#muckedup: The Best Way to Pitch Journalists on Twitter? Don’t.
Twitter chats have quickly become a go-to resource for picking up quick tidbits of professional advice and insight. While many of these great conversations can be lost in the vast depths of the Hashtag Abyss, a select few rise above the clutter and resonate with their target groups.
#Muckedup is a chat hosted by The Muck Rack Blog where PR pros and journalists come together and learn directly from one another. Topics discussed range from best practices in pitching and social media to pet peeves PR pros and journalists have about each other.
Needless to say, this makes for some interesting and sometimes painfully honest discussions – or at the very least, entertaining vent sessions.
The first official #muckedup chat, “How do journalists want to be pitched on social media?” proved to be a compelling and perceptive conversation for more than 100 participating professionals from both sides of the fence. For starters, and much to the eager-to-tweet chagrin of PR pros, the answer to the eponymous question turned out to be an out-and-out “They Don’t.”
The general sentiment from reporters was that they prefer not to be pitched via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social platforms at all. Rationale for this stance ranged from social media being too hard to keep track of, to journalists preferring their competition and other story sources not to see who they’re working with. Makes sense to me.
Obviously there are exceptions to this rule as many of us have had some degree of success with pitching on Twitter. Nevertheless, these qualms with social pitching put some perspective on the process.
On the flipside, many journalists indicated that social media could be used by PR pros in other capacities that complement the pitch process.
For example, a tweet containing a personal introduction of yourself and who you represent is oft preferred to the pitching of an outright story. Additionally, many journalist respondents were favorable to receiving an initial pitch via email with a follow-up from the PR rep coming on Twitter. The latter method adds a human element to the otherwise lifeless platform of email, putting a face to your name. Journalists value pitches from people they can put a face to, versus from someone who shows up as a directory-style name in their inbox.
Additionally, Twitter follow-up showcases initiative taken by the pitcher to go the extra mile to seek out the journalist’s handle (usually a Google search, but it’s something).
Ultimate takeaways from this conversation:
- Avoid cold-tweeting a pitch unless you have an ongoing relationship with a reporter. Even then it might not be the best path.
- Use Twitter as a relationship builder as opposed to a vehicle to pitch your news to vulnerable journalists. Introduce yourself, add value to conversations and make it a two-way street.
- For some reporters, Twitter is an acceptable venue to follow up an email pitch, but tread carefully.
- Be strategic when crafting your Twitter bio. Reporters use these to evaluate you as a news source, so include necessary professional info, but don’t be afraid to show some personality. They like that too.
Muck Rack provides a recap of each weekly #muckedup chat on their site.
You can check out the next #muckedup chat today at 11 a.m. EST.