I recently went to the PubClub’s “meet the media” event – Tech Panel: Pitching High Tech Reporters featuring Mike Farrell of the Boston Globe, Greg Gomer of BostInno, Maryfran Johnson of CIO magazine, Dan Primack of Fortune, and Dan Rowinski of ReadWrite. Whether you are newer to the profession like me, or a grizzled veteran, there is always something new to learn about how to best pitch tech reporters.
Here are my takeaways:
Have an interesting subject line headline AND first pitch line. For those journalists who have email that allows them to see the subject line, what you write might be enough to inspire a story.
Make sure you know reporters with whom your client already has a relationship. Simple advice, but PR pros trying to prove they have the right relationships may never ask.
Pitch beyond the editorial calendar. Giving a journalist a great idea outside of mandated ed cals can catch their eye and let them know you’re following news trends. Be creative!
Follow reporters on social media. Tweets, status updates and comments can potentially grow into story ideas and you can better grab reporters’ attention. Primack specifically said “If you see I’m tweeting a lot or responding to comments, engage me there. If I don’t respond to you, then you’ll know with a certainty that I’m not interested.” Understanding what motivates journalists to share on social media can help you understand how to best approach them. If a reporter is active on Twitter, Facebook or other social media outlets, use that to your advantage and pitch them there rather than by email or phone.
Assume your pitch is important enough for the editor-in-chief; that’s a recipe for disaster. Instead pitch the proper beat reporter. Your news will have a higher chance of getting a response.
Send lengthy email pitches; they will usually be ignored. Keep it short and sweet. Any email pitch longer than 200-to-300 words will get deleted.
Send an unformatted email pitch. Anything you can do to catch a reporter’s attention, do it! Bold it! Underline it! Italicize it!
Be afraid to send images with your pitch. Infographics and other images are a welcome way to spice up what can be deemed as another generic/boring email pitch.
Tech reporters receive dozens, if not hundreds, of pitches every day from PR people. Follow these do’s and don’ts to make your pitch stand out.