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Techcrunch’s tech PR tips

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 11th January 2012

With our focus on working with tech startup companies, Techcrunch is a must-read blog and it is a key focus for many of the tech PR campaigns we run for our startup clients.

So when Techcrunch Europe’s editor Mike Butcher puts together a Slideshare presentation focusing on how to pitch to (him and) the tech media, it is worth sitting up and taking note.

Now, as any good tech PR would tell you, every journalist has very clear ideas about how you should pitch a story to them and the advice can change quite dramatically from one to another. It certainly isn’t a case of one size fits all.

Despite this, there is a lot of general advice that Mike gives that is very solid and worth anyone involved in tech PR paying attention to:

  • The fact that you exist is not news – this applies to tech companies at all stages in their development but especially to startups. One of the great things about working with startups is their enthusiasm for the product or company they are launching. But it is easy to drink too much kool aid and get carried away by your offering. The harsh truth is that what might seem like a massive launch to you might feel different to the industry at large. The tech startup space is bigger than ever and so getting column inches has become that much tougher too.
  • Want to make news? Join the news agenda – moving on from the previous point, if your launch itself isn’t news, then try putting your product or service in the context of the industry at large and any industry trends you are seeing.
  • Rather than spray and pray, target pitches at writers with specific angles – increasingly your tech PR campaign will have a number of different audiences and media sectors to target. What works for the tech or startup media might not work for you vertical or trade targets. So be specific and come up with different pitches, angles or stories to suit.
  • Journalists are busy – Mike says: “for me to drop everything and write about you, your story needs to be BETTER than everything else.” The solution? Pre-brief. If you know a big story is coming out, send the journalist a little teaser to let them know to expect the news. It might be they can write in advance and they might want to schedule some time with your spokesperson before the big day too.
  • Be a great contact, use social media – increasingly, the tech PR campaigns we are running for our startup PR involve us helping individuals within the business build relationships with journalists and other influencers themselves.
  • Don’t be annoyed if you don’t get coverage – it’s tough, I know, but good to keep it all in perspective. It’s often a long-term game!

Increasingly, for many of the reasons specified above, we are advocating that journalist outreach is only a part of the tech PR campaigns we run for startup companies. The web and digital channels offer you the chance to reach out to influencers of all types and the communities in which they operate. So of course you should continue to focus on big sites like Techcrunch, but they aren’t the be all and end all…

Mike’s full presentation is below.

Danny Whatmough