|7 Steps to Pitching Media on Twitter
By: Don McLean
If phone and email fail to get the message through, try pitching a journalist or two on Twitter. The 10-year-old social network is a place where many reporters today live and work, tweeting several times an hour in many cases. Being that it's used by reporters so much, it's natural to want to try to tap into that from a PR perspective. But how do you do it right?
A killer-looking profile
Make sure your Twitter profile looks good first. Your summary should read well and so should the news and comments you share. To be perfectly clear, don’t have a picture of you only wearing a Batman cowl and underwear — I’ve seen it and it doesn’t work. Keep your profile professional without being too stuffy and make sure it is filled with stories relevant to the topic area you’re pitching. This will elevate your profile in the eyes of a reporter. This takes time, so if you’re not past this step yet fix up your profile, start posting better stuff, and read this again in a month.
Monitor through Twitter lists
Twitter list are underused by most people. Take your time and build up a few private lists of specific reporters or influencers you want to engage with. Don’t forget freelancers, either. Sometimes relationships with freelance writers help you get into the most important publications.
Engage with the reporter without a pitch
You need to show you care about the topic that the reporter is passionate about. If it’s the field you’re in, you should be doing this anyway. To do that, share their stories, like them, or make relevant comments. The main advice here is just go beyond the one-way pitch. You shouldn’t just reach out to a reporter when you want them to write something, especially on Twitter.
Don’t spam them
Pay attention to what they post and how often. One of the worst things you can do is share or comment on everything. They’ll just think you’re trying to get something out of them and dismiss you. Show interest, just give them their space, man.
If you have a question or a pitch, send them an @reply
After these first four steps, an @reply is a great way to start pitching. Just remember one thing: it's public. You shouldn’t be pitching a thousand reporters on Twitter. Put your pitch together like an amazing subject line, and never ask if they saw your email. If they say nothing, they don’t want to talk to you through Twitter. Don’t push and ask multiple times; they saw it. You don’t want to start a Twitter war over a pitch — it’s not good for you or the company.
If they follow, DM them
This one’s simple. It’s easier to send a DM with a little bit more context than the 140 characters you’re limited to in the @reply. Of course, you need to build a relationship and get them to follow you to get to this stage.
Take it off Twitter
Once you get through all of the six previous steps, take it offline in two ways. One, get them whatever information is needed via email. Two, add them as a connection on LinkedIn. Relationships are one of the most important things in PR.
This works for not only reporters but influencers, investors, and even jobs. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.
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