New England Communicators Discuss the News Pitch for Companies in the Emerging GreenTech Industry

November 10, 2009

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What’s the best way to pitch your news to media covering the ever-evolving green technology industry?

According to Stephen Lacey, a journalist with Renewable Energy World, you should “think of the journalist as an investor.”  Indeed, the media invests time and effort in a company’s endeavors and projects the same way an investor would contribute funding.

This and other questions about the emerging green technology industry in New England and throughout the U.S. were discussed at a Business Wire Boston media breakfast held at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. on Thursday, Nov. 5.  About 75 public relations professionals from across New England attended the event, entitled “GreenTech, CleanTech and Pitching New Energy Technologies.”  Participants also collected hats, scarves and mittens for Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based non-profit organization that distributes goods for children in need.

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The panel included media professionals from print, radio and new media, as well as a market analyst to offer a more big-picture perspective.  The panelists, working in the renewable energy, green technology, and business spaces included (L to R):

Moderating the panel was Susan Vaillancourt, an accomplished PR professional in her own right.  Vaillancourt comes from great experience in the industry, having worked with large companies including GT Solar, a world-wide solar technology manufacturing corporation headquartered in Merrimack, NH.

Bottom line of the discussion?  The media is most definitely following companies working in biofuels, hydro power, wind and solar energy, and new efficiency technologies – but reporters need something to chew on.  Panelists agreed that directing them to a company’s news via an email with a personal touch, including a sentence or two about why the story is important, is generally the best way to get their attention.  This gives the journalist the opportunity to filter out their news angle from the press release text.  “Sometimes people are sitting on the story and they don’t even know it,” said Fitzgerald.

Also discussed were the wide range of coverage possibilities under the green/clean tech umbrella, including obvious “gee whiz” technologies, consumer product innovations, and new business ventures which have the added benefit of bringing jobs to the New England region.

The panelists also engaged in a discussion about how governmental policy effects the growth and direction of the industry, and how the U.S. stacks up against other world leaders such as China, which Lacey said currently has the largest solar market by far in the world.  The consensus was that the U.S. is on the way to the leader board, but further investment and leadership through policy is needed to increase the nation’s clout in the green space.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR, SEO & media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.

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Sacramento Media Discuss Industry Trends, Give Tips for PR Pros

May 15, 2009

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Business Wire Sacramento hosted a panel discussion last week with four distinguished Sacramento area journalists who discussed methods of reporting technology, business and real estate stories in the region and on a national level.

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The panelists (from left to right) were:

The panelists discussed some of the trends in their industries, including:

  • Mr. Barr says CPR has recently been doing “incidental business coverage,” as the economy and housing are of major importance to their listeners. CPR is interested in how individuals are being affected by the economy.
  • Mr. Veen notes that, despite being a monthly publication, Government Technology is constantly looking for stories to print online as a complement to their print edition. Because of these online opportunities, they are becoming more diversified. They are interested in how city, county or state agencies are trying to run more efficiently to better serve their constituents. They are also interested in where stimulus money is being spent.
  • Ms. Turner says the SBJ is interested in topics like how companies are cutting costs and how business is changing with the aging population.
  • Mr. Wasserman says one major focus with the Bee recently is “greentech,” which includes solar power, venture capital behind green tech, green construction, green fuels and green transportation.

When asked “How can PR professionals make your job easier?,” some of the responses included:

  1. Ask “Is this really news worthy?”  Distinguish between internal news that your company would find of interest versus general news that appeals to a greater audience.
  2. Put reporters in direct touch with someone at the company.
  3. Video!  Panelists all agreed that video can really enhance a story.
  4. Finding the human angle, particularly how one person is being affected by something.

All the panelists noted that they usually need at least two people to verify a tip. They prefer pitches via email, versus fax or phone, and they are all also on Twitter Facebook and write active blogs for their outlets.

Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR and media topics.  Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.


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