Recently, I was chatting with a reporter friend of mine and she told me that she gets on average 500 emails a day. Of those, nearly 100 or so are pitches for story ideas. And, of that 100, she maybe reads five or six, based solely on their subject lines.
As a public relations professional, this was a startling revelation, since I’ve been one of those 100 pitch emails many times in the past, trying to catch a reporter’s attention. Has my subject line been strong enough? Did the recipient even open my email? I’m sure the answer is no more times than yes, based on the law of averages.
That’s why I’ve been using a different communication tool for my story pitches lately – one that has been pretty successful so far. That tool is Twitter, and by following the proper steps, it has become a very efficient way to pitch the media.
As with all successful media pitching, doing your research should always be the first step. That’s why I follow – on both Twitter and Facebook – numerous reporters that I have dealt with in the past, along with several members of the media that I can see myself working with in the future. Following reporters’ social media feeds allows you to find out their interests, what topics they normally cover and other tidbits of information that might help you craft the perfect media pitch.
For example, at the beginning of the school year, I pitched a story to a reporter about a nonprofit I work with called Kids & Canines. Through social media, I learned that this reporter loves animals and works quite a bit with animal rescue groups in the area. I thought she would make a perfect reporter for my story.
Here was my Twitter pitch:
Meredith. Kids aren’t the only ones going back to school. The dogs at Kids & Canines are heading back too. Interested for a possible story?
That was it. Short and sweet. And that was just with 140 characters. Today, we can double that.
Within an hour, I had a response:
Hi Diane. Yes I am interested. Please email me information.
From there, our conversation changed over to email, and this time, my email wasn’t one of hundreds that she barely looked at. This time, she was waiting for my email.
The end result: a fantastic story for Kids & Canines and the beginning of a relationship with a reporter that I know will be beneficial for both of us. Can’t ask for much more than that.
So the next time you want to pitch a reporter, consider using Twitter as your first point of contact. If you’ve done your research and have a strong pitch, your chances of success are better than average.
Axia Public Relations understands what journalists are looking for and can help your company obtain media coverage organically. Download Axia’s complimentary guide Learn Media Relations from the Media today to get tips on building relationships with the media that are mutually beneficial.
Diane Jones has nearly 25 years of public relations experience in the Tampa Bay Area, focusing mainly in the areas of travel and tourism, transportation, water utilities and government relations. When not helping clients, you can find Diane playing with her son, Matthew, or snuggling with her two puppies, Smokey and the Bandit.