Talking Technology, Startups & Entrepreneurs at the Publicity Club of New York

Publicity Club Technology Startups

I recently attended a networking luncheon event at the Publicity Club of New York, the oldest ongoing organization for public relations professionals in the country. The topic? Technology, Startups & Entrepreneurs. I was interested to learn how the reporters on the panel like to be approached by folks like us (be polite and friendly!) and was able to gain some valuable tips that will aid in future pitching.

The event was hosted by Peter Himler and featured an exciting panel of tech journalists from publications including Business Insider, Mashable, VentureBeat, and GigaOM. The packed room buzzed with industry banter and shortly after arriving, Alyson Shontell, Samantha Murphy, Devindra Hardawar, Manoush Zomorodi, and Ki Mae Heussner took their seats at the front of the room and were introduced by Peter.

Sitting at the front of the room allowed me the opportunity to clearly hear the panelists’ responses to questions from both the host and the audience. As the attendees anxiously jotted down every word from the panelists, it became clear that there were similarities in their advice around pitching techniques.

Here are some of my favorite tips that were shared:

  • There is no such thing as the perfect pitch. Be aware of what the reporter is covering and what they’ll engage in. Do not abuse communication. (Samantha Murphy)
  • Reach out on a personal level when you don’t have a pitch. Always use a polite and friendly tone. (Alyson Shontell)
  • A pitch should be short and sweet. (Alyson Shontell)
  • Be insightful, not promotional (Ki Mae Heussner)
  • Email the tips line in case a reporter has missed your pitch (it happens all the time!) (Devindra Hardawar)

I was particularly interested to hear the response to a question a Zer0 to 5ive colleague posed towards the end of the conference, as it is an issue for all PR professionals. She inquired, “How do we gain your interest in a story if your competitor has already written about it?” One panelist responded that it helps to give a new angle that you haven’t already provided. Another panelist added, if the story is really important, it won’t stop another publication from covering it. The rest nodded their heads in agreement.

This event was a great experience not only in learning new and effective pitching tips, but recognizing that there is a common ground on which reporters stand when it comes to being approached by PR professionals.

Post by Maggie Deiseroth
Zer0 to 5ive Associate Strategist