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Pitching Pointers from Mobile Media Mavens

As mobile’s momentum continues, the pace of articles, conferences and new apps has intensified. At PCNY’s event on Tuesday, panelists discussed the maze of mobile options. Editors and reporters covering the mobile beat at GigaOM, Mashable, TechCrunch, SAI Tools (Silicon Valley Insider), and Ad Age offered pitching guidance and brand overviews, since most have undergone major changes recently.

Company size, funding, marketing budgets, Silicon Valley vs. Alley location, and product uniqueness all matter for mobile stories. Startups often don’t make the cut unless they’re well funded, and it’s a tough sell if you’re just another app.

Ad Age now has more themed issues, such as digital, television, and global, and their mobile stories cover “how mobile devices are marketed, how mobile companies monetize their products, daily deals, and digital agencies,” according to their mobile reporter, Kunur Patel. Given their large retail readership, mobile payments is also a hot topic. They focus on larger companies and well-funded startups with sizeable marketing resources. Videos are used selectively to show how things work, since not all their readers are “super-techies.”

TechCrunch was in flux after its acquisition by AOL and the departure of founder Michael Arrington, who now oversees CrunchFund. However, as managing editor Peter Ha noted, “We’re still in the business of breaking news, and updates about rounds of funding are our bread and butter. We tiptoe the line between being a trade pub and consumer brand.” TechCrunch caters to a Silicon Valley audience with some readers in New York. They use video for segments such as “Ask a VC” and “Fly or Die.” Also of note: they run weekend guest columns.

GigaOM bought paidContent earlier this year, and has also expanded into Europe, with verticals in London and Berlin. Staff writer Ryan Kim described GigaOM as “a tech blog based in San Francisco focused on what’s coming up next.” They feature C-level executives and decision makers who explain what they expect to see moving forward. Kim covers East coast startups, and his areas include mobile, cloud computing, apps, app ecosystems, location-based services, enterprise and mobile commerce.

Mashable has also experienced a transformation with its extension beyond social media in recent months to include business, entertainment and lifestyle sections. Their tech reporter Samantha Murphy covers mobile and lifestyle. “Mashable has an active community with lots of commenters, so we’re a destination site for them,” she said. “We also use third party content, as was the case when we used an Avengers consultant.” She holds onto trends pieces for future reference, and welcomes videos if they “package a story and make it more dynamic.”

SAI Tools is a section of SAI, where the front page features more general coverage. “SAI Tools is a mixture of news and opinion, including reviews,” according to editor Steve Kovach, who focuses on the consumer-facing side.

“Overall the biggest stories are large mobile launches and we may feature exclusives about interesting app developers.” He appreciates compelling videos and infographics. However, he cautioned, “there are lots of copy cats out there. I don’t need to see another Instagram. I need to know how your app is different.”

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