Bridging Two Worlds

A conversation about online media and what it means to your organization

Media Relations and Social Media

Posted by B2W on April 28, 2009

By Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies

There are a great many media on Twitter – for the most comprehensive list we have found check out mediaontwitter.com.

However, before you leap in and start pitching media on Twitter. This blog post at the Bad Pitch Blog is worth a read. Social media provides an excellent opportunity to start or join a conversation that is relevant to your organization. However, you can’t just jump in and start pushing yourself on to them – or anyone engaged online, for that matter. Like media relations, it just doesn’t work that way.

Peter Shankman of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has a great approach to people that go off topic when participating in his (free) HARO service – if you are off topic when you pitch, he blocks you from receiving the list.

I have to say, Shankman’s crankiness about pitches ‘upped’ our game.  We have always prided ourselves on effectively pitching the media … in building good, positive relationships with journalists because we don’t send them useless information. I worked as a journalist for years and have very strong memories of bad pitches, news releases and “samples” that we received at the magazine being put in the spotlight and the PR person who sent them being mocked in front of a group of reporters. These same reporters would then file that name away as “useless” and that PR person had a hard time getting attention then …

Shankman has that kind of approach to pitches – he is ruthless and this attitude reminded us that we have an obligation to our clients to hold our pitches up to a gold standard. Here at AHA, we even half-jokingly review our pitches chanting ‘What Would Shankman Think?’

Mentioned above is the Bad Pitch Blog – it’s worth reading and gives you direct and straight forward advice about what makes a good pitch, how not to send a “green” pitch that ends up putting materials in the landfill! – and how not to take your relationship with a journalist too casually (texting a pitch? Come on!).

Social media is creating an ability to connect with journalists, with bloggers and with your community – don’t take it for granted and please, view this as an opportunity to really connect …. Not to push out information AT people, but to start or join the conversation with them. It’s a two-way street, now. Be sure and look both ways.

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