Following on from my recent blog post looking at an experience I’ve had talking to journalists on Twitter, I thought it might be good to lay down a mini checklist of what you should be aware of when trying to sell in a story to a hack already on Twitter:
1) Find out if the journalist you’re targetting is happy to be spoken to by PRs with stories on Twitter – if they despise the fact you’re trying to pitch to them on their favourite micro-blogging site, they’ll despise you even more afterwards; don’t risk harming that relationship.
2) Read recent tweets – if the journalist is about to go and take their kids to school, the last thing they want is their phone vibrating telling them about a great new lead – there are more important things in life.
3) Make sure what you’re pitching is relevant – if you can’t convince a journalist in 140 characters you might as well lose your press release in their inbox. Make sure you know, as you should anyway if you were to send an e-mail, exactly what floats their boat.
4) Don’t be a droid! Ok so you’ve got a set of messages you have to get across to said journalist to keep the client happy. That doesn’t mean you have to reel them off like a robot. Be original and be yourself, if you’re trying to be overly-PR, you’ll get found out in an instant and ignored from then on.
5) Don’t be afraid of being knocked back – the initial contact has been made and as long as you stick with the above four points, you should be fine. Selling in stories can be torrid sometimes and Twitter is giving us another angle with which to communicate and converse with journalists, and them with us, so make the most of it.