have launched “WSJ on Campus”. The new WSJ on Campus service is described as, “WSJ On Campus takes you into the dorms, classrooms and back offices to illuminate what goes on behind the scenes, with Journal reporters, current college students and noted experts providing their perspectives on every topic.”
Unigo CEO Jordan Golman told me earlier today, “Unigo’s network of students across America have been working with the Journal to create an inside look at the world of college admissions and college life.” Unigo covers 2,000+ colleges and universities from across the U.S. Content for the new WSJ on Campus site will come from current Unigo content and new exclusive content from the WSJ.
The WSJ publishes a Classroom Edition from September through May and today’s announcement will be a complement to the newspaper.
Unigo is a NY-based startup that is one to watch. Check out my video interview with Jordan from earlier this year. Jordan also provided a column offering tips on how to get your startup on television.
Editor’s note: The post below comes from a discussion on the nextNY mailing list. A subscriber asked for tips on how to get their startup on TV and Jordan Goldman, Unigo CEO, responded. I thought his reply was worth sharing for those of you also looking for television coverage of your product or service.
There are a lot of national news channels (like Bloomberg), and individual national news shows (like Good Morning America), that are shot in New York. It may be helpful to compile a list of each of the 1-2 hour programs on the national news channels that take guests, and then each of the individual national news shows that take guests.
Programs that take guests will typically have on 1 – 5 guests per show. That’s actually a fair amount – it’s someone’s job (the booking agent) to make sure, every time the program comes on, there are 1-5 interesting and qualified people ready to speak on a relevant topic. Beyond interesting and qualified, those 1-5 people also need to be a) in the vicinity of the studio, and able to make the shooting time, and b) able to talk comfortably in a live shooting environment.
If you look at all the national news shows that take guests, and shoot out of New York, every single day – that’s probably 50 guests a day that are circulating through. And the above criteria, for each of the 50 guests, isn’t always easy to meet – so the booking agents are really looking for someone who’s out there who can fit the bill, each and every day, for each of these shows. If you make a good pitch, I think you have a solid shot at getting on one or a few of them.
The key is to be able to speak on something other than just your startup. What space is your startup in? Do you have a history in that space? Can you speak comfortably about the space in broad terms? If you can – is anything interesting going on in that space right now? (Some topical angle.) Should we be taking a new look at that space b/c of the economic crisis? Is there some interesting change going on that you’d be the ideal person to chat about?
Your pitch, ideally, should be as much or more about you/your relation to the space – speaking from a position of authority as CEO of your startup – as it is about your startup itself. (The news programs don’t want to run an advertisement about your site – they want new and topical information that’s of broad use to their audience.) However, once they like your pitch and have you on, you may find the segment does actually speak more about your site than the topic that hooked their interest and they had you on about in the beginning. That part is out of your hands, but they may focus on your site a fair bit.
So it’s worth it to do your homework, figure out the world of sources out there to pitch, which one is most receptive to stories about your space, and write a pitch that positions you as an expert in that space, with some topical bit of knowledge you’d like to share.
Then you have to get the pitch to the right people. For every program you’ve identified, there are going to be booking agents, whose full time job is to get guests on the show. Dig around online and you can find information about them. For example, check out this link.
Inside, you’ll find information about the booking agents at Fox Business, and the types of guests they like booking on their shows. For example:
Suzanne Zionts, 12 noon – 2 pm, 212.601.7996 suzanne.zionts(a)foxbusiness-com
busy mid-trading day show. Pitch guests who can comment about the business news of the day in layman’s terms. They want analysts and business leaders who can talk without the gargon. Look at key government reports that your clients can speak to like retail spending, unemployment, consumer sentiment. She spends her day busily buzzing around the office but in the early days of the show seems to be quick to pick up the phone. Try to only call between 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm keeping in mind the 4 pm editorial meeting though she can also be reached in the morning if need be.
This information is out there about every TV show that books guests. Marketing agencies and PR firms have this stuff on hand – if you don’t want to use them, you’ll have to find the sources they would have given you on your own. But it’s definitely out there.
One caveat – what you’ll lose, without a marketing/PR firm, is instant access.
A PR person already knows every show you’d be a fit for, who are doing episodes on your topic. They know the exact booking agents, have worked with them before, and know how to get their attention. They can help get you more time on a program, or help steer the program in a particular way. And they can line up a lot more of these, a lot faster, than you may be able to get on your own.
That said, with a lot of legwork, you can still get there. And once you get on a show, if you do well, they’ll often ask you back. (Also, once you prove you can do live segments, you have a better shot at pitching the bigger national shows that have more reach.) It took a lot of pitching to get our Bloomberg clip – but once we had that, it was a lot easier to try and get on Fox (and, hopefully, it goes on from there, getting your startup more awareness – and more users/revenue – each time!)
Only final note – while getting on TV and gaining awareness is great, you also want to make sure you get on the shows watched by your user base the most. For example, if it takes a month of work to get on a show with 1 million viewers, but they’re mostly in their 20′s when your product is aimed at the 60+ crowd – while word of mouth may filter up and out, you ultimately have to weigh ROI vs. amount of time spent to get on the show. Ultimate goal is the right TV, to hit the right viewers, to convert users and revenue … or the wrong TV that serves as a clip that eventually gets you the right TV, with time spent justified by overall end result.
Jordan Goldman is the founder and CEO of Unigo, a NY-based startup focusing on a new platform for college students to share reviews, photos, videos and documents about their colleges and universities.
This morning I met with Unigo founder Jordan Goldman at their headquarters in Manhattan. Unigo describes their service as, "a new platform for college students to share reviews, photos, videos, documents, and more with students on their campus and across the country." Jordan noted that they are the world’s largest resource for information on U.S. colleges. Currently they serve 250 colleges but are looking to cover all of the 4,200+ colleges in the U.S.
Unigo moved into public beta in September and received a lengthy writeup in the New York Times upon their launch.
In the 15-minute video interview below we discuss where the idea came from for Unigo, the 20+ person team, comparisons to Yelp and Facebook, the Unigo marketing plan and the business model.
Jordan shares his story about how he created his business plan and how he was able to find angel investors. If you are starting a business or looking for an angel investor, it’s worth listening to how he made it happen. Jordan leaves us with his thoughts on 2009.