A Successful Social Media Pitch

Pitching reporters via social mediaThere is no doubting the power of social media. At its most basic level, social media connects people with one another and facilitates communication; however the possibilities for social media are endless. Instead of making a phone call we connect with friends on Facebook. Instead of waiting to watch the news we catch the latest updates on our Twitter feed. So, instead of pitching a story angle in person or e-mail is it alright to offer it up to a journalist you barely know via social media?

Although there is much debate about pitching ideas through social media, many argue it is acceptable as long as it is gone about in the correct way. Mashable makes the following suggestions:

Use social media as a learning tool. The first step in pitching the media through social media is to learn more about the journalist you are targeting. In most cases, a simple Google search can reveal a lot, such as their Twitter or LinkedIn accounts. Use this information to gain a better understanding of how the journalist sources for stories and the topics areas he/she typically focuses on. Such information will not only help you determine if you are targeting the most appropriate journalist, but also help you deliver a more tailored pitch when the time comes.

Interact with journalist in their own space. Pitching a journalist immediately after clicking follow will undoubtedly lead to a dead end. Instead, interact with the journalist in their own space; comment on a post, retweet information you find interesting. Such interaction will put you on their radar, increasing your chances for a successful social media pitch. Many times reporters will use social media to find sources for stories. Keep an eye out, such postings offer a great opportunity to simply connect a reporter with a resource or even make a pitch.

Make the pitch. When it comes down to it, there are no guarantees when pitching through social media. Obviously the best time to pitch an idea is when the journalist is soliciting ideas; however a pitch can be appropriate if you have interacted with the journalist on some level and honestly feel the story angle would be of interest. By limiting users to 140 characters, Twitter is an ideal platform to make your pitch. It forces you to get to the point—which is essential when communicating with an on deadline journalist.

Ultimately, the results will vary depending on the journalist and your story angle. Social media, therefore, should not be your entire plan. Use several approaches, including more traditional methods, to create a well-rounded strategy and increase your success.

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