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Ed Zitron, EZPR

David Barnard
March 10, 2021
51
 MIN
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In This Episode

Our guest today is Ed Zitron, the founder and CEO of EZPR, a media relations company based in San Francisco. Ed has worked with everyone from drone-maker Skydio to game-maker PUBG to app-maker SmartNews. He has a unique approach to media relations and is quite effective at helping his clients get results.

In this episode, you’ll hear about:

  • When you should consider working with a PR firm
  • How to pitch your app to a tech journalist
  • Why it’s better to start small with press coverage

Follow Us:

David Barnard: https://twitter.com/drbarnard

Jacob Eiting: https://twitter.com/jeiting

Ed Zitron: https://twitter.com/edzitron

Here’s the Outline of Our Interview with Ed:


[1:40] Ed and David worked together over 10 years ago!


[2:23] Ed’s background in journalism and how he got into PR; the Cool-ER e-reader.


[4:41] Why PR is so much more difficult these days; Facebook; Cambridge Analytica; Theranos.


[6:36] The shift from enthusiasm to skepticism in tech journalism; Indiegogo; TechCrunch; Michael Arrington; Josh Constine.


[9:30] How tech journalism views app; John Gruber.


[11:00] The New York Times tech column; David Pogue; Walter Mossberg.


[11:37] Joanna Stern may be the best tech journalist working today; The Verge; Engadget.


[12:19] Dieter Bohn’s review of the Apple Macbook Air with M1 chip.


[12:55] Does cold emailing tech journalists still work?; DoNotPay.


[15:25] Tech review sites that are great for app developers: iMore, Review Geek, Android Police.


[16:00] 2019 was the toughest year for tech cynicism.


[16:42] How to pitch your app to a tech journalist; Sarah Perez.


[18:38] Getting press coverage in large vs. niche publications; catering to journalists’ interests; Skydio.


[23:30] When is the right time to consider hiring a PR agency?


[26:40] Make it super easy for tech journalists to write about your app; hero images.


[27:57] You should hire a PR agency if you truly have a special app; Wyze; Meater.


[30:04] Don’t waste money on a press release—you don’t need one; Unbox Therapy.


[33:13] PR vs. direct marketing; Cheddar.


[36:28] Truth and trust in PR; Indiegogo; MobileMe.


[44:00] What questions to ask when evaluating a PR firm.


[46:15] The best way to interact with journalists: Be human, be useful, and be respectful; Suhail Doshi.


[50:27] Connect with Ed on Twitter or by email at ed@ezpr.com.


Quotes:


“Journalists generally want to hear about things they’re interested in or their readers might be interested in. Seems obvious, but it is not. Indeed, many PR people do not act that way.” - Ed


“I feel like tech journalism needs more [joyful enthusiasm]. It is a lot of fun watching someone whose job it is to be critical genuinely be won over by something.” - Ed


“The big secret of PR is that every journalist pretty much tells you what they want if you go on Twitter and read their tweets and articles.” - Ed 


“If you’re working with a PR agency, go month-to-month, first of all. Don’t sign on for multiple months—just don’t do it. But also I would argue you want to make sure that there are actually journalists writing about this sort of thing.” - Ed


“As an app developer, there’s nothing wrong with you reading a whole bunch of stuff and emailing the reporter with 90-110 words and saying, ‘This is my app, this is what it does, this is why it’s good.’” - Ed


“You have to think about [a journalist’s] motivation, what their job is. Their job is to inform readers, and cynically, at some point, it’s also to get clicks. There is an aspect of understanding their business model.” - David


“When you’re early on, the best thing to do is go look for those niche publications, niche YouTubers, niche sources of attention that are really so deep into your target market, and that’s going to be 10X more effective than cold emailing TechCrunch. And then as you grow and have a broader-market app, then you can think about working with Ed.” - David


“An agency can cost between $8,000 and $25,000 a month. If you look at that and it’s going to be make-or-break money for your business, it’s the wrong time to do PR.” - Ed


“Start smaller. Start with people who are going to really care… People who are really into what you’re doing are so much more effective than a lukewarm writeup on TechCrunch.” - Ed


“[PR] is not this one-in, one-out thing. It’s this beat of a drum. You’re building… a brand. Sometimes brand leads to downloads. Sometimes it leads to hiring people. Sometimes it leads to investors. It’s building this portfolio of social proof that you’re something.” - Jacob


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Episode Transcript