Pitching tips for tech execs

Consumers crave the latest and greatest gadgets and electronics, so trends in this niche often warrant coverage. Here’s how you can make headlines.

Want to win over consumers and garner attention for your brand?

Go high-tech.

The technology sector is rapidly gaining traction with a variety of audiences. Media relations professionals are turning technology trends into noteworthy pitches for reporters to pounce on.

When implementing your own successful media relations strategy, consider these tips, derived from a recent Affect survey.

1. Watch trends; pitch accordingly.

Like technology itself, the topics reporters choose to cover can quickly change.

From Crenshaw Communications account supervisor Michelle Han:

Tech products evolve quickly. Even a small update can make news, particularly if it’s indicative of a trend. Combine a smart update with a savvy PR team, and you could earn strong coverage.

Heidi Klum sums that up best in her “Project Runway” mantra:

One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.

To avoid sending an outdated pitch, survey data suggest proposing an original take on trending news and steering clear of buzzwords.

From Affect:

Publications stay relevant by reporting on trending news or new findings. Surprising, shocking or counterintuitive data will generally pique a reporter’s interest. For example, the topic “employee engagement” has been written about ad nauseam, but reporters say that sharing new research about the lack or increase of employee engagement or how technology is alleviating that concern would make the topic worth covering.

If you must pitch content that reporters are tired of hearing, omit buzzwords. Doing so will freshen up your pitch. CONFERENCE: The Employee Communications, PR and Social Media Summit at Microsoft HQ!

2. Data are your most valuable asset; use them.

In tech, facts and stats rule.

Use them to garner attention and promote your brand.

Here’s how the survey suggests you do that:

If your company has proprietary data (perhaps as a result of your technology, customers or operations) that’s the best way to ensure [coverage]. If you don’t have that type of data, commission a study with a third party. A survey or research project in collaboration with an outside vendor can have more credibility and strength if the number of respondents is larger or the third-party is well respected.

Data are credible and often convincing on their own, but they can also be used in storytelling.

From Affect senior vice president, Melissa Baratta:

You want data to tell a good story. It should tie back to one main theme that helps prove a point, or illustrates or counters a trend everyone is talking about. Don’t try to cram in too many data points. [That could] confuse the audience or take them off on tangents. Data should be shared in a way that’s easy to understand, such as with a visual or a written analysis. Readers don’t want to sift through pages of tables to understand the point of your story.

Use familiar storytelling techniques such as a detailed product history or insight from the organization’s founder to propel a pitch forward.

3. Know what and whom you’re pitching.

Here’s where a solid PR program can come into play. Use your contacts, define your parameters, and hone your message.

From Han:

Earning coverage in the top-tier tech press is a mainstay for any technology PR program. In some ways, pitching tech is more straightforward than working with mass media or consumer lifestyle publications, since the parameters for what tech journalists cover are more specific and well defined.

Research a variety of publications before landing on a specific reporter to pitch. A seasoned PR pro can assist with collecting background.

Don’t have any contacts in the niche you’re after? Pitch someone new, but use caution.

From the survey:

Only send pitches to the reporters who are responsible for that coverage area. Read the articles they write, learn about their audience, get a sense of what they cover, who the reporters really are and what might interest their readers. If you’re ever in doubt of who covers what, call and ask the editorial department.

Baratta recommends that once you’ve nailed down a topic, you should scour various publications’ websites for stories on that same topic.

Then, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would they cover related trends?

  • Has my angle already been covered?

  • Do they usually use contributors or staff writers?

If everything looks like a fit, move forward with drafting your customized pitch.

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