The press release is dead
TechCrunch blogger Mike Butcher wrote an interesting blog post about how to pitch to tech journalists/bloggers. It is well worth a read (below are his slides that convey a similar message from 2012).
Like VCs/investors, tech journalists are overloaded with inbound pitches. There are similarities in the way you should pitch them:
- Get straight to the point, cut the fluff/small talk
- Give more or less the full info the 1st time around, no “can I send you some more information”
- Be concise and clear what your project does and why it is great
There are differences though with investors:
- Exclusivity (breaking a story first) is really important to journalists, so blasting your news out to 100 people is not going to make it more attractive
- Journalists really want something to be news (dah), something that the world has never seen/heard before, investors are looking for the big returns, even if it is an old idea that is recycled
- Big $ fundraising is seen as validation by journalists, investors probably care less (at least the good ones who can spot a rough diamond before everyone else)
- Journalists might not have the in-depth technical knowledge as a highly specialised VC (an early stage medical device investor), and like to compare/contrast companies and technologies to the ones they know (competitors).
- He loves plain text and hates PDFs/attachments. This partial because of practical reasons (mobile devices, copying quotes), but also — I suspect — the journalists are actually used to digesting written/verbal communication and less used to digesting visual slides (hypothesis).
- The world of tech journalism is changing. In the early days TechCrunch used to be all about startup discovery, now there are increasingly other news sources that plays this role (Product Hunt for example). Mike says he is increasingly interested in deeper, background stories. So putting your pitch into the context of an overall trend that is happening might make it more interesting to publish.
Two lessons here. One: the wordy, fluffy, 1-pager/press release is not going to help you here. Two: pitching to journalists is different from pitching to investors.
Art: Edouard Manet: Music in the Tuileries, 1862