Pitching Business and Technology Contributors: Q & A with Freelancer Anne R. Gabriel
Anne R. Gabriel has spent over 30 years as a professional in the communications field, writing about business and education technologies as a journalist and marketing communications consultant. Moving fluidly between the worlds of journalism, business technology writing, marketing and PR, she does everything from writing editorial for C-Level IT publications to providing marketing support for organizations ranging from start-up to Fortune 500. Today, Gabriel covers business, technology, and IT as a freelancer and regularly contributes to BAI Banking Strategies, Channel Partners Online and Insurance Networking News. Throughout her career, Gabriel has gained invaluable experiences and insight on how she likes to be approached by professionals, how she develops story ideas, and how she cultivates relationships in the field.
How do you prefer to receive pitches?
Email is best, as I’m not currently covering urgent/breaking news for any of my outlets. I do actually read each of the pitches, even though I can’t respond to all of them. So keep those emails coming!
What kind of information do you prefer to receive?
I love getting news releases related to business technology solutions – but I do not cover consumer tech. I especially prefer story pitches where an end user of the technology (i.e. the business adopting the technology) is willing to go on record. For one of the outlets I contribute to, Channel Partners Online, pitches need to include a channel angle, but a technology end user is optional. “Thought leadership” pitches on emerging technologies in the financial services sector are also welcome.
What will catch your attention?
It depends upon the outlet; as a contributing writer to a variety of publications, I look for a few different things. For BAI Banking Strategies, it’s pitches where an end user will go on record or “thought leadership” on technologies affecting banks/banking. For Insurance Networking News, end users are defined as insurance companies (not brokers or agencies) so story pitches on insurers (or re-insurers) adopting or advancing tech utilization are appropriate. For Channel Partners Online, all things channel are of interest.
How about any pet peeves?
Contributing writers and editors are paid by the piece — not by the hour. This makes unnecessary research or admin exceptionally unwelcome. It’s amazing how often I provide specific instructions on the type of end user company that qualifies for my outlet (particularly in financial services), which can be found in the “about” section of a company’s website, yet many PR people fail to do this very basic research.
Do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook to gather leads and story ideas? Can you be pitched via these channels?
No. I get that’s heretical these days, but email is still the currency of business communications and well-crafted emails put all the info I need at my finger tips. I’m sure it’s also a regrettable side effect of my age. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully so far!) to get over being old school, but I promise I won’t give up! And, I’ll keep my Cision profile updated, so PR pros will know when/if other digital platforms are appropriate.
Anything else you would like PR professionals to know?
Serving as a PR pro in a former life, as well as working for corporate clients on marketing content today, has taught me that nobody gets everything 100 percent correct. Therefore, it’s my policy to provide a full fact-checking draft whenever time permits, which is more often than not. I truly believe everyone wins – story participants, readers and my outlets – when I take the extra time to allow sources to fact-check. However, don’t take advantage of my generosity. I include instructions with the drafts for how to proceed should significant changes be wanted and frown upon people who completely rewrite paragraphs without discussing their sensitivities with me first. Otherwise, I strive to not only be flexible but also understanding, as I well know the clients that PR pros work with can frequently go rogue and there’s little any of us can do about it.
Further, it’s important for PR professionals to build trustworthy relationships with journalists – even if it’s responding with a ‘no’ so the journalist can move on. At the end of the day, a PR pro is only as good as the relationship he or she establishes. In other words, your brand as a trusted resource is your most valuable asset. Period. I look forward to working with you!
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