I wrote this article to be published in Bill Stoller’s Publicity Insider newsletter, but thought it was so good I’d share it with you too!
Anyone who does PR for a brand knows that pitching media contacts is like trying to get President Obama’s attention. Reporters and editors all seem too busy to care about our stories, intriguing though they may be. Sure, they are bombarded with pitches and press releases daily, but how do you cut through the crap and rise to the top of that stack?
One trick of the trade I’ve discovered is Twitter. When I’m researching contacts at publications, blogs, and websites, I look to see if an editor or the company has a Twitter account. Then, a week after I send the email pitch (carefully crafted, of course), I send a tweet as a followup.
Most journalists don’t seem to mind being contacted via Twitter. After all, it’s not exactly a private channel. For a recent client of mine, ioSafe, who makes external hard drives, 90% of the media placement I got was as a result of following up on Twitter.
Some of the writers hadn’t received my emails (thanks, CAN-SPAM Act!). Others had forgotten about it and were glad to be reminded of it. I found the immediacy of the interaction on Twitter to be gratifying. After all, it’s harder to ignore a tweet than it is an email.
I’ve also pitched directly through Twitter. I’ll send a quick note saying I think XYZ product is a good fit for their website/magazine/blog, and are they interested in learning more? I include a link so they can easily click it and decide if they want more information. If they do, we exchange emails and the process is set in motion.
My final words of advice about pitching media contacts through Twitter are: target, target, target. Even though Twitter provides a new channel for public relations, it’s still essential to do your homework and understand the channel you’re pitching. Read the articles or blog posts. Read the editor’s bio to see if he even writes product reviews. Pretend you’re going to be quizzed on the company and be that prepared. The editor you’re reaching out to will be that much more likely to take you up on your pitch, and hey, who knows? Maybe you’ll actually develop a relationship with that media contact!