International Data Group (IDG) is the world’s leading technology media, events and research company. IDG’s brand reaches an audience of more than 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries. So when IDG’s managing news editor, Nancy Weil, offered insight into connecting with their influencers, you bet our ears perked up.
Read below for Nancy Weil’s tips on building relationships with reporters, writing strong pitches, subject lines, and press releases.
Pitching is not what it used to be. There are so many ways to contact and build relationships with journalists via the Internet, email and social media — it can get complicated. Nancy suggests…
- Keep it Light: Initial email pitch doesn’t need to be so heavy in technology details. Be direct and as brief as possible.
- No Stalking: Send your pitch and maybe one follow up email. Many reporters are overwhelmed by what their inboxes look like everyday. If they are interested, they usually get back within one day. It’s okay to pick up the phone and give a call to make sure they received it. However, typically, they do check out their spam filters at least once a day. If they are interested, they will contact you.
- Bring Something ‘Valuable’ to the Table: Our journalists are less interested in talking to a CEO. Generally, they don’t want to know the business side, they want to know the technology side. IDG is more inclined to speak with the CTOs or CIOs, or even product managers—someone who can answer technology-driven questions.
- Lean is Mean: Keep subject lines lean and to the point. Don’t put “urgent” or “important” tags unless it is actually major breaking news that you know is a top priority story. The more concise, the better. Nancy shared, “I think that the subject lines on emails coming from PR people I know, I tend to always open. Give a headline of the news in a succinct kind of way. Write the subject like you would a news headline.”
- Try ‘Twitching’ (Twitter Pitching): Pitching via Twitter is actually socially acceptable. Nancy explains, “Almost all reporters are on twitter now. Some also use Facebook as a vehicle for finding news stories and connecting with PR professionals, as well.” All beat reporters have their contact information, including social media usernames, listed at the bottom of their articles. Many will use Facebook to be pitched and track information, later to be used in upcoming stories.
- Utilize LinkedIn: Using LinkedIn as a way to connect with journalist is also acceptable. According to Nancy, “Most of us actually prefer LinkedIn as the means to be contacted.”
- Steer Away from Multimedia: IDG doesn’t usually run multimedia content, other than photos. Every now and again, a reporter might ask for a video if someone has it, but generally are less inclined to use multimedia content. Photographs are definitely welcomed. IDG also won’t publish info-graphics, apart from their own, created by staff designers.
- Forgo the Embargo: If you usually send out embargo press releases, think again before sending to IDG. They have a policy in which they will not read the release, unless you have “agreed to terms” prior to sending to the reporter.
- Urgent Times Call for Urgent Measures: Can’t get a hold of anyone and you know your story is a top priority? Nancy suggests calling the managing editor, and she will be able to provide direction. Generally they are happy to direct you to the right reporter for your story, if they agree it is newsworthy.
Some things should never change, and this includes getting quality face time with reporters and editors whom you want to build a positive relationship with.
- Say ‘Hi’: Nancy suggests introducing yourself via email, even if you don’t have any news for the reporter yet. Let them know that you would like to pass along potential story ideas in the future, but would like to get acquainted. Reporters will more likely respond and remember you when you have something for them in the near future.
- Meet Up and Discuss: Nancy also shared that it is completely acceptable to meet with reporters for lunch, dinner, or even a beer after work! She states, “We like to build up those relationships for future possibilities. For the most part we do read what we get and keep track of possible news for future stories.”
Keep these tips in mind when connecting with IDG or any other reporters. Happy pitching!