Joe G. recently interviewed Steve Greenberg, Gadget Guy and Innovation Insider, frequent contributor to The Today Show and author of “Gadget Nation.”
Tell us more about your day to day as a journalist during this pandemic?
I have certainly adjusted my content approach during this pandemic. Many viewers are stuck at home; my content has now shifted to focus on products that can help all of us get through our homebound days such as ‘work from home’ or ‘anxiety relief.’ Since I’m not running to airports, I personally have more time, so I am expanding my technology skillset with online workshops to help me be more efficient moving forward.
How has your approach ‘changed’ during the current landscape?
Much of my research is done through Trade Shows; since all of these big events are cancelled or postponed, I am doing much more online research. I am also relying more on pitches from PR professionals who can introduce me to these important timely products. The biggest change– I’m now able to shoot my segments in my home—and stations are using them—that’s a huge difference.
Do you see a ‘new norm’ evolving for TV segments for morning shows?
I think we were all in shock initially and needed to take a step back to consider the type of content to share. PR professionals had a very good handle on this and now understand that is OK to start reaching out again and share pitches. But the pitches need to fit the current landscape, which will continue to evolve over these forthcoming weeks.
What information is essential for you to consider a ‘pitch’ from a PR professional?
I would love to teach a class for PR professionals on how to deliver a good pitch. Many of the PR people are terrific and really “get it” BUT I am still shocked at how many do not get it. Pitches need to be short, to the point with a strong headline, a simple image and product price. I see more than 3,500 products each year—so to remember all products is next to impossible—it’s best to pitch me when a product makes sense at that time of the year or pitch what fits my current #segmenttheme. If the product is a “stretch” then maybe, it’s not a good fit.
What assets can a PR professional provide to help with your story?
I only like gadgets that are a great “show and tell.” If a product received ‘Best of…” share it with me. If there is a feature valuable during this ‘stay at home’ time, definitely share it. Think of sharing all information that you would expect me to share with viewers. Do not be afraid to pitch me, but make sure it is relevant. For example, I only feature gadgets under $100 on the Today Show, but for my other stations the product can cost a bit more. Since I’m all about television—the products need to be fun to demo. That’s so important and a good PR professional should know my segment, know my persona and know what types of gadgets I usually showcase.
In your opinion, what can PR professionals do better?
I know the limitations are great on both sides; make sure to really understand who I am and what types of stories I deliver — please do not force it. Keep the communication clear and succinct, but make sure all the valuable information is within – respecting everyone’s time is very important.
Are there any other words of wisdom to share?
I have always been very connected to the PR world and I truly appreciate their efforts. I believe in establishing and maintaining great relationships with PR professionals as we ultimately help and need each other.
And, if you wanted to check out previous Media Minute columns, here you go!