It’s no secret that those in the media world are super-busy. Especially when you get inundated with 200 to 300 e-mails a day, including news releases, media pitches, media alerts and the like. The great news for PR professionals is that they now have an effective way to reach their media friends without taking too much of their time. In comes the Twitpitch.
The new “Twitpitch” is essentially your elevator pitch via Twitter. Instead of sending your media contact a pitch and news release in which they need to scroll down the page and read more content, why not capture their interest with a 140-character or less Twitpitch?
The idea of pitching on Twitter is accredited to Stowe Boyd, who used Twitter to set up meetings during a conference. The media appreciate that the Twitpitch forces you to talk only facts (because you have only 140 characters for the first message) and then link to one URL related to your message. This link could be to your press release, social media news release, your product, or better yet it could be a link to the best or most prominent coverage that your message has gotten.
Put yourself in the media contact’s shoes. Compare a brief Twitpitch to getting an email from someone you don’t even know, with no text in the email body, and a 2-3 page document attached that you are supposed to read and respond to. Most likely the latter approach would end up in the junk mail or trash box. On the other hand, a Twitpitch is an open and transparent message that creates value without adding noise and is somewhat personalized.
In the case of our successful Twitpitch, here are three key steps we used and think you should use, too!
- Establish a relationship first. It’s ultra-important to develop a relationship first, otherwise you won’t be taken seriously. In the case of our successful Twitpitch, we first communicated with someone who knows our media contact personally. This helped us to build rapport because our contact introduced us to the media contact. It was after we established that relationship with the media that we suggested a story through a direct message (DM).
- Show that you’ve done your homework. This is basic PR code of ethics. Make sure your pitch is genuine and it’s evident that you’ve done your homework about the types of stories your media contact likes to cover. We suggested a story idea about a horseback riding business to an outdoors feature reporter; this reporter would not have appreciated a pitch on a new line of mascara!
- Don’t pitch and ditch. Social media conversations happen in real-time. If you’ve sent a Twitpitch, stay on Twitter or check your e-mail regularly to monitor your DMs and @replies so you can respond quickly. You don’t want to miss landing the big one! In our case, we received a DM inviting us to send more information: “ Hi…can you send information on your episode idea to email@example.com? Thanks!” Of course, we responded right away, both by DM and with a well-composed episode suggestion.
A successful Twitpitch helps you cultivate an honest relationship with a real person—it’s just a simple and respectful way of reaching that person. The following is the result of our first successful Twitpitch! Happy tweeting!