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Reaching the right tech journalist at the right time with the right message is kind of like gambling. You’ve identified the right person, you’ve made sure the information you’re sharing is relevant and timely and yet you didn’t hear back. There can be many reasons WHY you didn’t receive a response to your pitch but most often it’s because what you thought you did well was, in fact, not what journalists were actually looking for. One of the most difficult groups to reach is tech media professionals and there’s no shortage of opportunity to find the most relevant person to work with.
I recently spoke with 4 tech journalists across various publications to understand what kinds of stories they write and, in turn, what kinds of pitches you should be crafting to reach them.
“I’m usually looking either for customers or for people with unique backgrounds, such as advisers to government agencies or developers of top open-source projects. Those people are rarely offered as sources, and I haven’t found a source that makes them easy to identify.
I look for people with a deep background that goes beyond their current employer, preferably people who have worked in academia or the public sector or who have been extensive experience on the user side. For example, I interviewed one security expert who was the former CISO at Bank of America and another who had been a senior White House adviser in the Obama administration. I also like to speak to people who have spearheaded major open source projects, like Doug Cutting, who works for Cloudera but who was the principal architect of Hadoop.”
Paul Gillin is the Enterprise Editor at SiliconAngle. His articles focus on B2B Enterprise topics including cloud computing, big data and software-defined infrastructure.
“I’m primarily looking for pitches from companies that are public (or are looking to IPO in the nearish-future) or that have some sort of innovative market-changing technology that competes against current public companies, or individuals who have specific macroeconomic (especially for smaller economies like Poland) or industry expertise. Having information about market opportunity and a brief sentence about competition as well as what’s unique about the company’s product/service offerings would be helpful to have in the pitch.”
Steven’s contributing articles have a focus on “non-mainstream ETFs and international economies” on seeking Alpha. His profile mentions an offer to cover reports on markets and countries, if interested.
“Most pitches that miss the mark for me are either too far outside my specific beat of audio/video coverage, or they lack a significant “what’s in it for my readers?” angle. I.e. if you’re pitching me true wireless earbuds right now, they had better be some sweet damned buds — the market is saturated and even the big brands are having trouble breaking through.
My inbox is a non-stop feed. Sadly that means I have about 10 seconds to determine if a pitch is worth investigating. A lot of the time, the subject line alone determines an email’s fate. If you nail the subject line, the next thing I need is a pitch with an expert-level understanding of the product/service being presented, and the market in which it is competing. That means creating the very best story about the product/service that you can, preferably with at least one killer image (I’m just like my readers — photos will get me every time).”
Simon is a contributor for DigitalTrends where he focuses on B2C stories for “a general consumer audience.” Many of the same stories written on DigitalTrends competes against the likes of CNET and WiRED Magazine.
“We work with specific storylines, all of which can be seen on Authority Magazine’s Medium page. If the pitch does not relate to any of these, then we won’t be able to accept it. The best way to pitch to us is to use the form at this link. That form sends us pitches in the format that aligns with our beat.”
Yitzi Weiner is the founder and Editor in Chief of Authority Magazine and the CEO of the Thought Leader Incubator (TLI) which shares insights and practical advice from influential business leaders. TLI helps clients, “write high level content,” in tandem with thought leaders which are then dispersed to nearly a million readers.
In summary, it’s important to do your homework and research pertinent information relating to the journalist(s) you plan to work with. Each individual has their own criteria for how they write stories and in turn what kinds of information they need upfront to determine if a pitch is worthy of their time. Be mindful of the industry, topic, and composition of stories when you are researching and start to craft pitches that mimic how those stories are written.
For more insight on tech media professionals, check out this episode of Coffee With A Journalist featuring Polina Marinova from Fortune Magazine.