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Decoding the Boston Media Landscape

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Tips to grab the attention of top science and biotech reporters and editors

A few weeks ago, Lauren Kaufman and I attended Out of the Lab and into the Newsroom, a panel discussion hosted by Johnson & Johnson Innovation Labs in Kendall Square. During the event, we heard from Xconomy Editor Gregory Huang, MIT Technology Review’s Antonio Regalado, Boston Business Journal’s Don Seiffert and Stat Executive Editor Rick Berke about some of the best strategies for both emerging and established healthcare, biotech and life sciences companies to bring their stories into the headlines. Here are some key takeaways:

Make it newsworthy. Before reaching out to a reporter, ask yourself, how big of a deal is my story? If you’re not jazzed up about it, chances are a journalist who is strapped for time won’t be either. Consider tying to a current event, recent research or some new statistics to help your pitch stand out from the masses.

Remember your audience. Keep in mind the people who read the publication: are they venture capitalists? Business executives? Local residents? If it’s not already in your regular rotation, spend some time reading the publication and visiting its website and social media channels. Consider columns or sections where your proposed story could be a fit before reaching out.

Be unique. Don’t approach four or five publications with the same story idea. Always tailor your approach.

Ensure available spokespeople. Executives should block off time for interviews the day of an important announcement. If a patient is part of the story, one should be available and, if not, a useful alternative is a spokesperson from an advocacy organization.

Keep it concise. Can you tell your story in 10 words? How about 30 seconds? Studies show that emails with the highest return rate are brief and to the point. Include right upfront the news hook and a brief explanation of why the company, executive, news, research or product innovation is a big deal.

Good luck with your outreach! For more tips to help break through the noise, contact PAN Communications at 617.502.4300 or follow us on Twitter (@PANcomm). Check back soon for additional insight on top healthcare news and trends!

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