Landing your pitch in the sweet spot of even one A-list tech outlet can justify your entire budget for the quarter.
That’s why the strike zone is so tight.
Here are three common reasons why PR pitches miss the mark—and simple solutions for getting yours over the plate:
1. Forcing trend pitches. Tech reporters are constantly on the lookout for trends. That’s why they attend more industry conferences than others: Products and developments are frequently unveiled at confabs such as CES.
That doesn’t mean journalists want every PR pitch to be a trend pitch.
“We get so many of those and they’re often forced,” says Lisa Johnston, digital editor at Twice. “We need it to be more organic. We understand you want to insert a client into the larger story, but it’s just not always possible.”
Her advice is to share data and trends without editorializing or explaining how your company fits in. Leave that to the reporter, and see what develops.
Beyond that, the best way to stay on top of tech trends is to study what topics media outlets are covering—or what they plan on covering in the months ahead.
“Check out our editorial calendar,” she says. “If you pitch us based on what you see there, it more likely to be organic and not forced.” Next month, for example, Twice is covering wearables, smart clothes and smart homes.
Register for PR Daily’s Feb. 16 “Consumer Tech Pitch Tank” webinar for more tips from Engadget’s Daniel Cooper, Damon Beres at Mashable, David Freeman at NBCNews.com, Lisa Johnston at Twice and David Hamilton at The Associated Press.
2. Not having images ready. “Not sending a high-res image could cost you,” Johnston says. “Last week, for example, we were closing on our issue and giving an award to a company—but they couldn’t provide an image for their product. I grabbed something from their website and ran it half as large as I wanted to.”
Don’t get left out, she says. “Be responsive when we ask for images. Respond immediately. You should be able to do so within minutes.”
The best way to send images is still attachments. “It should be between two and five megabytes,” Johnston says. “If that’s not possible, a link to DropBox will work. During CES, for example, my inbox kept shutting down because I received so many attachments. During a tradeshow like CES, don’t send attachments, because we’ll all be dealing with the same issue.”
She warns against sending images that include corporate logos or writing over or across the image.
“Also remember that we need to be able to see the product,” she says. “For example, you might use a big lifestyle shot with the product buried somewhere. That means we have to crop it to zoom on the product, and that takes more time, reducing the chances we use your image.”
The tips don’t end there. “If your product has a screen like a TV or a tablet does, make sure to put something on the screen,” Johnston says. “You have to show us some color.”
Many tech sites, including Twice, like to run infographics.
“Our readers engage with them and they add color to the site,” Johnston says. “One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the text has to be quite large. Readers are increasingly on mobile, so they have to be able to read it on their phones.”
3. Misunderstanding exclusivity. “I recently worked with a PR person on a column contributed to our ‘Executive Insight’ blog,” Johnston says. “He submitted it, and I required that it couldn’t run anywhere else other than the company’s own site.”
He apparently misunderstood. “He re-pitched it later to other outlets, then re-pitched it back to me a week later,” she says. “I told him we already ran it, but the experience left the bad taste of ‘mass pitching’ in my mouth.”
The point: “If you’re supplying content from your exec or client,” Johnston says, “please work out the details on exclusivity first.”
Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Damon Beres at Mashable, Daniel Cooper at Engadget, David Freeman at NBCNews.com, David Hamilton at The Associated Press and Lisa Johnston at Twice will share more tech trends and pitching tips in PR University’s Feb. 16 webinar, “Consumer Tech Pitch Tank: Editors Share New Story Trends andPlacement Secrets.”