Skills Building: Media Relations

At Chaloner, we work exclusively in the world of PR and communications and have for over 30 years. Because of this, we get to see emerging trends and changes in different communications spaces. Over the next few weeks, I will explore different techniques, trends, and tips in specific communications functions. This week, I want to focus on media relations and the way digital communication is becoming a part of the pitching process.

It’s fair game, but be respectful:

Communications professionals and journalists alike are using social media as a tool for work. This means that pitching via these avenues is becoming increasingly common, and can be a very effective way of getting into contact and pitching journalists. However, it’s important to be respectful about it. Try to connect with a journalist you’re trying to pitch by following them on Twitter and engaging with their content. Not only will this show that you’re interested in and a fan of their work, but it also will be helpful as you choose what to pitch. What do they write about typically? What are their interests? Does your pitch fit with their usual beat? Ask these questions so you aren’t wasting their time—or yours.

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter:

Facebook is a personal social media platform. LinkedIn is for networking. Twitter is the most appropriate platform to use for business purposes. Make sure your own Twitter looks professional and that you’re sharing engaging content that makes you a credible and interesting contact. Build relationships with journalists over time. Keep up on their feeds and the articles they’re sharing and don’t be afraid to engage if you liked something. Having a pleasant rapport is a terrific foundation to build a working relationship on.

Social media doesn’t mean it’s casual:

Do your research. Know exactly who you’re pitching and why. Blasting journalists’ direct message boxes with multiple pitches or questions is sloppy and can be annoying. It can seem like a digital cold-call and be a huge turnoff. If you’re going to reach out, you can try a general ask first— tweeting out something on your own page that gives journalists the opportunity to reach out. You can also tweet directly—once and concisely—to point out that you thought they, specifically, would be interested in a pitch you have. A concise 140-character pitch via a DM is also acceptable, just don’t follow up more than once. Next week we’ll take a short break to answer the Interview Question of the Month, but the following week we’ll get back to this Skills Building series.