Tech Reporters Get Candid at PRSA Panel

By Kelly Ferguson

So what do reporters really think of PR and marketing tactics? I had the chance to find out at a recent panel of tech reporters who spilled the beans. The event was hosted by the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and GitHub, at GitHub’s office space (which is probably what Hacker Heaven looks like).  

Moderated by Sam Whitmore, the panel focused on software development and tech PR, and participants included well-known friendlies we regularly work with: Eric Knorr (InfoWorld), Alex Handy (SD Times), and Alex Williams and TC Currie (The New Stack).

Read on to hear some of the best candid thoughts shared (and note that we’ve edited some for clarity):

“If you’re gonna cold call me, start off by asking what I am working on. Better yet, have your CEO cold call me!”   

“Get to know us. If I know and trust you, I will open your email. For blind emails, make it straight and informative. Give me a hook. Don’t try to be cute, just be straight up.”

I love receiving blogs instead of press releases. Look at AWS and how they use their blog. It’s brilliant and so few people do it. Google also does a great job with that.”

Press releases seem to be written for the client in mind, i.e. we have this product and we want you to buy it. But that’s not my interest. A well-written press release is a useful starting point to jump off and write and do more research.”

“At a user conference, when little things are taken care of, we can better absorb content and write it faster, which, ultimately, is what you want. Also, have food available!”

Show your conference people where the press room is!”

Please, give us the press releases in advance. This isn’t usually an issue, but the most frustrating thing that ever happened to me at an event was when we weren’t given them until the day of the keynote.”

As with all the feedback and tips we get from reporters, we’ll continue to take these insights to heart. In the meantime, we’ll make absolutely sure you know where to find the press room. Eric, Alex, Alex, TC – if you’re reading this, thank you for the inside look!

Kelly Ferguson is a senior account executive at Kulesa Faul. Her PR superpower? Leading media relations from the trenches. Current and past clients include Act-On Software, Boundless, Distil Networks, Influitive, JFrog, Kaseya, Midokura, Pyze and Preempt. Contact Kelly at kelly@kulesafaul.com.

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