A Word to My PR Homies: On When to Pitch

Hey, holmes!

It is five o’clock in the morning. It’s not early; for me, it’s late. Way late. I got off work at midnight, and I’m now unwinding with recreational tweeting and some torrent downloads.

You’re asleep, I’m sure. And you should be! You’re a nine-to-fiver, god willin’ and the crick don’t rise. You don’t need to be awake and chasing down journalists at this hour.

However.

In our little ecosystem, we, the journos, are the hunted. The prey, if you will. And you’re a bunch of big, sexy lionesses on the prowl.

Getting the attention of some of the bigger tech bloggers can feel a lot like bloodsport. To keep track of and in touch with even the top five would require around-the-clock vigilance. Arrington is known to survive for months without sleep, Scoble’s always up commenting on Friendfeed at ungodly hours, and my boss lives in New Zealand, so you’re screwed from the get-go with him. However, a few simple tricks will allow you to double the chances of your pitch getting picked up.

Word to My PR Homies #4: Know your journo’s schedule.

Did you know that MG Siegler of TechCrunch and I both work nights? I know because I’ve had to race him to get posts up on a couple breaking stories, like when Gmail launched a new Labs feature at 10.30 on a weeknight. Some bloggers work weekends, too. My schedule has me up and running from 4 p.m. until midnight on Sundays.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find news on a Sunday?

Here’s a great tip for you: If you’ve got a slightly less newsworthy story, don’t make it compete with the guys at Google and Microsoft who are launching at prime time (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday). Send it to your night and weekend bloggers. In fact, make it easy on yourself; before you leave the office Friday afternoon, schedule the release to go out to me and MG at 6 p.m. on Sunday. This is around the time when I’ve written up my 5 millionth Twitter app and am scrolling through random RSS feeds for fresh blood, and my brother-from-another-mother Siegler is writing about how he trolls for pr0n on Bing. I could not make this up. Tech blogs on Sunday afternoons are something between a comic strip and a graveyard.

There are tons of easy ways to get the news out when it’s most likely to be picked up.

Have you tried DMing or @replying your journo on Twitter? Does your journo use FriendFeed or Brightkite a lot? Do you notice they’re usually posting at odd times of the day or week? Don’t assume Scoble has a crack addiction just because he’s online and posting like crazy at 4 a.m. – that’s just his biological clock telling him that bloggers need to come out at night. And don’t be afraid to pitch on a social platform. If we’re there and we’re using it to talk about work-related topics, it’s kind of an open door for a simple intro to the product.

That being said, your pitch might not get a response after 1 a.m. or so. And if you pitch too late at night (or early in the morning), your email runs the risk of getting buried beneath the midmorning flood of press releases. Also, bloggers tend to get a little quiet in the more obvious public channels after a certain hour. As part of an insular community, being accused in a public forum of crack or methamphetamine addiction is a burden that weighs heavily on the vampirically scheduled blogger types.

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