Tell the Wacky Human Story: Secrets to Successfully Pitching WIRED

You’ve finally got the polished pitch, the carefully constructed media list, the press release available under embargo—and yet sometimes the inevitable happens and the dreaded voicemail box or the series of emails gone unanswered leaves every PR professional wondering: what does it take to get a client featured in WIRED?

Last month, PRSA’s Silicon Valley chapter hosted an “Inside the Newsroom” event featuring WIRED’s Senior Editor David Pierce, Video Producer Paula Chowles, and Transportation Editor Alex Davies. The Q&A style panel was full of helpful insight and best practices on how PR professionals should work with WIRED when it comes to pitching, and what kind of stories you need to tell to capture the staff’s attention:

Tip #1: Don’t just tell the success story, tell WIRED about the struggle and the pitfalls of the creative process. The staff all agreed that some of the best stories WIRED has ever told all involved an honest retelling of obstacles faced and production failures dealt with to ultimately create something amazing.

Tip #2: Don’t hide the wacky or awkward spokespeople: not a people person? WIRED doesn’t mind; they much prefer talking to the shy engineer who is the brains behind a cool new creation than to an executive without a relatable personality. The best way to get WIRED to care is to give them the details behind the innovation journey— how and why the product was invented— and the best person to tell this story is the inventor him/herself.

Tip #3: WIRED loves video opportunities, so give them access: The panel participants constantly emphasized the publication’s interest in telling stories with videos, and the importance of doing so to connect with their growing younger audience. Their videos are often light-hearted and show a sense of humor. So give the staff access, invite them to where the product was created and let them experience the manufacturing process first-hand.

Tip #4: Get personal. Sure, WIRED tells the product story all the time, but what they love is the human story behind it. In most cases, the product or business strategy story isn’t enough. WIRED strives for what they call the “day-two story”: long-form stories exploring how new technology products fit into a larger trend and what that means for consumers. So remember: offer the human story, a journey that their audience can relate to and proves why this news matters to others.

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