How to Connect with Journalists on Social Media
I use a 4-step formula I call I.S.E.P. It’s really so simple, you may be surprised to find out that you already know how to do this. Just in case, though I am going to walk you through exactly how to connect with and pitch a journalist on social media.
Step 1: Identify [I]
Identify a journalist who covers your topic, niche and or geographic area. Find out what social network they are on.
This is very important. In the case of PR, less is more. A shotgun approach will not work. You need to make sure you are targeting, and eventually pitching the right journalist, one who has stated they cover your topic/niche/geographic area. [More about this in the box below]
Step 2: Socialize [S]
Connect with the journalist on social media.
You know how to do this. Follow them on Twitter, add them to a Google + circle; join a group they are in on LinkedIn…
Step 3: Engage [E]
Create some engagement with the journalist. Start by retweeting or commenting on an article of theirs. You will, of course, want to read some of their work first! Don’t go crazy. You want this to look natural, not like you are their new cyberstalker who is watching and commenting on their every move. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are relationships – offline or online.
Your ultimate goal is to build a relationship and have the journalist acknowledge that they know who you are and appreciate that you are following them and appreciating their work. It could be a one-on-one cyber conversation or just a mention from them.
Now that you have engagement, you are ready to pitch. Whoa, not instantly after they acknowledge you. Let a few days or a week go by. Then you can go to step 4.
Step 4: Pitch [P]
This step can be best accomplished with a Tweet. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Write your pitch like a tweet – state the entire pitch in 140 characters or less. You don’t need to tell your whole story in your pitch, just enough to intrigue the journalist to want to know more.
The challenge for many is the pitch. I often hear that it’s hard to know what to pitch or how to come up with a story idea. 2 questions that you may find helpful in coming up with a pitch are: What would be of interest to their audience? Why should their audience care about your topic?
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when pitching.
- Let the journalist know why you think it is something their audience would be interested in.
- Provide a 1 to 2 sentence bio that shows why you are qualified to speak on your proposed topic.
- Provide them your best contact info [your mobile phone, Skype address and your time zone are ideal], in the event that they have to follow up questions or would like to speak to you.
Congratulations! You now know the 4 Step I.S.E.P. process to pitch a journalist