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Media Relations: Twitter Edition Part Deux

December 24, 2010 1 comment

Make Twitter a useful tool for media relations

Well, I apologize for not posting in a while.  I’ll start posting more frequently, and with Christmas just around the corner, what better time of year to continue blogging by giving you all the gift of knowing how to pitch on Twitter? Two posts ago, I gave some basics about using Twitter to connect with the media. As always, it’s important to form a relationship with journalists and other groups you are targeting, and it is important to realize the duties and constraints they have.  That is all well and good, but what are some specifics on what you need to do to get the media person you want?

Maya Wasserman offers 8 tips on how to pitch using Twitter. I’ll highlight seven of these tips while referencing a similar post by Nathan Hangen as well as a post co-written by Adam Vincenzini and Lacey Haines. The 8th tip is one from the Hangen article.

  • “Develop and strengthen your online brand first.” Maya covers some of the basics any twitterer…tweeter?…twittite? (nevermind) should follow: be credible, offer valuable information, engage others, and be interesting. Hangen makes a good point about not just trying to “sell” your pitch. On your own Twitter feed, offer some information other than your pitches. Show another side of yourself.
  • “Find the actual journalist, rather than the publication.” This one she admits takes time, but of course, the dividends can pay off. Resources like MediaOnTwitter, Twitter lists, and the journalists’ publication websites (as they are posting their staff’s Twitter handles)  are good starts for finding and organizing the journalists you may want to target.
  • “Build a relationship first. Chances are, you are going to follow what someone says if you trust him or her opposed to someone you don’t know. The same applies for journalists and communicators. Relationships are key, and to build a relationship with journalists, retweet them, answer their questions, and comment on not just their Twitter feeds, but their blogs and articles as well. Maya tells us that Twitter is a “great place” to be a resource for reporters so accommodate them by “listening and learning”. Hangen tells us (article posted here again) that using automated services to auto-tweet links is not the right way to go. They lack personality, so when pitching, be conversational and casual. Don’t come off as someone just trying to sell something.
  • “Brevity is not only key, it is necessary.” 140 characters isn’t that much space, so condense what you have to say by stating what is absolutely necessary for the journalist to know. Vincenzini and Haines’ article (posted here again) referenced people that preferred the limit on Twitter, especially in regards to an e-mail pitch, so not only can a 140 character pitch be done, it may be the best route to go. Hangen mentions that the pitch should not just be made on Twitter though, links to your blog, copy should be available too. Make sure that these and similar links are identified as such as people do not want to be “tricked” into clicking on something.
  • “Use PitchEngine.” Maya proposes this as a relatively easy way to format your pitch and connect with people in an efficient way, and PitchEngine lets you edit and interact with your pitch even after it’s been sent out.  The key here that Maya points out for Twitter, is that this kind of pitch can fit within that pesky (at times) character limitation. This reinforces the point Hangen makes about having more in your pitch than a 140 character message.
  • “DM when possible.” DM or direct message your pitch to your target journalist. This means the journalist has to be following you, so hopefully that is the case if you’ve built a relationship with them.  Wasserman states that “@ replying” is an option, but one must be aware  that the pitch is made public that way, so DMing is  journalists a good way to keep your pitch private. In the Vincenzini article, the authors note that some reporters prefer the DM because they already have a relationship with you, and because the reporter also does not want competitors to know who he or she is talking to.
  • “It helps if the client you are pitching is on Twitter, too.” Having one less obstacle/medium to get over is a nice advantage for getting your pitch out. This is the case if you, your client, and your journalist are all able to connect to each other easily on the same platform.
  • Use “Social Proof”. Hangen tells us to leverage your social network to help your pitch. Having others support your pitch or product is more effective than you pitching by yourself.

All of these tips are very useful when thinking about pitching on Twitter, and hopefully they can help you get your pitch out there.

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