After months blogging, podcasting, video-casting, Twittering and who knows-what-elsing, it’s a pleasure to do some old-fashioned reporting for my InfoWorld series on cloud computing. Reporting means, of course, getting pitches from PR professionals, and seeing how many of them could be improved.

 

Following the advice below will help prevent wasted time for you and your clients; avoid your having to explain why their interview didn’t result in a mention in the story, and raise your credibility with reporters and editors for when you REALLY have a good pitch.

 

1)      If the reporter asks questions in his query, answer them, at least briefly, in your response, and back up your answer with specifics. “Yes, my client has seen a spike in interest in cloud computing due to the recession, can explain exactly why this has happened and can refer you to two customers who can back up what he says.”

 

2)      Just because your vendor’s products are used in a space doesn’t mean the vendor can comment on my specific angle. For recent stories on specific angles — cloud computing management and how to protect yourself if your cloud vendor goes under –I got pitches from vendors in  the backup/recovery, security, data migration, data center management, and virtualization markets, with no explanation of how they would fit into my story. Unless we’ve both agreed it’s an introductory/informational interview these interviews don’t move me closer to a finished story and, again, will leave your client asking “Why did I waste my time with that reporter” If you’re pitching for a specific story, tell me what your source can offer.

 

3)      Just because your client is a biggie in the industry, don’t assume I want or need to talk to them. I recently got a one or two sentence pitch from a rep for a veddy, veddy big vendor mentioning the name of the exec and asking if I’d like to talk. Again (hmmm, am I repeating myself here?) give me a preview of what the source has to say about my subject.

 

It goes without saying there are fewer and fewer trade pubs all the time, fewer story opportunities and fewer reporters and editors. If a reporter is asking specific questions, take advantage of that information and grill your source about how they’ll answer them before pitching them.

 

Hope this helps and to all my PR friends, keep pitching — just be specific and answer my questions.  

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Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Filed under: PR/Marketing Trends

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