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HOW TO: Use Social Media in Your PR Pitch Plan

I published this article on this week and it got great feedback.

It’s clear that the public relations landscape is changing. No longer does emailing a journalist a press release always result in coverage on major news channels (there are exceptions, naturally, but the average business doesn’t get in the Wall Street Journal). These days, journalists (and yes, bloggers too) are inundated with press releases. It’s easy to hit delete and move on.

How do you get your pitch heard above the din? Conversation. Engagement. Interaction.

Social media is Key in Your Pitch

Why? Because that’s where your media contacts are hanging out these days, and that’s where they look for story ideas. But be forewarned: there is a lot of bad social media pitching going on already.

Pamela Johnston of PJ Inc. Public Relations says she avoids doing certain things on Twitter  that are looked upon negatively, like:

-¢ pimping client news

-¢ straight out traditional pitching

-¢ sending random things to people/journalists she doesn’t know

I like that she doesn’t use traditional methods of pitching on social media. You can’t apply the same methods you used 10 years ago to Twitter. It’s impossible. Instead, you must find new ways to reach media contacts.

The world is small these days. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Kirtsy, Digg, blogs, video and web sites are quickly becoming integrated. It’s fairly easy to connect with someone and keep up with what they’re doing. Journalists and bloggers are no different.

Social Media as a Learning Tool

I always like to learn about the journalist I’m targeting before I contact them. I start on the media website and read her bio. I then search for her onGoogle. 8 times out of 10 I find her Twitter profile, Facebook profile and maybe even a personal blog. I study all these sources and connect where I can. Sometimes I find that this isn’t really the right journalist to be pitching.

I make notes in my contact database with links to all her sources. I then make a plan to interact with the journalist in her own space. I comment on posts I like. I retweet her content on Twitter. I send a brief note on Facebook (not pitching a story, but sharing one of her posts I liked and asking to connect). This way, by the time I’m ready to pitch her, I’m already on her radar.

Pitching a media contact is a process. It’s not something that will happen overnight. Plan ahead and work for several weeks to get to know a journalist or blogger for best results.

Be A Resource

According to Nick Lawhead of Desautel Hege Communications, he connects with media types on Twitter when they’re looking for topics where he can provide experts:

It is quite common for reporters, news producers and anchors to post something along the lines of looking for interesting stories about ______ to discuss today. Being part of an agency, it is critical for me to capitalize on those opportunities for my clients. Often times, this doesn’t require a pitch as much as connecting a reporter with a resource (hopefully my client).

This goes back to monitoring social media. Your best successes might not come from a pitch at all, but rather the reward of being a good listener and paying attention to the journalists you can help. Journalists like being helped better than they like being pitched.

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hi Susan,
    What I like the best is it best of both approaches: pro & casual.
    Your language is casual but content is professional.
    Your flow is casual but planning for flow is professional.
    Your simplicity is casual but strategy is professional.
    The post is one rare mix…

  2. Hi Susan! I really like your post considering that you were so casual in sharing information about PR Pitch Plan. I really agree with you with regards the step by step process before pitching a journalist for press releases. It is indeed hard to actually find someone who would take a look with your PR material thus, it is important that you have established a connection with them first before you give them feeds. This is really a great read. Thanks for sharing.

    Tyrone Shum
    Internet Business Path dot com
    Need help with understanding ecommerce? Visit my blog and learn how to profit from ecommerce.

  3. Thanks for the great content and information. I am always going through the internet searching for good content and to also get ideas for my home based business web sites and future articles on this basic and general subject. Again, thanks for the great content and I will be coming back to revisit this site again for more information in the near future.

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