How to pitch to tech journalists | Tech PR |

The boring pitch

In most cases nobody cares that your company has a new CFO or has signed a  partnership with another company nobody has heard of. At a minimum, you need to  tell us why this news is significant. Better still consider more carefully what  you decide to publicize and if it’s really of interest to anyone outside your  company. An interesting piece of news may get lost in your deluge of press  releases.


The rocket scientist pitch

Tech journalists are rarely experts in all areas of technology (or sometimes  in any areas). If you send a pitch full of technical language about  ultracapacitors, sodium silicide, or hybrid TDM we may simply have no idea  what you are talking about. Assume that we know nothing and first explain the  basics of the technology and why it’s important in order to set the context for  your news.


The never-ending pitch

Entrepreneurs promoting their own companies are particularly prone to this  one. Starting a company is a difficult and all-consuming business so it’s not  surprising that you want to tell us, in excruciating detail, how wonderful  your product is and how much effort went into building it. The problem is if we  if we are not immediately hooked after the first sentence, we will already  have hit delete.


The buzzword bingo pitch

PRs are more likely than entrepreneurs to indulge in the buzzword bingo  pitch. If your pitch contains the words “game-changing”, “disruptive”, “paradigm-shift” or “innovative” you are guilty as charged. Assume that all  pitches contain these words so if you want to stand out try to avoid them.

The world of the tech journalist must seem like a mysterious one to the  outsider. How to attract the attention of these fickle creatures? Having  catalogued the many ways of doing a bad pitch, here are some pointers on how the  tech journalist’s mind works and how to pitch accordingly.


Know your journalist(s)

One of the easiest ways for your pitch to get attention is if you know the  journalist personally or have dealt with him before. That’s just human nature.  We are always more likely to pay attention to pitches from people we know over  those we don’t. Mark Hendrickson’s post on how to pitch to a tech blogger makes the excellent  suggestion of building up a relationship with your target journalist well before  you pitch to him, e.g. by commenting on or linking to his posts.

Assuming that you are cold pitching, do some research. Don’t pitch a  story on games to a journalist who doesn’t cover games. Familiarize  yourself with your target journalist’s work. “I enjoyed your article on x.. so  thought you might be interested in y” is always a good tactic. People enjoy  flattery even when they don’t believe it.


Be clear about the priorities of your target publication. Some sites  prioritize being first to break a story above all else. Others are more  interested in deep technical detail or analysis in addition to raw news.


Tell us what we want to know, quickly

There are a few basic things we need to know. Make your subject line clear  and try to cover these points in a paragraph or two.


Urgency: Why should we write about this topic now? Significance: Why write about this company versus all the others out  there? This doesn’t just mean competitors, but the entire universe of companies  we could choose to write about instead. Numbers: What’s the concrete evidence of business traction?


Be honest

If you have already been covered in another publication, tell us, and then  explain why we should still cover you in spite of this. If your news is  embargoed for a specific time, tell us. There’s no reason why we should have to  drag that information out of you. We will probably also want to know if you are  pitching to other publications at the same time. Deception may help get you  coverage once but you won’t get it a second time. Build a long-term  relationship, not a one night stand.


Make it easy for us

We are lazy. Minimize our workload by supplying a press pack with some nice  photos or infographics. Write your press release or report so well that we  can just cut and paste parts of it (yes, we do this sometimes). Another good  tactic is a  video such as ZenRobotics hilariously off the wall “movie  trailer”.


Make your pitch more than an ad

Some of my favourite pitches tell a story that will interest an audience  wider than the potential customers of, or investors in, your company. Good  examples are Saplo’s text  analysis of happiness or AVG’s  study on kids and technology. A pitch which is playful and piquant will  always attract attention.


Tech journalists are like restaurant critics. We write about magical  technology and fascinating people every day. Our palates may become jaded.  Surprise and delight us and you are half way there.