For top B2B PR firms, approaching reporters and tech influencers carries a great deal of responsibility. You want to make sure you’re representing both your agency and your client well, and a top-notch pitch is the best way to do it. There are some small measures that can maximize efforts to B2B technology media. Here are eight tips and tricks to form positive relationships with top B2B tech reporters and influencers with the goal of getting a story.
Make it short. Then make it shorter.
When pitching top tech reporters, like most media, it’s best to be short and sweet. This starts with subject lines, which should be quick and punchy. The pitches themselves should ideally be under 100 words and to the point. It’s also helpful to avoid marketing jargon. If a reporter opens your email and sees a lot of text, they may not even read it. They get hundreds of email pitches each day and are under no obligation to look at yours. So before creating a pitch, understand exactly what the news is and how you want to package it to catch their immediate attention.
Pitch the right people
Pitching the right media gives you credibility and ensures that you aren’t wasting your client’s time. For instance, you wouldn’t pitch an ad tech reporter a story about cybersecurity. They’re two completely different verticals, and pitching the wrong beat shows that you didn’t do your research. As a result, they will likely pass on your client, and also ignore other pitches from you in the future, even if they’re actually relevant.
Sell your client deftly
While the topic you’re engaging on is the meat of a pitch (and what’s likely to get a journalist interested), it’s important to invoke your client in a way that feels organic to the offer. So the best pitches will both be an interesting topic worth covering, as well as offering a credible spokesperson to speak to that topic. It’s this balance that will put you across the finish line. A simple offer to have coffee with the founder of a hot new technology company just isn’t enough.
Know the outlet’s audience
Obviously you want to know about the reporter you’re pitching. But understanding the outlet’s audience will assure you’re sharing something of interest to their readers. For example, you know that TechCrunch often covers general B2B tech, so it’s unlikely that their readers would care about a new gaming technology on the horizon. Take the time to read various writers (on top of who you’re pitching) at a given publication. This will give you insight into the types of people who are likely to read the story that you’re pitching.
Follow-up — but don’t nag
There’s a chance a reporter will miss your email entirely, so it’s important to follow up with them. It’s also not uncommon to get a response on the second try. After the third try, however, it’s best to move on to other targets, as they’re likely not interested. When following up, note that there’s a difference between a friendly reminder and being overly aggressive. So choose your words and tone wisely, and keep in mind that any sort of aggression could turn off the reporter.
Always have a call-to-action
At the end of your pitch, there should always be a call to action that the reporters can respond to — whether it’s “see below for the full release” or “let me know if you’d like me to put you in touch for an interview”. Prompting the reporter to take some kind of action puts the “next steps” in their head and makes the whole thing worth it. If a CTA is missing from a pitch, you’re not giving the recipient any reason to respond.
Pay attention to details
Little details can make or break a pitch. Since reporters and editors often have a keen eye, something as minor as a spelling or grammatical error (or something as big as getting a date/time/fact wrong) could turn them off entirely. I like to send a quick note of thanks after a story is published. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way in building a relationship.
Everyone has busy schedules. Many top B2B tech reporters interview multiple people each day for a wide range of stories. If you pitch a specific angle, but then the reporter comes back and says they’re working on a story about a different topic, it’s up to you to determine if there’s a way to make it relevant to your client. Pitches are basically a way in the door. If the reporter has other ideas for a story angle, be open-minded. There’s often a way to turn it into a win for your client.« Crisis PR Lessons From The Iowa Caucus | 20 Cybersecurity Reporters To Follow On Twitter »