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Join Our Research Team at DMA 2014
Apr 18, 2008
Interview

PR Interview: How to Reach IT Professionals by the Millions

SUMMARY: TechTargetís network of 50 industry-specific websites provides IT pros with information on how to do their jobs better. Content includes news, analysis, expert advice, reader feedback and research, white papers, newsletters, Webcasts and reports. Hereís a guide to getting your story pitch in front of the right TechTarget editor.
Contact Information
Mark Schlack
VP Editorial
TechTarget
117 Kendrick St., Suite 800
Needham, MA 02494
781-657-1100
MSchlack(at)techtarget(dot)com
http://www.techtarget.com/


Background
Schlack moved to TechTarget in 2001 to help launch Storage Magazine, the companyís first print publication. He has been VP Editorial for two years. Schlack has been in the high-tech publishing world since 1990. He was Editor In Chief of Byte Magazine from 1995 to 1998 and has worked for Datamation, EarthWeb.com and IDG. Schlack graduated from the University of Michigan.

Circulation
More than 6.6 million members read content on TechTargetís 50 websites or in its more than 100 email newsletters. Members vary per site, with smaller sites having 30,000 to 50,000 readers, and larger sites having 500,000 or more. Readers are principally corporate IT professionals, ranging from CIOs to entry-level specialists.

Pitching a Story Idea: 5 steps
TechTargetís 50 websites are split into 10 media groups, so there is no one person to direct your pitch to. Follow these 5 steps to get to the right person:

-> Step #1. Assess the media groups

Do you want to reach CIOs or IT professionals charged with building and managing backup? You must first assess each media group.

To get to CIOs, for instance, you need to go to the ĎCIO and IT Managementí group and contact someone at this address: http://searchcio.techtarget.com/.

If itís the latter, you need to pitch http://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/, which is part of the ĎStorageí group.

You can find a description of each group and the different websites in each group at: http://www.techtarget.com. They are listed in circular fashion around the TechTarget logo on the homepage.

-> Step #2. Look at the site before you pitch

Before making your pitch, be sure you send it to someone on the correct website. If the site doesnít cover the technology or product category similar to yours, you probably arenít pitching to the right person. Double-check the site before sending an email. This could prevent you from being bounced around, or worse -- not getting a response.

-> Step #3. Keep TechTargetís editorial policies in mind

Review TechTargetís editorial policies. ďMost of our sites do not publish predigested case histories and things like that,Ē Schlack says.

On the other hand, editors and writers are always looking for sources -- user sources, in particular. If a company has a case history, itís better to pitch the user (or client) as a source than the case history itself. ďWeíre looking for users like our readers. Roughly speaking, thatís corporate IT people. Thatís why it pays to read the site and see the [position] level the site is aimed at.Ē

Other tips:
- Most sites cover breaking news about technology and trends.
- Sites do not cover new product launches unless they appeal to a large installed base or show a new way of doing something.
- Sites provide tactical advice, tips, and Q&A sections; they are always looking for experts.
- TechTarget does not cover the business of IT -- news about vendors, such as financial results, executive announcements and reorganizations, is of no interest unless it will have a significant impact on IT professionals in the trenches.

-> Step #4. Keep deadlines in mind

The sooner you send your pitch about breaking news, the better. About one-third of the sites are very news-oriented; some are even the tops in their field in covering breaking news, Schlack says. Itís critical to keep them aware of news as it happens. Other sites are more focused on providing practical advice.

TIP: All of the sites should have a list of specific tips they are focusing on or learning materials, reference materials, guides to new technologies, etc. If you canít find it on the site, contact the Site Editor and ask for it.

-> Step #5. Email the Site Editor or News Editor

Email is the best way to reach editors and writers. But Schlack suggests sending pitches to the Site Editor if youíre unsure whom to send it to. If there is no Site Editor, send it to the Editorial Director. If your pitch is breaking news, the News Editor is your best bet.

For a listing of all the editors and writers for each group and each site go to:
http://www.techtarget.com/html/ed_index.htm

For tips on working with the editorial staffs go to:
http://www.techtarget.com/html/ed_workwith.htm

Pitch an Expert: 3 Tips
Most sites offer some sort of practical advice -- tips, Q&As and blogs -- about the applications of certain technologies and software or how to get specific outcomes.

If you think you have a good expert for these sites, here are three tips:

-> Tip #1. There are no specific guidelines

The only thing thatís really necessary: An expert must have demonstrated expertise, which includes authoring a book or proven blog readership, etc.

ďWe like Ö people who do field work,Ē Schlack says. ďTypically, for us, people who are really great are people who work for resellers or systems integrators Ö and theyíre out doing implementations with many different kinds of customers so they get a broad perspective.Ē

-> Tip #2. Itís OK to work for a vendor

As long as the expert is in the field, itís okay. Marketing managers should not pitch themselves as experts. Consultants are welcome, especially if they are employed to work with customers on site and they see the ways a technology is used and the problems that arise.

-> Tip #3. Be willing to blog

Blogging is the way to write these days, especially since blogs are favored by TechTarget readers. Blogging have pretty much replaced columnists, Schlack says.

Where to meet Schlack and his staff
Editors accept briefings with vendors, Schlack says. Briefings can be scheduled through email. TechTarget also produces a few large conferences and several one-day seminars, which editors and writers usually attend.

You probably donít need to talk to Schlack unless youíre really lost. ďIím not the traffic cop. I would be the person to talk to about some matter of policy. I donít typically do briefings with vendors.Ē

Useful links related to this article

TechTargetís websites (including conference websites):
CIO and IT Management group:
http://searchcio.techtarget.com/

http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/

http://ciodecisionsconference.techtarget.com/


Storage group:
http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/

http://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/

http://searchsmbstorage.techtarget.com/

http://storagedecisions.techtarget.com/

http://searchstorage.techtarget.co.uk/


Data Center group:
http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/

http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/

http://search400.techtarget.com/

http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/

http://datacenterdecisions.techtarget.com/


Windows and Distributed Computing group:
http://searchwinit.techtarget.com/

http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/

http://searchsqlserver.techtarget.com/

http://searchwindowssecurity.techtarget.com/

http://searchwincomputing.techtarget.com/

http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/

http://labmice.techtarget.com/


Networking group:
http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/

http://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/

http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/

http://searchtelecom.techtarget.com/


Security group:
http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/

http://searchfinancialsecurity.techtarget.com/

http://infosecurityconference.techtarget.com/html/index
html

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.co.uk/


Application Development group:
http://www.theserverside.com/

http://www.theserverside.net/

http://ajaxian.com/

http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/

http://searchsoa.techtarget.com/

http://searchwindevelopment.techtarget.com/

http://javasymposium.techtarget.com/

http://ajaxexperience.techtarget.com/


Enterprise Applications group:
http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/

http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.com/

http://searchoracle.techtarget.com/

http://searchsap.techtarget.com/


Vertical Software group:
http://www.2020software.com/

http://www.constructionsoftwarereview.com/


Channel group:
http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/

http://searchstoragechannel.techtarget.com/

http://searchsecuritychannel.techtarget.com/

http://searchsystemschannel.techtarget.com/

http://searchnetworkingchannel.techtarget.com/

See Also:

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