CEO: How I got the NYTimes to write about my company
Goetz writes, “First, I knew the Times would be a hard sell. Our company wouldn’t interest a reporter without a really good story connected to it. In this case, a good story actually means two good stories. The first is the product itself: It needs to be inherently compelling and interesting. It has to be worthy of coverage. That’s the price of entry. But that is insufficient. There are plenty of interesting businesses out there, but that alone isn’t reason to write about them.
“The second story is a strong narrative. This might be a personality story, a ‘triumph over adversity’ tale, a trend piece about broader economic forces, or a link to a newsworthy event. In our case, this second story was about our technology and a clever hack that gave us a database of user-generated content.
“Next, we had to make our pitch to the right reporter. Luckily, the Times has someone whose beat includes big data. We had our guy — now we just needed to persuade him.
“To make contact, we eschewed a PR firm. Nothing turns off a reporter more than a bland pitch from somebody who’s never read his or her work. Instead, I sent a personal email that explained what we were up to. My pitch intrigued the reporter, and in a subsequent phone call I explained our product in more detail.
“Even after he seemed genuinely interested in our company and paid a visit to our office, it would be weeks before we would know that an article was in the works.”
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