The Inside Pitch About Pitching

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

March 29, 2016 /

The Next Web

Abhimanyu is an avid gamer, street food gourmet, design connoisseur and a writer at The Next Web.

1) What’s the best way to pitch you?

A brief email that gets right to the point does the trick. It’s perfectly fine to include additional info, press releases and links, but start with a quick pitch that clearly outlines the story you’re pitching in a paragraph or two.

2) What’s the best time to pitch you?

Anytime through the week is fine, except for Friday evenings after I’ve clocked out. Early in the morning is your best bet.

3) What kind of stories interest you?

Handy gadgets, useful apps and clever new technology — things that have a shelf life of more than a week.

4) What tips would you give someone pitching you?

  • Us journalists have to fully understand the product we’re being pitched so we can relay it to our editors and think about it more ourselves to construct a story. Ensure that your pitch helps us get what your product is about as early in your email as possible.

  • I love learning about how these products will change our lives and how they were developed — things like proprietary technology, an innovative approach that hasn’t been tried before — so it helps to include details like these.

  • I always appreciate a couple of days’ advance notice if it’s about an app or service I can try. That way, I can include my opinion of it in my coverage instead of merely telling my readers what the company told me.

  • A lot of people follow up their email pitches with a call — I can’t say it’s ever helped them or me. It’s not that I can’t be bothered to chat, but if I haven’t replied to your email, it probably means I had to pass on your pitch.

5) What will you never write about?

I’m wary of crowdfunded projects that don’t have working prototypes as well as apps that replicate whatever else is already out there without some differentiating factor.

6) What’s the best pitch you ever got?

The best ones have always been concise, clear emails followed by lengthy, informed discussions about why the product is exciting and what the future holds for it. If you know enough about your product and you’re pitching to a journalist who’s excited about your field, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pull this off.

7) Do you prefer to receive news in a press release or a different format?

I’m fine with press releases, but what I’m really looking for is information that helps me craft a story.

Too often, press releases stick to a template that includes a lot of fluff. A quote from the CEO rarely makes it to our blog, but things like the challenges in building this product and how it will evolve, certainly will.

8) How do you feel about embargoes?

I tolerate them, but I don’t care for them. I’m not a fan of being pressured to agree to an exclusive the very same day as I’ve received a pitch, or being given no time at all to evaluate an embargoed product.

9) What are some of the biggest mistakes that people make when pitching you?

Sharing a generic press release with little to no explanation of why I should care about it. The spray-and-pray approach doesn’t help anyone: You might be able to say you’ve contacted loads of journalists about a story, but then you’ll need to explain why only a tiny percentage of them picked it up.

10) What’s the biggest misconception/s that you think people have about the media?

That we’re all the same. Take a look at a few stories from any journalist and you’ll start to see what they’re interested in and what sort of angles they like to tackle. Each of us come from different backgrounds and it’s easy to figure us out; use that to your advantage while selecting which stories to pitch to us.

I'm fine with press releases, but what I'm really looking for is information that helps me craft a story. Too often, press releases stick to a template that includes a lot of fluff.

The spray-and-pray approach doesn't help anyone

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