Friday, August 22, 2008

Tips for pitching in stories - frustrating exchange

Fabulous post on Techcrunch UK written by Mike Butcher (disclosure of sorts: he was deputy editor of Media Week when I worked there) about the best methods to use when pitching in stories.

He outlines 15 ways to get him, as editor of Techcrunch UK, to feature Startup A or Startup B.

The tips range from being a "great contact" and being a friendly blogger to understanding when a story is actually a story and making the top people available for comment.

So much of this resonates with Travolution. Our guest blogger post the other day certainly stirred things up.

But this particular one made me laugh:

11. Understand who you are talking to:

I often get PR pitches from PR people and startups trying to sell me stories which have nothing to do with TechCrunch.

“So I have this great story about a wireless transmitter that can detect submarines from 300 miles!” “Er, yeah, but you know we don’t write about those on TechCrunch, right?”

“Yeah, but it’s a GREAT STORY!”. If you spent even 5 minutes reading TechCrunch you’d know this, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t. I hear from them. Every. Day.
Here is the rough outline of an exchange I had with someone on the phone yesterday:
Caller I've never spoken to before: 'Hi, how's tricks, did you get the press release I sent yesterday about a new tour operator in the North Indian region?' Over-familiarity is never a good start.

Me: 'Yes, I did thanks.'

Caller: 'Well, is it something Travolution will write about? I've been reading Travolution for a while now and think it is a great story for you. They are going to some amaaaaaazing and untouched parts of the region.'

Me: 'Right. As you well know, Travolution writes about the online travel sector and the machinations behind the scenes of companies using the web as a distribution channel, their business strategy and overall trends on the internet. We do not write about destinations.'

Caller: 'Okay. Well, just let me know if you need anything as they are in some amaaaaazing places and that part of India is incredible - the Himalayas are amaaaaaazing and we think it's going to be the HOT destination of 2009.'

Me: 'Yes, I'm sure it is - goodbye.'
Enough said...


Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Claude said...

thanks for the end post before the week-end.

Maybe you have enought stuff to write a book about the subject ;-)

best regards


Dana said...

very interesting, both here and on techcrunch! it's a shame though that just getting the word out about something seems to be such a maze of good moves, bad moves, and battling through the lines of tech cliques. these people seem to be so focused internally it looks like they forget that their job is to make regular people's lives better most of the time...