September 8, 2017

Prepare to pitch: Getting to know journalists a la Twitter

Twitter is made for reporters. It’s accessible, easy to track breaking news (it’s #StarTrekDay—live long and prosper) and encourages shares with a single click. 

Twitter is known for being a journalist’s home-away-from-home. So how can communication pros leverage the social network to get their pitches opened? Here are three tips to stay connected with reporters (and ultimately pitch well) by joining the Twittersphere:

  1. Connect with reporters on Twitter first, then pitch by email
    Crafting a newsworthy pitch takes time—so why spend energy writing pitches you only think they’ll read? Follow reporters on Twitter to understand their real passions, and then craft custom pitches.

    The draw of Twitter is that it’s short and to the point. If you had to write an email pitch in 140 characters, how would you condense it? Think of this approach when pitching and drafting short subject lines. Don’t bury the lead.

    Pro-tip: Not sure how to find the right reporters to pitch? Scour newspaper directories, use Twitter’s advanced search capabilities, look at who your competitors follow and dig through lists made by publications you want to land coverage in.  

  2. Show your love for news (and subscribe to it)
    Reporters love knowing their work isn’t lost in a void. Show your support by commenting on articles with legitimate questions or praise. When pitching by email, consider quickly referencing some of their tweets. For example, “Your article you tweeted about Seattle’s new bikeshare programs reminded me about a new bike product we have at our store…”  

    What used to be a competition for the front page is now also a competition for traffic. Reporters want to be pitched by people who read and engage with their work. So hit retweet. 

  3. Keep up with conversations
    Connecting with people is one of the reasons reporters love their job. (If they didn’t, interviews would never get done.) Join in on the conversations, but be careful not to pitch on the platform. Here are a few ways to stay up-to-date with reporters’ feeds: 
  • Turn on push notifications to view Tweets as they are published
  • Use lists to sort and follow your favorite journalists by topic or publication
  • Subscribe to pre-made lists created by news organizations, like the ones produced by NPR Politics
  • Utilize tools such as HootSuite to easily search individual feeds 

How do you use Twitter to keep up with media? Tweet us at @JayRayAdsPR.