Q&A with a tech journalist
03 April 2017

Tips from a journalist on securing consumer tech coverage

We spoke to Henry Burrell, Staff Writer at PC Advisor, Macworld, Digital Arts & Tech Advisor.

henry burrell tech writer

What’s the best way for a PR to grab your attention in their pitch?

The most important thing is being relevant to the publication. Usually we can tell quite easily if a PR has taken the time to see if their material is relevant to us. I really take notice when they’ve done their research! Personally, I look at every single email, but a lot of them get deleted straight away.

Also, having a catchy subject line can be great, but if it’s a killer subject line but not killer content then that can be even more annoying.

How much does your relationship with a PR person affect how much attention you’ll give their pitch?

Obviously, it depends on the brand they represent or the work we’ve done together, but being personable helps. I do quite like phone calls as the first point of contact, especially if I don’t know the person. I don’t mind chatting over email once we know each other, but a first-time phone call is brave and a good way to get a relationship going with the journalist.

And I hardly get any calls! PRs can often be too scared to pick up the phone, but if you can, then it makes a big difference.

If I’ve ever been pitched to on Twitter, I do find it a bit weird! Especially if I don’t know them. That’s just because Twitter is more of a personal tool for me. It can be quite effective for other journalists, but for me, my personal preference is the phone call.

What’s the most memorable pitch you’ve ever had?

Even though we don’t cover Kickstarter campaigns, their emails are the ones that tend to capture my attention. Their emails are very quirky and eye-catching. They’re also personable and just on the right side of it – usually I don’t like it when PRs are overtly familiar if they don’t know me. Casual emails that are funny and don’t assume it will grab my attention are what I like to see.

What type of gadgets get you most excited to write about?

Reviewing phones and anything that comes around that. Even though I might not be the most excited to write about phone cases, being pitched them at the right time helps me with my workload! And consumer electronics in general – anything that you can run off batteries. Drones or any gadgets that are particularly fun or useful, we’ll likely cover.

What’s the one product you couldn’t live without?

My iPhone 7. I couldn’t spend my day without it! It’s the centre of the tech universe really, isn’t it?