Before diving into the who…let’s talk a little about the how. How we approach journalists with our stories is even more important than identifying the reporter, because if you don’t come correct, you’ll never get a response. So, let’s review a few pitching basics before we get into our Hot List for Startup Reporters.
Tip 1 – Do your research
- New and reporter beats change all the time, make sure you are staying up to date with the latest changes in the media. With the temperament of the media landscape people are moving around all the time too. Not to mention the “gig” nature of the journalist economy. Make sure even in this list to check out where the reporters “actually” are and what they are interested in. Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin are great places to verify their areas.
Tip 2 – Make your story timely
- What’s timely about your story? Are you pitching a story that makes sense to report on NOW? Evergreen stories are great, but typically take longer to get a response for. If your story has a hot deadline or timeline, make sure you’re pitching at least 2-3 weeks in advance. You have another window of about 1-2 weeks post announcement as well. If you’re pitching an exclusive, always provide a target date for release.
Tip 3 – Extract the juicy bits of your story
- What are the most interesting parts for the industry? What are you doing to change the world or to interest THEIR readers? Even refer to an article. Journalists are not indebted to you since you’re the one reaching out. You need to explain why your story is first, a good fit for the journalist and secondly, a good fit for their readers! Remember that journalists are looking for story views, they have a job to do too.
Tip 4 – Never say anything you don’t want reported
- I stand by my credo that “nothing is off the record”, you can read more about that in the “Nothing is off-the-record” blog. However, if you feel compelled to share exclusive information with a reporter, make sure you get a written or verbal agreement first. You can do this by revealing just enough to be relevant to the reporter and letting them know that you can “share more information if you agree to the embargo date of April 1, 2023 at 10:00 am PT,” for example. That way at least you covered your base. Even then, it is up to the reporters personal ethics if they want to hold that information. Some reporters may come back to you asking you to share the information when it’s out because…their organization does not hold embargo promises.
Tip 5 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions or follow up – you may need to reach out many times
- The biggest miss for anyone doing their own media relations is not following up or feeling like you are bothering the reporter. Don’t worry, we get it, but this is the crucial element that will make the difference of you being in or out of a story. We recommend to follow up about 3-4 times and always follow up with added value (information , stats or something helpful).
Now that we’ve given you a few disclaimers, here’s this week’s Hot List, happy pitching!
Bloomberg, Ellen Huet – Writes about startups and Silicon Valley culture. See her past article to get an idea of what to pitch her here.
Cheddar, Michelle Castillo – Senior reporter @cheddar, covering social media, streaming, tech and culture.
INSIDER, Britney Nguyen- Trending tech and biz news reporter she watches startups, entrepreneurs, foreign affairs, & F1. See her bio and previous articles here.
New York Times, Erin Griffith – Journalist based in the San Francisco bureau, where she reports on technology start-ups and venture capital. Learn more about Erin and her previously written articles here.
The Next Web, Matthew Hughes – Journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.
Techcrunch, Natasha Mascarenhas – A senior reporter at TechCrunch covering early stage startups and venture capital trends. She also tracks the different networks that play into founder success, from loneliness to immigration. See her profile on Techcrunch.
USA Today, Tami Abdollah – a National correspondent for USA TODAY. A native Angeleno, she’s traveled the world on $5 a day, has taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer. Her full bio and her email can be found here.
Venturebeat, Ken Yeung – Staff writer with VentureBeat where he covers startups and tech companies in the social, enterprise, fintech, marketing, philanthropic. Ken’s contact information and profile can be found here.
Wall Street Journal, Heather Somerville – Reporter at The Wall Street Journal in San Francisco covering technology, venture capital and startups. Her stories explore the business, culture and societal impacts of tech companies and their investors. Find more about Heather here.
WIRED, Sarah Mitroff – Sarah is a reporter for Wired Business, covering young startups and Silicon Valley culture. Pitch her funding and startup news and find her profile for WIRED here.
If you want to hear some additional insights on these reporters, make sure you tune into Episode 127 of The PR Playbook Podcast on Apple, Amazon, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Are you looking forward to the next Hot List or want us to outline a specific segment? Send us an email on what reporter segment you’d like to see next or schedule a strategy call and we can do a quick live search together.