Twitter can be a great place to interact with journalists. The majority of journalists use Twitter for interacting with readers, researching stories, and sharing news. For PR folks, Twitter can provide an ideal channel for building relationships with journalists, but of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. If you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot, you’d better know the difference. After all, you don’t want to be “that guy (or girl).”
How can you make sure you don’t cross the line and make an ass of yourself when interacting with journalists on Twitter? Here are some behaviors you need to avoid at all costs.
- Don’t tweet the same pitch out to multiple journalists—Pitching a journalist on Twitter is already treacherous enough as it is, but if you do decide to do it, don’t be “that guy” by tweeting out the same pitch over and over to dozens of different reporters. Remember, your tweets are public, and when a reporter clicks on your profile, if he or she sees you’ve been copying and pasting the same pitch over and over, any interest will be immediately lost.
- Don’t tweet one journalist in an effort to reach another—Yes, that journalist you want to reach might have 100,000 followers, but that doesn’t mean you should tweet a junior reporter at the publication who only has 100 followers in an effort to reach her colleague. It’s just plain tacky, and again, it makes you “that guy.”
- Don’t ask for favors before building a relationship—While Twitter might give you direct access to a journalist you want to cover your story, you can’t go charging in like a bull in a china shop and expect good results. Social media is all about building relationships. It takes regular interactions with a journalist to get their attention and to earn their trust. Don’t immediately ask for favors. In fact, be a giver first. Help share their work. Connect them with sources for their stories. Give first, ask later.
- Don’t pitch a journalist without learning their beat and interests—This applies to pitching a journalist through any channel (email, phone, social, etc.), but it’s especially true with Twitter. There is absolutely no excuse for sending an irrelevant pitch to a journalist on Twitter. You have direct access to the reporter’s feed where you can learn exactly what he or she writes about and is interested in.
- Don’t follow up on a pitch more than once—Sending a short tweet to a journalist to make sure he or she received your email isn’t the end of the world. But following up more than once is a major no-no and a surefire way to be seen as a spammer or more simply put as “that guy.”
Now that you’ve read this, it’s time to be honest. Have you ever been “that guy (or girl)” on Twitter?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/freebooks.html