To Pitch or Not to Pitch on Twitter

To Pitch or Not to Pitch on Twitter

Jennifer Van Grove (Mashable) and republished on American Express OPEN Newsletter

Sep 04, 2009

Small businesses tend to handle their own public relations initiatives, which means when there’s news to share about an acquisition, new product, or addition to a service, they’re tasked with distributing the story on their own.

With Twitter fast becoming the communication platform du jour of journalists, bloggers, and businesses, you’ve probably been tempted by the idea of pitching your small business news using the micro medium. Of course, with new communication channels come new rules, and just as with email or telephone pitches, your approach could make or break whether or not you’re Twitter pitch is effective.

DM when appropriate:
Leverage relationships: If you’ve already taken the time to connect with writers in person or online, and there’s a mutual following, then you can use Twitter’s backchannel to gauge interest. With this approach, a simple direct message that tells the writer the news, and asks whether he or she is interested will likely work best. [Sample tweet: d twittername We’re releasing an update to product X, can I send you more info on the release?]

Avoid blind flattery:
Contrary to popular belief, a compliment about a writer’s work is not the way to win them over, especially if it’s accompanied by a link to something self-serving. That approach is very transparent, overused, and not the best way to make a good impression. Instead of flattery, stick to the facts.

Don’t be repetitive:
You may think that your news is the most pressing thing to ever hit the Twittersphere, but if you’ve crafted a reply or direct message and pitched a blogger or journalist and you haven’t heard anything back, you should probably refocus your attention elsewhere. You’ll also want to avoid going down your media list and doing a Twitter pitch one by one. Should an interested reporter click on your Twitter profile and find that you’re pitching a story to a myriad of different people, they’re likely to lose interest immediately.

Break your own news:
If you’ve invested time in building up a strong community of engaged followers via Twitter, then you have an opportunity to simply break the news yourself. Depending on the nature of the news, your tweet could easily get retweeted, and/or catch the eye of a blogger or journalist. You can use paid services like Muck Rack’s one line press release service for a slightly wider audience for your Twitter press release, but if you already have an audience that may be unnecessary.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, JLGutierrez

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