Posted by: beckbamberger | December 16, 2008

PR pitching tips for Tech companies

Marketing Sherpa shares a nugget of info from Kerry Dolan, a senior editor at Forbes who covers tech. Here are here pitching tips:

Dolan says that about two-thirds of her story ideas come from PR pitches or contacts. Here are some tips for pitching her.

Tip #1. Use email

Dolan prefers email pitches. “I’m always working on a couple different things at the same time,” she says. “That’s why I prefer email — because I’ll get back to the person whenever I can.”

Tip #2. Read her articles before pitching

Dolan prefers pitches from people who read her articles in advance; you should have a sense of her topics and angles.

Tip #3. Stop pitching if a competing publication published the story

Dolan wants exclusives – stories that Forbes’ competition haven’t run. Forbes considers their competitors to be The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fortune, and national weeklies, such as Newsweek.

“We don’t want to have our readers feel like they’ve read some version of the story somewhere else,” she says.

Tip #4. Pitch topics of interest

Innovation in biotechnology and promising new drugs interest Dolan. But she only writes about drugs in the human trial phase.

She also is more interested in innovative technologies than policy dealing with clean technology. “We’re looking for a good tale about why the technology is going to change a particular industry or, if it’s more about an entrepreneur, how the person was able to come up with an idea for the company.”

People read Forbes because they’re looking for investment ideas or they want to learn from the successes and failures of other businesses. “We prefer that there’s some kind of lesson in our stories,” says Dolan. “And, if not, then an investment angle.”

Tip #5. Be prepared to provide numbers and access

Be prepared to discuss revenue, profits, and losses, whether your company is public or private. If a company is a small startup, Dolan recognizes that it may not be profitable yet. And, if it’s a venture-backed company, it probably doesn’t have revenue either. She takes that into account.

Dolan typically speaks with the CEOs of companies she writes about. “We know it takes a team to run a company,” she says. “But we can’t always talk to the whole team or write about the whole team, so very often the story of the CEO or the founder of the company is the backbone of the story we’re writing.”

Dolan prefers to meet and interview CEOs where they work. She prefers an hour-long interview and wants to walk around the plant or company headquarters.

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