Hey All You PR Folks: Twitter Just Might Be Your New Best Pitching Friend
By: Talia Andrews-Rankin, Senior Account Executive (@taliaAR)
On my run this morning, I was thinking about a common question my friends ask me: “Why do you use Twitter?”
My most common answer is: “for work.” Then I tell them to try it out. As I have found, the usage of the term “tweet it” is gaining on the world’s most common response: “Just Google it.”
Why do I use Twitter? One of the reasons is that it can be an extremely valuable PR tool. Here are just a few of the reasons I believe every PR person should be using Twitter, even just as a follower:
Staying on top of the news
By following publications, reporters, friends, coworkers, etc., I think you will be surprised to see some of the valuable news that comes through your Twitter feed. By following people who are interested in similar topics, you’ll find your Twitter feed more useful than scanning the NY Times, CNN.com or GigaOM for your news.
Learning about reporters
I’ve learned some great things about the reporters I work with – which helps when establishing more personal relationships as you pitch these reporters on a consistent basis. Why not personalize that pitch a little bit?
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- Jon Swartz at USA Today: Loves the SF Giants and Syracuse University (my alma mater).
- Natali Del Conte at CBS: Mom loves to Twitter and is actually getting the hang of it!
- Arik Hesseldahl at BusinessWeek: Huge fan of Apple.
- Peter Ha at TIME Magazine: Loves to surf.
So start following those reporters you are looking to talk to, read their stories and take the time to learn about them – it will pay off.
Pitching reporters via Twitter
In my opinion, Twitter has become a very valuable resource for companies, PR professionals and reporters themselves. Douglas McMillan at BusinessWeek is a great example of a reporter who uses Twitter to find sources. More times than not, you’ll see a tweet from him looking for experts to speak on a larger trend story he is writing.
Doug is not the only one. “The World According to Twitter” author David Pogue also gets a great deal of valuable feedback from his followers replying to questions/comments he tweets.
So look out for those source searches and keep an eye on stories your clients can contribute to and provide comment. Reporters do value your replies and will consider them when writing.