the golden gate bridge

December 24, 2019

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By Suzanne Block, Director of Emerging Technology, Merritt Group


Emerging technologies touch every single industry, from health care to the supply chain, and never-ending disruption in the tech industry has shaken up the media. This disruption is forcing journalists to come up with new ways to navigate the tech space. It’s not unusual for journalists to hear about technologies they may not be familiar with or are still in development, like blockchain and quantum computing. News publications are being challenged to answer questions their audience is asking about technology that is foreign to them.


At the same time, fresh content keeps audiences coming back and most publications in the tech space post new stories by the hour. This means journalists are in need of multiple story ideas each day and quality sources that can offer a unique and valuable perspective to that specific industry. However, reputable sources that provide credibility and validation to readers in an ever-changing technology space can take time, which is something reporters generally don’t have. So, how can PR pros help journalists navigate this new landscape?


A recent panel with Khari Johnson of Venturebeat, Doug Dineley of IDG/InfoWorld, and Rachel Wolfson of GritDaily and Forbes, co-hosted by PRSA-SF and Merritt Group, unpacked emerging technologies within the media. These three tech journalists shared what drives their story ideas and the intricacies of an effective pitch. Besides the SEO traction and the key takeaway, tell a larger story.


What would a reporter care about?

Many reporters receive a slew of pitches, but a lot of these lack depth or fail to identify an interesting narrative that readers are curious about. When pitching journalists, it’s important to keep in mind that they tell stories about companies or products of interest to them or that answers questions their audience is asking. For example, while funding announcements are necessary and prove progress and legitimacy, they do not provide an interesting narrative to the author or reader. PR Pros should think of their pitch through the lens of a newsroom and consider what a reporter, and their audience, will find most interesting about a story.


How is your company a solution to a problem?

A reporter’s goal is to create content driven by questions their audience is curious about, the puzzles that emerging technology is solving or issues an audience needs to know about. When writing your pitch, address what is broken and how your company is creating solutions for that problem. Emerging technology is impacting the world in remarkable ways, but determine a way to make that tangible in your pitch.


How does your company impact an industry?

The way journalists cover news is changing, especially around emerging technologies. It’s no longer enough to share news about an exciting technology to pique a reporter’s interest. Because there are so many impressive technologies, reporters want to know how a company is impacting an industry or business and the reasons it’s making a difference.  Emerging technology is impacting the world in remarkable ways, but determine a way to make that tangible in your pitch.


Researching the current media landscape in relation to your pitch topic and brainstorming with your team or client can help identify areas of opportunity. If you cannot identify an interesting angle about the company or product, it’s unlikely that a journalist will be interested in writing a full article on the topic.