As the co-founder and CEO of SharpScholar, our company pitched on CBC Dragons’ Den in October, 2015. Shortly afterwards, we were able to get significant media coverage (will go into stats and specific later) – through newspapers, online articles, social media, and promotion via the Dragons’ (Nicole, Harley, and Michael) themselves.
In this blog post, I will cover step-by-step on how we did that. By the end you will be able to answer the following questions;
- How to get on Dragons’ Den?
- How to Get Massive Media Coverage after Dragons’ Den
- Bonus: Things I Wish I knew Before Dragons’ Den
SharpScholar on Dargons’ Den
First, here is our dragons’ den youtube video. It has gotten over 8,000+ unique views and is one the most viewed clips in the season. Do give it a watch before I dive deeper into the specifics.
How to get on Dragons’ Den?
Step 1 – Apply for Auditions
First, you should understand the application process. The applying part is easy you just go to their website and check to see when the next auditions are going to be. Then just follow the on-site instructions to submit an application and attend one of the public auditions date.
Step 2 – Get Selected for Airing
Now, the hard part is to actually succeed in the auditions and be aired on TV because they do thousands of them and only pick a few successful ones.
We got rejected the first time and made it on TV the second time around. Therefore, I hope you don’t make the same mistakes that we did the first time (and even some the second time around).
Here are my two tips;
- Have a good story to “sell” on TV – people want entertainment
- Be very presentable and TV personality – again, people want entertainment
I think you can see the theme now – it is a all about entertainment. I used the following template to come up with our pitch for the audition (you can see it in action in the video above).
Here is our dragons den pitch template document – “Dragons Den Pitch Template“
How to Get Massive Media Coverage after Dragons’ Den
Here is the good news. If you were selected to be aired on Dragons’ Den the chances are that you have a really good story to sell. Now, after you are done the shooting with Dragons’ Den you should get working on contacting the media as soon as possible.
First, don’t contact the media if the pitch did not turn out to be what you wanted it to be. For example, if the dragons completely bashed your company you would not want to tell that to the whole world.
With that said, this is what I did:
- Call up all local newspapers and tell them – “Hey! A local young student of <city name> was on Dragons’ Den and turned down $100K offer!”
- Call up your school’s alumni department and tell them – “Hey! I am a previous graduate of Queen’s University and I was on dragons’ den – I think it would be a great story to share with current students!”
- Call up other interested communities – I told DMZ (biggest incubator in Canada) since we were one of their companies – they tweeted us out too!
Here is the screenshot of the email I sent to the local news papers – I got a call back within a few hours;
As a result of lots of calling and emailing, we were able to generate the following media coverage;
Newspapers – SharpScholar’s Dragons’ Den Coverage
Queen’s University – Alumnus makes pitch on Dragons’ Den spinoff
Kingston (City) – Learning Trumps Cash for Entrepreneur
CanIndia News (Community) – Why did a Mississauga Entrepreneur Turn Down Dragons’ Den Offer?
Mississauga (City) – Young Entrepreneur Appears on Dragons Den Turns Down $100K Offer
Facebook – SharpScholar’s Dragons’ Den Coverage
Twitter – SharpScholar’s Dragons’ Den Coverage
Local newspaper journalists tweeted about our Dragons’ Den
— Nouman Khalil (@NKhalil25) October 29, 2015
Even our city’s mayor tweeted about us!
— Bonnie Crombie (@BonnieCrombie) October 30, 2015
We got our school’s alumni departments to also tweet!
— U of T Engineering (@uoftengineering) October 29, 2015
This is our incubator tweeting and getting us more coverage!
— The DMZ (@RyersonDMZ) October 30, 2015
We engaged and tweeted at the Dragons’ (Mike, Harley, and Nicole) as soon as the webisode was tweeted!
— Dragons' Den 🐉 (@cbcdragon) October 28, 2015
— Jawwad Siddiqui (@jawwadsiddiqui) October 28, 2015
— Nicole Verkindt (@nicoleverkindt) October 28, 2015
Bonus: Things I Wish I knew Before Dragons’ Den
- Actual Pitch is Much Longer – The editors and producers cut out most of the pitch and air / publish only enough to keep the audience glued to their seats. My pitch was about 25 minutes but they edited it down to 4 minutes (they cut out almost 85% of it!).
- They will make it Dramatic – Damn, they got me every time I had a nervous look on my face. They will get you too – better yet they will add dramatic music to make it look even worse.
- Dragons’ are Wearing Headphones – Dragons’ get instructed by the producers to do certain things. For example, be rude or compliment the business owner.
- They will cut out most brand names – To prevent copyrights or risk of getting suied they will take out any big-name clients that you may have. Therefore, try to pitch your company in a way where it looks good even when you can’t show off the names of your clients.
I hope all of this information will help you get on Dragons’ den and give you ideas on how to make the most of it! Please comment below if you have more questions!