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Jun 13, 2008
Article

PR Interview: How to Pitch a Tech Product to PC Magazine

SUMMARY: PC Magazine is recognized as the industry leader for reviews of everything from desktop computers to cell phones to digital cameras and other high-tech items. Here are 6 dos and 4 don’ts to help get your product in front of PC Magazine’s editors and analysts.
Contact Information
Lance Ulanoff
Editor in Chief
PC Magazine
28 East 28th St.
New York, NY 10016
212-503-5564
Lance_Ulanoff(at)ziffdavis(dot)com

Background
Ulanoff has been with PC Magazine since 1991, becoming Editor in Chief about a year ago. He helped relaunch the publication’s online edition, PCMag.com, and ran the website for five years. Before joining PC Magazine, Ulanoff worked at weekly newspapers and trade publications. He graduated from Hofstra University.

Circulation & Readership
PC Magazine is published monthly by Ziff Davis Media for an audience of 4.4 million; most are tech enthusiasts and business technology influencers. The average reader is male, age 41, with a household income of about $90,000. More than half have attended college, 59% are married, and 46% have children.

Other demographics:
o 77% read PCMag.com for the latest technology product reviews
o 77% plan to make a tech purchase in the next year
o 76% give tech-buying advice to others

Editorial Coverage
Coverage is split primarily into Features and Reviews, which focus on:
o Consumer electronics
o Hardware (PCs, printers)
o Software
o Internet
o Networking

Reviews make up the largest portion of content in the magazine and on the website, although news and tech trends are covered as well.

How to Pitch: 6 Dos
Contacting PC Magazine is relatively easy – all editors and analysts have their email addresses displayed prominently on the contact list. But read these tips to have some idea on how to pitch.

->Do #1: Sending an email

Email is the preferred method for receiving press releases and product pitches.

->Do #2: Sending an email to the right person

Ulanoff forwards emails to the appropriate editor or analyst. But, if you can target your pitch, you have a much better chance of getting a positive response. Your best bet is to send your pitch to the senior editor or lead analyst in the appropriate product category.

Here is the URL for PC Magazine’s contact list: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1329765,00.asp

->Do #3: Emphasizing the product

PC Magazine is interested in your product above all else. They want to know what it is, what it does, and who you (or your company) are. “If you make good products, if you make interesting products, that’s what we care about,” Ulanoff says.

->Do #4: Reading the magazine

It’s important to read the magazine before you pitch. Understand who the readers are and what they want to know. “They want to know about the latest and greatest technology in a wide range of categories,” says Ulanoff. “They want to know what’s best. They want to know how to use it.”

PC Magazine doesn’t care about “the funding you got or that you’re run by an industry leader,” he says.

->Do #5: Writing clear messages

Put the nut graph front and center when you’re pitching. It should clearly answer the questions:
- What’s really special about this product?
- Why will consumers and business people be excited about it?
- How is it different from others in its category?

Try to be specific about the product (what it is and what it does) in the subject line and in headline. This doubles your chance of getting a good response.

->Do #6: Giving advanced notice of a product launch

Editors like to get the inside track on innovative products that no one else has seen. And PC Magazine will sign a nondisclosure agreement if you don’t want a story released before the product is officially launched, Ulanoff says. That means that the magazine will wait until the moment you say it can be released to post an article on its website.

It doesn’t always have to be a signed nondisclosure agreement, either. “If you call me up and say it, that’s good enough for me,” Ulanoff says.

How Not to Pitch: 4 Don’ts

->Don’t #1: Telling competing publications about a new product first

This is the worst of all annoyances. There’s nothing worse than reading about something that’s “really hot” in a competing publication, says Ulanoff. Except, perhaps, finding out that a source told the competition before PC Magazine.

->Don’t #2: Calling too often

One follow-up call is OK. But two, three or four phone calls about a press release or pitch annoy the staff. So does not taking “no” for an answer, Ulanoff says. When a pitch is rejected, no means no.

->Don’t #3: Exaggerating in pitches/press releases

Don’t say your product is the biggest or the best unless you have evidence to back it up. “Unfortunately, PR kind of trades in hyperbole,” Ulanoff says. “So they oversell and under-deliver.”

->Don’t #4: Taking credit that doesn’t belong to you

Ulanoff gets annoyed when PR people are completely unaware of their own market. They say their product is the first to do something, without checking to discover 10 others just like it. This creates more work for the editors and analysts who must verify that a company’s product claims are valid.


Useful links related to this article

PC Magazine:
http://www.pcmag.com/

See Also:

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