You’ve got news. You desperate to shout about it. You know you need to pin down a journalist but you’ve got no idea how. I mean, you can’t just randomly stalk one, can you?
You’ve got a great pitch, you know you have (you’ve even got a pretty nifty PR dude to help you write it.) It’s hand crafted, beautifully put together. In fact, you’ve spent days on it. Well, several hours at least. You have even found yourself reciting sentences from it in the shower. Now for launch time. You know who you want to pitch it to. But how?
These days, we don’t use carrier pigeon so much and as much as the internet has made the journalist life easier, it hasn’t come without its disadvantages. There are too many avenues in which people can get hold of them, often meaning that most pitches get overlooked.
I shall cut to the chase – Twitter is where the press hang out. It’s where news can break and travel faster than anywhere else on the web. Its where ideas come to the fore, discussions take place and where PRs know they can build a good working relationship from scratch. I know, because, like me, there are PRs who’ve been doing it for years.
We create lists of specific niche writers and reporters and influencers in a wide range of industries which match our clients and we make it our priority to build good long term relationships with them. That way, when we come to pitching, we know exactly who to pitch to, how and when to get the maximum result.
But there’s an art to it. Twitter journalist romances are a dance. A careful two step or tango where each of you shows the other their moves. Think the penguin waiters seen in Mary Poppins (stick with me on this.) Dick Van Dyke shows a nifty move, then the penguins follow much to the delight of children audiences everywhere. There are moves you have to commit yourself to when romancing a journalist on Twitter, but do it right, and you have a hot shoe shuffle that’s not only stylish but endless.
So, here you go – your very own choreography. So, our simple tips are:
- Don’t pitch blindly to any old journalist. You need to respect they time and their hectic workday, and the fact they really haven’t got time to fool around with something that’s less than newsworthy. Follow them, comment on their posts, see what they are passionate about FIRST before you pitch to them. What they are passionate about might not be obvious at first! Once you’ve got hold of that sweet spot, they will love you for taking the time to find out about them.
- Leave the big guns alone for a while – although it might a big ego boost to have the editor of the Sunday Times hanging off your every word (in your Tweet dreams,) it might not happen in reality. Start off walking the walk of local press – I check out the youngsters, (not like that!) As they are the up and coming editors of tomorrow, and, they are usually the ones who are the hardest working, hungry for ambition and dedicated to the hilt. I take my time to find a couple of good journalists in the local rags who I can see have a bright future. This is where you can help them get a run up the ladder. It may sound time consuming but trust me, any PR is for the long term. There are never any real short term successes. They are rare.
So let’s have a quick look at the new reporters on their way up:
- They will be wanting to please their editors and the new kids on the news block can be the most opinionated too. Watch how they report and talk and pick out your contacts from these up-and-coming reporters carefully. There is an old saying about being good to people on your way up because you don’t know who you’re going to meet on the way back down. It works the other way around too.
- You will get to recognise who is a Daily Telegraph editor in the making. This is when you want to build a relationship with them. Pick out some clever movers from these guys and follow some of the country senior reporters too but watch their niche.
One example is what we have seen in the press today (not a bad way to start the PR week!) is from a young, up and coming journalist (trainees are great and this guy was fabulous!) Like Kieren Williams who is a journalist at The Daily Mirror. We started talking to him, liking his stuff and replying useful comments.
The key is to get talking to one who you know is going to feel passionately about your subject matter. You might know a good sports journalist who is passionate about baking. We were lucky enough to get this brilliant reporter talking to our client and this was the result: