Using Twitter to Pitch Reporters: What You Need to Know
For PR professionals, Twitter can be a great resource. Following journalists in your space and monitoring for queries can be a key first step in leveraging the platform in your work, and more and more journalists are there than ever before (59%, worldwide now). Pitching on Twitter can absolutely be done — but there’s a right way to do it. Here, we’ll offer some pointers on making a connection, building a rapport, and sending over a pitch that gets read.
Before you connect, make sure your Twitter profile leaves a good impression
Reporters do use Twitter and other social media channels to find stories, but only if the source behind them is known and trusted. If you want to pitch on Twitter, your personal brand matters. Your profile should reflect trustworthiness, authenticity, and value. Of course if you create a Twitter account a couple of days before and start pitching multiple reporters with a spammy tweet or DM, you can count on it being brushed off as spam. There’s a big difference if you’ve taken the time to establish yourself as a discerning tweeter who is a source of valued information.
Find your reporters, follow them, then build up a rapport
After you’ve established your profile, your time is best spent narrowing down which reporter would be the best fit for your pitch. You’ll likely have a list of reporters who are important to your clients or that write frequently about your clients’ industries, and if so, getting to know them and make yourself known is essential. Find other reporters, bloggers, and influencers you may not already know by tracking relevant hashtags. This activity can land you right in the most valuable conversations.
Journalists may tweet out requests for a tip, and if they do, take advantage of the opportunity to interact with them, even if not your field of expertise. You can still add value. Help point them in the right direction to a source they may be able to use so they can begin to see you as a go-to person when they need help.
Send over your pitch
Use your best judgement when it comes to sending your pitch. There are several ways you might do it (as per MuckRack Daily):
- If a reporter’s DM option is enabled, the assumption is it’s fair game to message. If they’re local, you might message them and ask them for coffee to talk about stories. If they see you as a go-to source, they’ll be glad to connect
- Send a low-pressure message like “loved your story on X. I work with hospitality clients. Let me know if you ever want to connect on a source”
- Send a direct pitch like “Loved your story on X. I have a great story idea on X. How can I get in touch with details?” Always keep your message light and pressure-free
Those are 3 platform-specific pointers for your pitch. In general though, increase the chances that your pitch will be well-received by taking a couple of pointers from PR pitching pros Dan Ovsey and Michael Smart:
Even if you have a connection with a reporter, “Be sure to explain why you’ve chosen to pitch him or her and, most importantly, explain why his / her audience would care,” says Dan. The bottom line is, no matter how much reporters like your pitch, if it doesn’t fit their needs they won’t use it. Always be prepared to explain why you chose them.
Brevity and conciseness is key when it comes to pitches, especially those on Twitter: “Almost all of us are too wordy. We love our subject matter and we love our beautiful little sentences that we so lovingly craft. But we gotta hack away to hold attention in today’s time-starved environment … You’ll be surprised at how you can do this almost every time without losing any meaning.” One of the benefits of pitching on Twitter is that it forces you to hone your message down to a few key points, which is always good pitching etiquette.
Have you had any luck with pitching on Twitter? We’d love to hear about your experience. Have any tips to keep your pitch concise and compelling in the DM box? Share one or two in the comments.