PCC Luncheon: Chicago’s Tech Media Leaders

PCC luncheon, pr agencies in chicago

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Every good public relations professional understands the importance of maintaining healthy relationships with reporters. While this valuable piece of advice is true across all realms of the PR world, in today’s fast-paced Chicago media, no industry quite embodies this message like technology news. In order to be on the cutting edge of the newest trends, first and foremost, you need to understand the tech media community, which is why the Publicity Club of Chicago hosted an informative gathering of tech leaders at their most recent PCC Luncheon.

Comprised of Chicago’s finest tech beat writers, the panel included:

  • Meg Graham, Reporter from BlueSky Chicago
  • John Pletz, Tech Reporter from Crain’s Chicago Business
  • Jim Dallke, Staff Writer from Chicago Inno
  • The event was led and moderated by Motion PR’s finest, President and Founder, Kimberly Eberl.

The panelists wasted no time diving into the best strategies to grab their attention about anything tech-related. With each panelist brining a diverse range of tech expertise to the table, one by one they began peeling back the layers of what it takes to get your pitch to the top of their to-do list. Below you’ll find some key takeaways we garnished from some of Chicago’s hottest tech writers.

  1. Meg Graham, Reporter from BlueSky Chicago
  • Pitch Graham via email between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.
  • Pitches should never be more than 1,000 words.
  • Follow up in a timely manner, but never exceed two follow-up emails.
  • It’s out of Graham’s hands to delegate which stories run in print and which stories run online, or vice versa.
  • While she prefers exclusive stories and interviews, Graham is open to Q&A’s with CEO’s, founders and other C-level executives.
  • Graham likes to focus to how tech and healthcare are colliding.Diversity within the tech industry is one of her favorite topics to cover.
  1. John Pletz, Tech Reporter from Crain’s Chicago Business
  • Pletz reads through pitch emails first thing in the morning.
  • Understand who your ideal audience is before pitching him.
  • While Pletz covers finance stories, understand that funding stories often have two sides: those who wrote the check and those who receive the check
  • His print deadline is Thursday and Crains’ weekly tech newsletter goes out on Tuesdays, so be aware of this timeline when pitching.
  • When pitching startups, Pletz looks for validation and rock-solid statistics to back up your claims.
  • Pletz looks for “proof of concept” before moving forward to contact anyone for interviews, insight, etc.
  • Pletz is beginning to cover big data/analytics and how traditional industries are morphing within the tech industry.
  • Know what your client is willing to talk to about in an interview before pitching him.
  1. Jim Dallke, Staff Writer, Chicago Inno
  • Pitch Dallke first thing in the morning, between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.
  • He will cover companies that aren’t Chicago-based, but he still needs a Chicago hook to continue with the story.
  • He prefers exclusives, but Dallke is willing to cover the story from a different angle if it peeks his interest.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Chicago Inno and Dallke’s interests aren’t centered on strictly funding-based stories. Funding stories are included in round-ups, rather than full features.
  • Dallke will cover emerging startups, even if they’re in beta stages.
  • Dalke loves to cover emerging tech trends in Chicago and how they correlate to national tech trends.
  • Like Meg Graham, Dallke is looking to shift his focus to the relationship between healthcare and tech here in the Windy City.
  1. Sam Dewey, Staff Writer, Built In Chicago
  • Pitch Dewey later in the day, rather than first thing in the morning.
  • Dewey prefers email pitches, but will also accept pitches over LinkedIn. He will not accept any pitches via any other social media channels.
  • Dewey is still able to publish a story even if the exclusive already ran.
  • Built In Chicago’s main readers are job seekers and recruiters, so keep that in mind when pitching Dewey.
  • Don’t pitch Dewey about a new startup that’s still in beta testing.
  • Unlike the previous tech writers, Dewey won’t cover healthcare tech, rather he looks for innovative healthcare software.