After six years in biotech PR and five years as a biotech journalist, I have both written and received a heckuva lot of pitches. I know how hard media pitching can be, and I always try to take the time (when you’re not calling me on deadline) to give PR pros feedback on why we will or won’t cover their news. Here’s the stuff I find myself explaining most often:
- Read our news. This might seem obvious, but you have no idea how many times people call me to pitch news we’ve already covered in that morning’s paper, or they have a fabulous expert on a topic I just wrote about in Insight. Now, I know BioWorld Today is expensive, so here’s a little secret: you can search the archives without a subscription. You won’t be able to see the full article, but the 10-or-so words on either side of your keyword will tell you if we’ve already covered your company or trend.
- Reach out to us. Even if we did already cover the topic you’re trying to pitch, you might have a fresh angle that’s worth a whole new story. I never mind when PR friends drop me a quick email to ask what stories we have in the works – those emails often come just when I am looking for sources. But before you reach out, please read Tip #3 and Tip #4.
- Understand our deadlines. The BioWorld editorial meeting happens daily at 10 a.m. EST. That’s when we pick the stories for the day, so if you have news that’s complex and needs explanation (i.e. a deal with no terms, but an interesting structure), please reach out to us before then. The best strategy: reach out to us a few days before under embargo – we always honor embargoes. Our deadline is 4:30 p.m. EST (give or take), so please excuse us if we are short with you or sound frazzled when you call around then.
- Know what we cover. If you read the paper (see Tip #1) you know this, but here is a cheat sheet: For cover stories, we are generally looking for significant financings/deals, pivotal trial initiations/data read-outs, and FDA approvals. We also cover stories on regulatory news (pitch Washington Editor Mari Serebrov), commercial biotech earnings, new companies we’ve never featured, publications/presentations of early stage research (pitch Anette Breindl) and occasionally trends. In our weekly publication, BioWorld Insight, we cover emerging trends and take deeper dives into original angles on breaking news.
- Know what we don’t cover: We don’t cover awards (except Nobel and Lasker) or the hiring of service providers. We generally don’t cover breaking news from tools, diagnostics or device companies, or from CROs or other service providers, but we are interested in their perspective on trends that impact/intersect with biotech. Our pharma coverage follows similar rules, but we also cover pharma drugs that could compete with approved or experimental biotech drugs. When in doubt, see Tip #2.