Back before the days of email, PR pros were spending their days on the phone, faxing and using snail mail. Now with the access and convenience of emails, those methods seem a little outdated (although a well-placed phone call can still yield some beautiful results).
Reporters and editors are literally flooded with hundreds, even thousands, of emails per day. So much so, that many forgo listing any of their contact information anywhere – hoping to be spared the thoughtless, under-researched and irrelevant pitch (that’s not the way we do things here at this PR Firm and our contacts love us for it). But what about those contacts we haven’t worked with yet, the elusive ones that seem to always be out of reach?
That’s when it comes time to think outside of the pitching box and use the tools that are readily available! One of my personal favorites is using Twitter. Tweets can be a great way to reach a reporter, build a relationship and it’s by far one of the best tools to research someone’s beat, get to know who they are and build rapport. A simple, “Hi XX, saw your piece on X and have ‘story idea’ for you, is there an email I can reach you?” can be very effective, but be sure not to abuse. Extra tip: the 140 character limit is really helpful for forcing you to condense your pitch to the bare essentials and generally it’s much appreciated. Here’s an example of when it all goes right:
With this in mind, here are 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Non-Email Pitches
- DO read their work and let them know you enjoy it…be genuine! Share, re-tweet!
- DO keep it short (you kind of have to)
- DON’T be afraid to ask for their contact information (and if they give it to you, PLEASE be sure your pitch is relevant)
- DO take an interest in what they tweet about OUTSIDE of work – reporters and editors are people too and who knows, a common interest may be the connecting tissue between you and a top outlet
- DON’T mass tweet at a hundred reporters…this might be even worse than mass pitching via email.
- DON’T reach out to them on irrelevant…and downright creepy platforms…take this for example, from one of my favorite media contacts (with her permission of course):
Please don’t pitch on Tinder or a reporter’s Tinder blog…that’s just weird.