If you’re a small company just trying to get your story told by the old “big four” of IT media — Computerworld, eWeek, InformationWeek and InfoWorld, it can be a bit bewildering. First, it’s not just reporters — it’s editors, reporters, contributing writers (freelancers and consultants), bloggers and columnists. Second, their websites are a complex interwoven mix of news and opinion addressing every conceivable information technology topic — Computerworld lists 13 “knowledge centers,” 10 “Shark Bait” reader forums, 20 columnists, 15 blog topics, and 38 email newsletters.
The point is not to say this is bad. I was talking with my friend Chris Murphy on this — a real tech media expert at my former agency. I noted to him that in the old days, you’d find that one person to contact — and if you were smart, you’d avoid making multiple contacts at once for fear of stepping on editorial toes. But these media today are set up to let online readers choose a very narrow selection interest areas — the home pages themselves are nearly unreadable. Readers aren’t starting with the home page or the print magazine. They’re starting with the newsletters.
Here’s Chris’ take:
“Their readers are online and mostly interested in very specific topics, be it security, storage, enterprise software, servers, etc. And they want to get this news through email newsletters, or be able to find it quickly by going to a specific section on their site.”
I’d add RSS and search to the mix and I think we’re there. The increasingly skinny print editions are where readers can skim cross industry news.
The point we can take away from this is that we should look at these tech journals — and most B2B focused trade media in general — as online homes for some 40+ media outlets. For any given company, there may be a half-dozen contacts — a beat reporter, columnists, bloggers, section editors and user forums. This doesn’t mean blanketing press releases to the entire editorial staff. What it means is that the contacts you identify as interested in your field and speaking to your audience — each represent an opportunity, and require their own evaluation, approach and ongoing relationship.
It also means re-evaluating the results of your efforts — the biggest “hit” should be an online story that is pushed out in the appropriate newsletter. The next biggest should be a positive story that ranks high on search engines…or a link that generates more interest by outside media.
Having a great strategy — and a commitment to building these relationships — is key. That, and a little luck doesn’t hurt either.