Have You Heard the One about Telling Stories?

May 30, 2014 Lisa Mokaba

Words of wisdom have been shared with students all month, as commencement speakers  joked, advised and were inexplicably mad on campuses across the nation. We had our own special guest at InkHouse yesterday when Ron Miller, TechCrunch’s new enterprise reporter, stopped by our offices to give some insight into what he is looking for in his new role and some best practices to help us PR folks graduate from a pitch to an actual story for our clients.

Ron is certainly a familiar face to anyone who has enterprise clients. He has been a tech writer since 1988 and you may remember him from such publications as EContent, CITEWorld and FierceContentManagement.

It came as no surprise when asked to weigh in on the age-old debate of exclusive vs. embargo that Ron said exclusives are preferred. The conversation regarding this outreach strategy is one we’ve covered in depth here at InkHouse and the battle will continue to wage on as the news cycle speeds up but the appetite for in-depth reporting does not diminish. Ron shared that he does honor embargoes, however, with a pretty solid track record of only breaking an embargo once (and he assured us it was completely by accident).

However, the notions of embargoes and exclusives are inextricably tied to news announcements and that’s not necessarily what will get you time on Ron’s calendar. The story that will get Ron to open your email is just that, a story.

Dig if you will a story Ron recently posted on open APIs fueling the cloud ecosystem. It was the result of (and these are Ron’s words) a “mish mash” of companies, angles, and issues he was able to connect to explain a trend in the enterprise cloud space. It’s not about highlighting one particular technology, but informing his readers of a complex issue that they care about and may be facing in their own jobs. He seeks to uncover a niche that hasn’t been covered before, or put together things that at first glance shouldn’t go together at all but which reveal something interesting and valuable. His approach is simple: write something he would want to read.

As for us folks on the other side of the news cycle (often called “The Dark Side”), it of course remains important to send along relevant news such as funding, M&A, and the like, but we need to help connect these dots into larger stories instead of blips on a company timeline.

We truly appreciated Ron taking the time to stop by our offices yesterday. It was an incredibly valuable conversation as we all try to be assets to our clients and reporters alike, figuring out the non-scientific, and often complicated, art of storytelling.

Topics: InkHouse, Public Relations, Embargos, Journalism, PR, Thought Leadership

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