…or at least not getting deleted instantly.
One Social Media Week LA session I attended had tech reporters from VentureBeat, Mashable, LA Business Journal and the Los Angeles Times discuss the LA startup scene and how nobody else is Silicon Valley but it doesn’t matter because every place is special in its own way (cue hopeful fuzzies). The conversation lead to how to get their attention (they get several pitches a day), and they each vented their pet peeves.
Here’s a list I compiled on what business owners should do when trying to reach these tech influencers:
- Do your homework. Natalie Jarvey from the LA Business Journal made the point that she covers LA-specific companies. She doesn’t want to hear about an SF startup because that’s not relevant to her readers. So figure out the target audience is (hint: read the publication for an extended period of time and it’ll become very clear) to find out if the story you’re pitching will work.
- Email > Voicemail. Who cold calls anymore anyway? Emails are more comfortable. Plus, these busy journalists cannot do a quick search to remind themselves of your name or when you reached out with a voicemail. If you want to remain on their files, send an email. Grabbing a coffee together is even better.
- Spelling. When you send an email, make sure you spell the person’s name correctly. Just do a quick double-check because they’ll obviously notice right away if their own name is spelled wrong—or just wrong, period.
- Email formatting. Does your email have multiple fonts, sizes, colors, etc? That’s distracting and unprofessional, so be aware of how the final letter looks if you pasted it together from multiple sources. Keep it clean and simple.
- Your pitch. This goes back to the doing your homework thing, but realize what exactly you are suggesting to these writers. Dean Takahashi gave a couple examples that he’s received, including the suggestion to cover a company that another publication recently covered or include a company in a trends piece that’s already been written. Help these writers get excited about covering something new and relevant to their target communities with your unique point of view.