Guest post by Jonathon Narvey, Founder of Mind Meld PR, a sponsor for NVBC.
Whether you’ve won a competition like New Ventures BC, secured major funding from investors or just are on the verge of launching an incredible product, you’ve got news. But how do you go about sharing it?
Not everyone has a tech journalist on their speed dial. Fortunately, you don’t need that. A lot of PR firms brag about the relationships they have with reporters. Well, great. But you don’t actually need that.
To win coverage, the main challenge is learning what makes reporters tick, what makes them jump on a story or… not.
Most journalists swear by the five W’s (who, what, when, where and why). Think of it as a formula where the answers to those six questions equal the news story.
Using that very formula, here’s Mind Meld PR’s checklist for getting your pitch picked up.
Who are you targeting?
A managing editor? A general news reporter? A niche-journalist who writes pretty much exclusively about one topic — and only one topic? Your audience will make a huge difference in how you pitch your story.
For instance, take a look at 2017 New Ventures BC Competition prize winner, CryoLogistics. It seems they researched publications of interest. They focused on particular writers on the public safety beat. That diligent approach likely helped them land a nice story in one of Canada’s biggest papers, The Toronto Star.
What are you pitching?
Is it a funding announcement? Your founder’s origin story? Or will it be easier to submit a thought leadership piece that lays out in fascinating detail how your innovative product can change the world? Know the difference between breaking (time-sensitive) and evergreen (not time-sensitive) news.
When do you pitch?
Mornings work best — usually on a Tuesday. Monday tends to be catch-up day and by Friday, they’ve checked out. Meet them in the middle.
Beyond that, reporters are on a 24/7 news cycle, so they’re always on the lookout for timely stories.
By the way, if your pitch isn’t picked up in the first 24 hours, it’s not necessarily game over. Sometimes, reporters will plan out their stories longer-term — and you can be pleasantly surprised a week or two later as your story finally sees the light of day. Beyond that, once you’re on their radar, journalists can reach out to you for something related, if you’ve really come across as an expert source. Better late than never!
Where should you pitch?
In our globalized world, why not just go big and pitch the New York Times, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal-sized outlets? Who needs local media? Well, you might. Often, local or regional reporters can already have you on their radar, which means your email pitch gets some extra love.
Plus, national and international reporters regularly scan local news for ideas. For example, Vancouver-based Thinkific
being featured in a BBC story
about online courses. News makes news!
Why should the reporter care about your story?
If you won a contest, what secret did you use to get to the top? If you just got funded, how much? Was it a significant enough infusion that you can now hire dozens of tech workers?
If it’s a cleantech solution you’re highlighting, how fast could this help solve a major problem like air pollution or carbon emissions?
If it’s a medical technology, how many people might it save? Answering “why” comes down to fun facts and specific examples — so give the reporter something to chew on.
Using the 5 W’s checklist to get media coverage
Like I said at the start, relationships are nice, but planning and process gets you PR results. Pay attention to what reporters want — and give it to them.
By Jonathon Narvey, Founder of Mind Meld PR, a sponsor for NVBC.