Tips for Contacting Journalists on Twitter

By Carlo Pandian

Twitter can be a very useful tool for networking with journalists online. When using Twitter there is a very casual atmosphere, which makes it a lot easier to strike up a conversation with someone you want to get connected with. If you use it right, you could find yourself naturally chatting with some very important journalists and making valuable connections.

Many journalists have started using Twitter as a way to get into contact with experts in a field when they are writing an article, as well as to keep their ear to the ground and find out what sort of news is trending. If you want to be able to make a Twitter connection with journalists, it is important to know how to use this social network and how to build up a relationship correctly. This can be a difficult PR task when you only have 140 characters to express yourself.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when interacting with journalists on Twitter:

  • Complete your profile, include a photo of yourself and link to your website. A journalist will want to verify that you are a real person.
  • You should also include your location so that the journalists know where you are and when they should contact you.
  • The Twitter community manages to organise itself with hash tags. There are a couple of hashtags and chats that you can join on twitter to connect with journalists. You can look up #journorequest or join in the #journchat to meet plenty of different journalists.
  •  Keep in mind that if you tweet too much all of the time, it can appear as spam. Spread your tweets out to a steady flow throughout the day rather than all at once.
  • If a journalist tweets requesting someone to be a source, only respond if you actually fit their criteria otherwise you are wasting their time and you risk them blocking you.
  • Journalists get a lot of pitches, so don’t tweet them with yours out of the blue as they will likely ignore it. Develop a relationship with them first.
  • A journalist will look back through your past tweets, so make sure that they are relevant and not too ridiculous.
  • Many journalists use the hashtags on Twitter to monitor developing stories by town or topic. Always use the right hash tag on your appropriate tweets so that an interested journalist will be more likely to spot them.
  • Definitely do not spam journalists with a lot of tweets at once. No one likes this and it is a sure way to get them to block you. Being persistent, but polite is the best way to get what you want and to win someone over so that they are on your side.
  • It is ok to send a journalist who follows you back a quick DM to introduce yourself. It’s a good way to start a friendly relationship.
  • If you know someone who knows the journalist, having them introduce you can be very valuable. Referrals have a lot more credibility than someone who just contacts a journalist out of nowhere.
  • Don’t contact more than one journalist on the same tweet, as they will be able to see all of the other people who are included. Send a tweet to them only.
  • Re-tweet their tweets, as this shows them that you read what they write and that if they choose to write about your story you would promote it.

Twitter can be a great way to make connections with journalists, as long as you use it in the right way. With these tips, you should improve your luck at contacting a journalist on Twitter. If you do end up working with them, make sure that you share the story and re-tweet it when it is released. You can also send the journalist a thank you message a little bit later and let them know that you are always available should you need any more help.

About the Author
Contributed by Carlo Pandian, freelance blogger for http://www.mediarecruitment.co.uk/pr-jobs

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