Part 3 - An Interview with a Journalist: What is the “perfect” pitch?
Is there really such a thing as the “perfect” pitch? It seems like every reporter looks for different things when they read through a pitch. Can you blame them, though? They’re people just like us and are allowed to have different opinions after all. This being said, at Command Partners we want to get as close to the perfect pitch as we can to make it easier for the reporter and to build lasting relationships. Each week, we take a couple of reporters from national publications to pick their brain on the perfect pitch to help secure coverage for our clients.
This time, our featured journalists come from Engadget, Gizmag and Digital Trends. These are some of the top tech publications in the country and have a huge outreach and influence on their reader. As a writer for Engadget, Brian Heater is a jack of all trades. He covers mostly tech products and also writes for Tech Times. Stu Robarts is our contact at Gizmag who covers new and emerging technology. Julian Chokkattu is a writer for Digital Trends who gets to check out some of the coolest new wearables and smartphones on the market for a living.
Here’s what they had to say.
Are you more likely to respond to a pitch from someone you have a relationship with rather than a stranger, or does it just depend on the pitch/content?
The consensus: While having a relationship with the reporter does help, a good product and pitch is key
Brian Heater: Sure. I mean, I scan subject lines, but I'm more likely to give another look when the person has a good track record with pitches. But obviously the product is the most important thing.
Stu Robarts: Whether or not I pursue the pitch is based entirely on the content.
Julian Chokkattu: I always respond to people I have a relationship with, if the product is interesting, I'll respond to strangers.
Do you like your pitches short and sweet (two or three sentences long) or more in depth with all necessary information and facts?
The consensus: Short and sweet
Stu Robarts: I find that it's useful to have a summary paragraph followed by a full press release either in the body or attached. I also like to have a link to Dropbox, Google Drive or similar where I can download images. I prefer to be able to access all the materials I will need quickly.
Julian Chokkattu: Short and sweet with some pictures, and if I'm interested I'll reach out for more info.
Is there a certain time that you like to be pitched? (morning, afternoon, beginning of the week, end of the week?)
The consensus: Morning and early in the week are bes
Stu Robarts: Whenever.
Julian Chokkattu: Mornings and afternoons during the weekdays are the best times.
Brian Heater: Morning, early to mid-week.
Are you more likely to reply to a pitch if you can tell the person has done their research and references your previous work?
The consensus: It doesn’t necessarily matter
Stu Robarts: I'm only interested in whether the pitch is relevant for the site I'm writing for (typically Gizmag) and the topic I write on. Obviously if someone sends me something that fits what I tend to write about then I'm more likely to take it on.
Julian Chokkattu: Looking at my previous work isn't that necessary, mentioning it can help in helping me determine what exactly your product will be about.
Brian Heater: No.
How do you feel about embargoed stories- do you appreciate them or are they just a pain to squeeze in?
The consensus: Embargoes are good, but have the time to do interviews and send additional information
Stu Robarts: They are no problem for me - I just plan them in for a day in the future.
Julian Chokkattu: Embargoed stories are fine, gives me time to work on them, but too often it feels like I'm just rehashing a press release. Definitely need proper interviews beforehand so we can delve into the product more instead of just spitting out the basic news.
Brian Heater: Embargoes are super helpful.
Looking back on these answers, it is easy to see that everyone has their own opinions about the perfect pitch. However, for each question there is some overlap that is able to provide us with valuable information. With so many different publications out there and dozens, if not hundreds of journalists at each, reaching each of these personally takes time and effort.
That is why Command Partners exists- we do all the hard stuff for you so all you need to do is watch your funding go up. Contact us if you have any questions or are interested in utilizing the relationships we have with publications to secure press for your company and/or product.