Coronavirus: Tips When Pitching Journalists

Covid-19 is dominating the news headlines right now. Rightly so. Thousands have died – and it’s clear we’re in the beginning of a health crisis with the frightening potential to get much, much worse. Pitching journalists during Coronavirus has it challenges and many journalists are starting to shift their story coverage.

And predictably, tech publicists are trying to figure out where they stand. Having spoken to journalists and publicists alike, it’s obvious there’s a sense of panic in the industry, particularly as events are rescheduled and launches deferred.

This trepidation is also apparent in pitching. A cursory scroll through Twitter produces dozens of tweets from journalists (often amused, but sometimes outraged) who have received outreach tenuously linking Covid-19 to a client. In terms of optics, it’s pretty bad – not just for the client, but also for the publicist, who ends up looking opportunistic.

That being said, there are still places where the tech PR industry can add value during this crisis and do so without compromising their integrity. 

Can your client offer expert comment? As mentioned, COVID-19 has already disrupted the tech sector, with some parts – like supply chains for the consumer sector – particularly at risk. Being able to offer clarity, not least during a fraught environment, where information is often contradictory and filled with speculation.

On that note, data is always welcome – particularly when it’s well-sourced and relevant. Don’t try and make the data directly about your brand, however. Let it speak for itself. Journalists are like bloodhounds. They can smell shameless opportunism a mile away and won’t be afraid to burn you on Twitter. 

There’s a place for review units. Coronavirus or coronavirus, the show must go on. And if you’re representing a product in the healthcare space, or one with the ability to help newly-minted home workers, now is your time to shine.

In conclusion, be helpful and honest. Your clients and the journalists will thank you later.

Oh, and wash your hands.