As we’ve discussed before, pitching is the key to developing relationships with the media, whether your trying to draw first-time attention to a brand or promote a new story from an existing one.
Today, pitching typically happens through emails, when public relations practitioners reach out directly to media contacts at magazines, newspapers, broadcast stations, online publications, and more. Sometimes you’re trying to establish initial contact with a reporter and other times, you’ve already developed a relationship with one. Regardless, as a PR professional, you are constantly pitching.
Nowadays, while email pitches are still widely utilized, we’ve encountered the rise and presence of social media. With that presence, we’re now seeing an increase in the number pitches going through social media as a way of contacting journalists and other media professionals.
Through a study done by PR News, media relations professionals are saying that Twitter is the second most effective method of connecting with reporters. In response to this study, Scott Dobroski, the senior director of corporate communications for Glassdoor, says that social media is not always the best tool to constantly pitch through. However, if it is a platform that you want to use, there are certain do’s and don’ts to follow, and Twitter is in fact the best place to do so.
- Direct message reporters on Twitter – if you’re going to do this, supplement it with an email so that they have somewhere to go for more information. Chances are your social media pitches are not going to be as in depth as those sent through email.
- Use direct messaging to comment on reporters’ tweets and retweet them – this is helpful if you want to establish a connection with them ahead of your pitch and eventually show that a story you have could be favorable to them.
- Make yourself known to reporters as a resource – you’re not simply trying to get a product mentioned in a magazine, you’re trying to share a story and all the information that goes with it. Sometimes the hardest part for reporters is finding sources, but you can be an easy one for them.
- Don’t pitch publicly – the whole point of your pitch should be that it’s important and unique to just that one person your pitching. If it’s public knowledge, it loses its singularity.
- Don’t abuse direct messaging – only direct message when you’re absolutely certain that it’s the story for them. If you’re not sure that they’re a good contact, direct messaging people constantly can become both annoying and get ignored.
- Don’t try to engage with reports on Facebook and Instagram – this has never proven to be a successful method of pitching and often is considered to cross the line between professional and personal lives. Facebook and Instagram are known to be more personal and more often or not, people want to separate the work place from their home. Of course, if they say to reach out via these platforms, then that’s another story.
Overall, it’s not that social media cannot be a platform for pitching, in fact, Twitter can be a great way of contacting reporters. However, there is more room for error in a pitch sent via Twitter, and if not done correctly, that pitch can fall flat. That’s why it is important to follow these rules above so that if you’re going to use this method of pitching, you do so successfully.
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