Clint Boulton, Senior Writer at CIO.com joins us as our special guest this week on the ConnectThe2 podcast. Clint has been writing about enterprise CIOs and digital transformation for over nine years and was previously a Staff Reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering big data, cloud computing and other areas germane to CIOs. During our conversation with Clint, we discuss the pros and cons of social media, how to pitch him and the importance of telling engaging narratives.
Here are the biggest takeaways from our conversation. If you like what you’re reading, be sure to listen to the whole episode, linked at the bottom of this page.
How to increase your chances of getting a story covered by Clint… For a long time now, many of the pitches Clint receives from PR specialists do not align with his coverage. If you want your story idea to stand out, you have to bring him a CIO, CDO or some other IT leader. He focuses on digital strategy for IT leaders, so he is looking for broad conversations with CIOs about digital transformation and all that it entails, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and managing IT as a product.
Bonus points if you can snag Clint a CIO-in-training and/or a trusted lieutenant, someone shadowing the CIO to learn the role, often as part of a succession scenario.
The only exception is if you are working with a research firm like IDC or Gartner, and they have relevant research on digital strategies. Or a consultant, such as McKinsey, Accenture, Deloitte, etc.; any of those are welcome, too.
Also: Do not request insight on what kind of stories a journalist is working on at the moment. Most journalists are disinclined to share their workflow with you. Instead, read their latest articles to get an idea of the stories they are covering and make sure your pitch aligns with those topics. Lastly, do not ask journalists for their feedback on how you can do better at your job, especially when you do not have a working relationship with that journalist. Because honestly, how can journalists know what will help you help them? They do not know who you know or are connected to let alone your skillsets.
Social networks and the “don’t be evil” mantra… Clint was a former staff writer at eWEEK covering online collaboration and social networks. While he wrote about Facebook and Twitter during his tenure there, he was a fan of the social network Google+ for their “don’t be evil” motto. It was a mantra that the folks at Google espoused constantly and seemed to believe in. However, now he just finds that phrase deeply ironic, as news came out about Google and similar companies’ massive data hoarding schemes.
Currently, Clint uses Twitter and LinkedIn to broadcast news. “A lot of IT leaders are on Twitter and that’s who I write for. I’ll link to my stories and my colleague’s stories and that often sparks a dialogue [within the platform]. When you spark a dialogue, it doesn’t always lead to a story idea, but it can. That is the good thing about social media. It provides a marketing tool in the sense that I can reach an audience and they can reach back at me.” How to tell a narrative… When interviewing CIOs and other IT leaders, Clint appreciates when the spokesperson can tell a narrative. He not only wants to understand what was done, but how it was done and the strategy behind the decision-making process.
“As humans, we relate to stories more than anything else. If you can tell an engaging story, people can process it and hopefully respond to that in kind.”
Hear more... If you've enjoyed these takeaways be sure to listen to our full interview, linked below. Also, be sure to list to, rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeartRadio or Soundcloud.