How to land a story in Popular Mechanics

March 20, 2015
Photo (CC-BY-2.0) Keoni Cabral on Flickr

Photo (CC-BY-2.0Keoni Cabral on Flickr.

This post was written by Mike Lizun, Senior Vice President

Every tech company wants and needs exposure to win customers, sell products, and distinguish itself from the competition. But what does it take to land a tech-related story in the national media?

I’ve been interviewing some of the nation’s top tech editors about that very topic and will be sharing their insights with you over the next few months. We start with Alexander George, Associate Editor for Popular Mechanics. Popular Mechanics commands great respect and readership, including a circulation of 1.2 million early-adopter, influential readers who can make or break the success of the newest tech products.

Here’s his perspective on how to win the attention of Popular Mechanics and earn coverage for your technology product.

Mike Lizun: What catches your eye when you’re looking for a story?

Alexander George: When you’re going through hundreds of pitches each day, especially about new products, a really compelling image or video always helps. Besides, especially for a magazine like mine, a story has to include a photo or illustration, and if it’s a great one, that’s how you get a reader’s attention.

Writers whose pitches we take often have a savvy time-specific element. A friend who did one on acoustics at outdoor concert venues for a summer issue of Wired was a great idea.

If there’s a way to add something prescriptive to a story, to give some lucid, actionable advice, that’s always appealing, too. You can talk about those concert acoustics, but there needs to be an element where you can tell readers whether they should go see their favorite band inside or outside.

It’s basic but bears repeating: The story has to fit the magazine. Our magazine is trying new things now, so I don’t mean there’s a mold, but when I see the idea or I’m coming up with one, I need to think that this story is a Popular Mechanics story, not a Wired or IEEE Spectrum story. That comes down to the angle, as well. We did a watch guide for the March issue, and some of it could’ve fit in a typical men’s magazine, but we focused on the engineering and design history.

Thanks, Alexander. Check back soon for more insights into what the top tech reporters and editors are looking for and how to tell your story so it can’t be ignored.

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