3 tips for pitching through Twitter

This article first appeared on MediaHQ.com.

There are now more ways than ever to communicate with a journalist—but that doesn’t mean they are more likely to pick up your pitch.

If a particularly influential reporter likes to hang out on Twitter, why not reach out to them there rather than through their overflowing inbox?

Here are three tips for pitching through Twitter:

1. Show some interest

Follow the reporter in advance of tweeting your pitch. That way they will know you are serious about sharing your story idea and aren’t just spamming every journo in sight.

Try to engage with them beforehand as well—like some of their tweets; comment on a couple of posts. Show some genuine interest in their work.

2. Go public

If you tweet ‘.@username’, your pitch will be visible to other Twitter users, so even if this particular journalist isn’t interest, another reporter might spot the tweet and take you up on it.

Equally, remember to do your usual research before reaching out—a journalist might publicly call you out if you tweet them a totally irrelevant story idea.

Check what topics they tend to cover, look at who they are following and scroll through their likes. This should give you a good idea of what they are interested in.

3. Follow-up—but only once

If the journalist doesn’t respond to you within a reasonable time (this depends on the shelf life of your story and how active the reporter is on Twitter), there is no harm in sending a courteous follow-up tweet.

If they don’t respond on Twitter, don’t email them the same pitch with a follow-up email, followed by a pitch via LinkedIn messenger with yet another follow-up.

There’s a reason you chose to contact them through Twitter—if they didn’t get back to there, they won’t respond anywhere else.

 

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5 things to quit in your PR pitch

quit in pitch

As the media evolves, so does the pitching process.

Shrinking newsrooms at traditional media outlets mean reporters are now busier than ever. That’s why it is important for savvy PR pros to smarten up their pitching techniques if they want to sell their stories to influential journalists.

Here are five bad habits to kick if you want to become pitch perfect:

1. Making your story too complicated

Journalists are likely under pressure for time, so you’ll have to really grab their attention. The most effective way to do that is to keep your pitch clean, simple and powerful.

Make your message snappy and include only what is necessary.

If you are pitching a complex topic through email, break the story down to its simplest form and use bullet points.

Avoid jargon because it is awkward and a journalist will dismiss it as marketing-speak.

2. Not researching a reporter

If you are pitching an exclusive to an individual reporter, make sure you know about their past articles and specialist areas. There is no point pitching an education story to a health correspondent (unless it is somehow relevant, of course).

Also, check that they haven’t already covered stories on your competitors and look into the media outlet they contribute to.

This will help smarten up your pitch and make it easier to establish a repertoire with the journalist if you already have some context about their career.

3. Not personalising a pitch

Rather than putting someone at the butt end of a mass email, personalise your pitch with references to past articles and connect with them through social media.

It’s possible to personalise media releases on MediaHQ’s system. You can learn more about that here.

4. Weak subject lines

If you are emailing a pitch, a snappy subject line is crucial.

Keep it short and write in vivid, simple language. Write it in the active verb form, and use the present or future tense.

Remember, the subject line is supposed to attract the reader and capture the essence of your story in a single sentence.

5. Being a nuisance caller

If a journalist doesn’t respond to your email or your Tweet, they certainly won’t respond to your call.

And if they have ignored your story idea, don’t hunt down their co-workers as well.

If you want to learn more about pitching story ideas, come along to our Pitch Perfect training course on March 8. MediaHQ.com’s managing director Jack Murray, an expert on pitching ideas, will teach you how to connect with journalists, build media lists and get your story heard.

This article first appeared on MediaHQ.com.

MediaHQ.com is Ireland’s largest and most dynamic media intelligence company, with contacts to more than 7,000 journalists on our database. Since we started in 2009, we have helped Ireland’s best known brands connect over 100,000 stories with the media.