Ever asked someone to prom and been turned down? Or not received an answer at all?
That’s sort of like being in tech PR—we’re constantly facing rejection from media.
Truth is, tech journalists must sift through hundreds or thousands of
bad pitches every day to find the best stories.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, well-established and popular brands like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google have the luxury of receiving inbound media requests.
Truth is, even small tech startups can earn the trust of the media such that they reach out to you for comments, information, data, or expertise. So how do you get there?
Always offer journalists something unique and valuable
Rather than engaging with journalists for its own news, Onavo (disclosure: a client) offers media independent research and data on mobile app performance and trends. Just last week, Onavo Insights data was cited by several leading publications:
- The Economist — Google buys Waze: Street plan
- VentureBeat — Twitter’s Vine is killing it, but #music dropped 62% in May
- GigaOm — Chrome, Vine, Yahoo use on the rise for iOS users
- TechCrunch — What’s Fueling Growth In The Fragmented World Of Messaging Apps? Immigrants.
- Bloomberg News — Google Buys Waze in Push to Expand in Mobile Mapping
- The Wall Street Journal — Google Sees Payoff From Its iPhone Strategy: Report WSJ
- Bloomberg Businessweek — Google Is Said to Be Acquiring Waze for $1.1 Billion
- Advertising Age — Rise of WhatsApp Could Slow Facebook’s Quest for Mobile Growth
Even if you can’t provide this kind of data to journalists, you’ll have to find the unique way you can be helpful to journalists (even when there’s no explicit focus on your company or product).
Here are some ways you can become a resource to media:
- Offer exclusives. We all like feeling special, so try to offer a highly-relevant and unique story to just one journalist. It shows that you understand and value the journalists’ work and they’re much more likely to be receptive to future pitches.
- Be an expert. If you or your client are the preeminent expert on a particular subject, find out about which journalists write about that topic (I highly recommend IT Database for this) and offer some expertise. Comment on the journalists’ posts, tweet them out (and mention the writer by name), provide an alternative perspective via email if they ever want to do a follow-up. If you have data or research to back it up, even better.
- Connect them with experts and insiders. In your discourse with journalists, offer to connect them with experts whose insight, expertise, or research may be valuable to them (even if it’s unrelated to your product or company). Industry analysts, authors, researchers, etc. are usually happy to be connected with press to offer their thoughts (be sure to check first) and journalists are usually happy to receive credible expertise.
- Don’t pitch and ditch. Last but not least, don’t let communication with journalists die after they’ve declined a pitch or after the story has been published. If they declined, ask if there’s any resources (see above) they may need for upcoming articles—you may have an opportunity down the line. If they published, remember to thank journalists for their time and work, point out the things you really like, and be sure to cross-promote coverage across social media and on your blog to help drive traffic to the article. Always ask journalists if there’s any tactic that works well to drive traffic to their site.
Remember: tech media expects you to pitch your product or company and then go away (at least until your next announcement) so switch it up and find new ways to be continually useful and valuable to journalists. If you keep these four tactics in mind when you’re communicating with journalists, you’ll be on your way to becoming a trusted and valuable resource—and soon, they’ll be calling you.