It seems like almost every client nowadays has a ‘break-through technology’ in one form or another, so the question is how communications professionals capture the attention of mainstream technology reporters in today’s cluttered media landscape.
While there is no perfect answer, there are some basic rules and tips we typically adhere to with tech reporters to help pique their interest.
At the very core, any reporter’s job is storytelling. This leads many communications professionals to believe that the more relevant information they include in a pitch, the better. Wrong! The problem with this way of thinking is that you end up focusing on the technical content when you should be focused on the potential applications for your client’s solutions, the specific challenges they address and, most importantly, the commercial benefits they deliver for end user organisations.
In addition, top-tier technology reporters in particular look at the motivation behind a pitch. Most are more interested in “stories”, not products, so it becomes a case of how your pitch can support their story and help their readers.
Of course, the hardest part for PR pros is to determine exactly which aspects of their pitch will capture the reporter’s attention. With that in mind, we’ve outlined what we believe are the most important elements in a strong tech pitch:
- Interesting pitches turn into interesting stories. A pitch MUST be positioned as something new – a new way to solve a problem, debunk a myth, or overcome a common issue. Likewise, the desired outcome should be a new way of thinking for readers to consider.
- Timeliness. Even a strong story will fall on deaf ears if it has been told before or the conversation has moved on. This is why it’s vital to tie a pitch into news covered recently by your target publication and demonstrate how the client’s story progresses it.
- Present an interesting angle. Tech reporters immediately tune out of stories that sound like sales pitches. They are looking more for a technical narrative – i.e. the challenges of technology and software. In short, the pitch angle should focus on a specific problem that the client’s technology solution seeks to address.
- Use demos, mock-ups, or a visual aide. Just like stats and third-party research, these tools can help to enhance a pitch. A tech reporter wants to see how the technology you are pitching actually works and sometimes presenting your pitch visually can give you the best chance of getting noticed – particularly where broadcast or online media is concerned.
While there is no special sauce or formula that can guarantee your tech pitch will get noticed, the above guidelines can certainly provide you with the edge. What’s more, keep in mind these reporters receive hundreds of pitches a day, so it’s up to PR pros to ensure we take the time needed to help our clients stand out.