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PR 101: How to Pitch CNET

Cision’s Media Research team maintains hundreds of thousands of media profiles, and reaches out to thousands of journalists daily to ensure the accuracy of our data. In addition to ensuring accuracy, we solicit pitching tips from all of the journalists that we list. Here are a few themes we’ve compiled for pitching one of the top technology sites: CNET.

Know Your Product or Topic

CNET is a multi-faceted consumer technology site featuring some of the most knowledgeable journalists in their niche. Familiarize yourself with the specifics of the journalist’s coverage as well as the product or story that you are pitching. Ensure that your pitch is reaching the right person, and this means if you are pitching case studies and white papers, don’t send them to a product reviewer. Be knowledgeable about the background of the product or story that you are pitching – this saves a lot of time. If you are not up on the more technical features or aspects of your products, be prepared to put the journalist in touch with someone who is. If this is the case, ensure that you have an expert with firsthand knowledge to defer to, rather than someone who is perhaps knowledgeable but not current. Pay attention to who is covering news, and who is covering product reviews and pitch accordingly. Big leaps in technology are more interesting than small upgrades.

Be Brief, But Thorough

As you know journalism is a highly deadline-driven, it is important to be mindful of timelines when you are communicating. Succinct and accurate subject lines help your pitch stand out, and make it easy to flag and categorize in an inbox. If pitching by phone, leave a detailed message about the products. Treat the subject line as a highlight of what the technology offers, and what sets it apart. Realizing that the pitch over qualifies or misrepresents the product is frustrating for journalists and not helpful in creating a relationship. Ensure that any press kits you are sending have real and useful information. When pitching products, keep it short and focused on the aspects of the product that are interesting, different, and ever better — revolutionary.

Do Not Send Unsolicited Products

When pitching a product to be reviewed, lead with a pitch and not the product. The staff will sign embargoes and non-disclosure agreements, however check with your contact in order to ensure that you are sending these using the most appropriate method. Oftentimes products will get coverage from a first-impression view, and once on market a more thorough review. Speculative products and products that are a long way off from being on market are not what the staff is looking to review. If you have sent an item to be reviewed, verify that the product has reached the intended staffer, and include any details and relevant information. And although everyone loves free snacks, the staff at CNET does not accept gifts of any kind, that includes food, promotional items, and unsolicited products.

Create Relationships

Creating relationships with journalists is the best way to ensure that you are reaching the right people at the right time. Once you know what they want, how and when, pitching becomes a smooth experience for everyone. If you are at a trade show, don’t be afraid to set up a face-to-face meeting. Blind pitching is never as successful and efficient as getting your product or information in front of the right people. An established relationship of successful and appropriate communication ensures that you will be able to cut through the junk in an inbox.

[Image courtesy of Pixabay.]

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About Laura Botham

Laura Botham writes features covering the movers and shakers in the media industry, daily updates, and Top 10 lists. She is a media researcher at Cision, specializing in Internet media. She is a freelance artist, enjoys traveling, the mountains, and can always make time for a cute animal video.

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