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tips for pitching editors Forbes recently reported that 68% of reporters are unhappy with the pitches they get from corporate communications and PR types.

Here are four pitching sins I see almost every day, with my suggested improvement in italics.

Sin #1: Vagueness

“Hi, Bob –

I wanted to touch base to see if you would be interested in a company update briefing with *****, the leading provider of next generation ****** solutions. ***** We have an upcoming announcement and would love to brief you…”

Instead tell me what you’re announcing, how it’s new and different and why it’s important to the customer. For example, “Next week, we are announcing a service that slashes and cost and complexity of securing mobile devices through a new, lightweight encryption protocol. We’re also announcing a distribution deal with AT&T to spur adoption…” 

Sin #2: Tech for Tech’s Sake

 “**** has announced the availability of its much anticipated new rugged handheld…with better overall performance with an astonishingly bright display, an extra-long battery life, enhanced GPS capabilities, and rugged IP68 construction.”

Better, cheaper, better…yadda yadda yadda. This sounds more like a bill of materials than an exciting story about what readers can do with the new device. How about “For years, roughnecks in North Dakota’s oil country have struggled to place rush orders for critical drilling equipment due to dim screens, inaccurate GPS readings and failing batteries on their handhelds. Soon, their orders will arrive more quickly and drilling will go easier due to the ease of use, brighter screen, extended battery life and enhanced GPS capabilities of our new…”

Sin #3: Good for us, we’re at a trade show.

“Joe Doakes, CEO of Transformative Solutions, has been selected to speak at The Global Transformation Forum on “The Role of Software-Defined Networks in Enabling Next Generation Solutions in the Internet of Things.” Transformative Solutions will also be displaying at booth #422 in the Hotel Mediocre…”

And I care…why? Wait until you’ve drafted his speech (and he approved it) so your pitch can summarize what he will say and why it matters to customers or the industry. Even better: How about a link that will send me his presentation after the speech, making it easier for me to write about it? Or even a link to a video of his speech so I can help it go viral if I find it compelling? 

Sin #4: Bearing false witness.

One virtualization vendor sent an email promising “Five tips for evaluating software-defined storage.” They included:

  1. Does Software-Defined Storage work?

“Yes. Convergence of compute and storage and software-defined storage has been field-proven in leading companies…”

  1. Does Software-Defined Storage make sense for me?

“…there are few IT environments where these benefits are not desirable.”

  1. Am I capable of implementing Software-Defined Storage?

“Software-defined storage is simple to implement and configure…in most cases, a single administrator can manage both compute and storage resources.”

  1. Can I use my existing storage and servers to deploy Software-Defined Storage?

“Yes. Software-defined storage solutions should seamlessly co-exist with the existing infrastructure…”

Sounds like a not-very thinly disguised product pitch, doesn’t it? If your subject line promises “honest” advice you have to provide it to get the interest you want. Answer real questions such as “Is software-defined storage a good idea for a company that lacks a dedicated storage admin?” “Is everyone really capable of implementing it equally well?” Are the standards mature enough to avoid vendor lock-in?”

 And if you’re really serious about reforming your pitches, check out these five phrases that drive most editors to the “delete” key.

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.

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