Deborah Lee
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How to Use to Twitter to Connect With Journalists


I’m thrilled that my good friend Rachael Phillips has penned this useful post. Read it and inwardly digest …

“Most companies public relations campaigns revolve around the press release. But let me tell you, the press release is dying.

As a journalist I receive a LOT of emails per day, the majority of these are press releases.

Now, I don’t want to lie to you, I delete around 98% of these releases – without even looking at them.

It’s not that I’m being rude, I possibly could be very interested in your company but if I were to spend my day reading every single release that appears in my inbox then there would be no time for actual work.

As an ex public relations professional turned journalist I know what a long, hard struggle it is getting your company in front of an editor.

Journalists can be a prickly bunch, on the whole we don’t really like to be disturbed so phone calls are a definite no-no and emails are often dismissed.

But one tool you do have at your disposal is Twitter.

Almost all journalists now have a twitter account, whether it’s to find case studies for their latest feature or to keep an eye on breaking news, Twitter is fast becoming an essential tool.

So why not harness that information and use twitter to connect with journalists and increase your chance of gaining great publicity?

Great idea, right?

Well before you rush off to send your favourite journalist a tweet telling them how amazing your product or service is, check out my top 10 tips on using twitter to connect with journalists.

1. Make sure your profile is in tiptop condition. You need to make sure you’ve a profile image (that suits the company, you in Marbella downing a beer bong won’t send out the right message) and an accurate description. It’s also ESSENTIAL that you include your location and website.

2. Journalists get a lot of pitches so don’t just pitch out of the blue. Take the time to build a relationship first, it can be as simple as just responding to one or two of their tweets.

3. Don’t copy and paste your tweet to several journalists. Seriously, this is not cool. Don’t think that once you pitch a journo that they won’t click on your profile to see what else you’re tweeting. If they see you’ve already tweeted other journalists with the same story then they will instantly switch off.

4. Keep to standard practices such as know what the journalist you’re tweeting writes about. There’s no point tweeting a tech journalist information about a new range of beauty products.

5. Check the journalist is active on Twitter. Why waste your time tweeting a defunct account?

6. DM is ALWAYS better than a public @, so if you can, take your pitch out of the public domain. However, don’t beg to be followed – you don’t want to appear needy.

7. Make sure that you contact the journalist not the publication. There’s no sense in pitching to @guardian because that account is an automatic stream and your message will be ignored. Do your research.

8. Keep an eye on the hashtag #journorequest – a lot of journalists will tweet information about stories they are working on and in particular if they need someone to comment.  You could be that person.

9. Use your lists. Create lists that include relevant journalists. You can use it to keep an eye on what the journalists are working on.

10. Never be pushy. Journalists (much like you) are really busy, if they don’t have time to respond or don’t reply straight away then that’s fine, don’t feel the need to tweet them the same thing again.

An extra TOP tip: Try keep your pitch to one tweet (two max.) If it can’t be said in 140 characters then it’s over complicated.

Overall, connecting with journalists on twitter is the easy part. Building a respectful and productive relationship is what you want to achieve, it takes time but it can garner great results.”

You can catch more of Rachael’s great content here: Rachael Phillips • Lifestyle Design • live, work & play better


photo credit: paurian via photopin cc

Leave a Comment:

Nadio Granata says

Excellent tips … having worked in marketing and taught PR around the world, I am very grateful to you for penning this … no nonsense, practical and insightful.

Alex says

Thanks for this. I’ve been penning the odd PR over the last few years and posting them on free Internet sites, emailing them to a couple of journos and suspecting I’ve been wasting my time – to a degree. The PRs do get read occasionally on my website. I’ll give this a shot…

Pat says

A really very useful piece to the newbies who want to get out there. Now we have a place to start. Thanks for sharing this.

    debsylee says

    Thanks so much, Pat! Rachael’s great experience is our gain 🙂

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