Vocus just published a study regarding pitching reporters via social media. They asked them via which social media platform they prefer to be contacted with story pitches. Although I suspect some would rather not be pitched at all (fodder for another blog post!), a large percentage (45%) responded that they don’t like receiving pitches via social media.
This comes as no surprise, in spite of the many volumes of articles you can find out there talking about how to pitch reporters via social media. So, how do reporters prefer to be pitched? The good old-fashioned email came out on top. For those of us who’ve been using this method with success for some time now, this article vindicates our approach. No changes are necessary.
For those who are primarily using social media to contact reporters, perhaps consider using that method as a backup. Of the social media platforms, Facebook came in on top, followed by Twitter. It certainly can be effective in some cases, so use it when it feels like the right way to go (i.e. when email isn’t working and the reporter looks to be active on social media). For example, I used Twitter recently to reach a reporter, simply sending a tweet to ask how she preferred to receive pitches as her email address was unpublished. She replied with her email. I then I sent her a pitch that way. However, in general, it’s tough enough to keep a pitch brief even in an email, let alone boil it down to 140 characters.
It never hurts to include social media in your media relations strategy, but focus most of your time and attention on email pitches. And to improve those, you can:
- Focus on the subject line to grab attention
- Make sure to spell check and proofread your email
- Keep it short and include data, if applicable
- Offer resources, such as customers or partners to speak with and visuals such as photos and video
- If you don’t receive a response, follow up with another email perhaps a week or so later.
Bottom line: While social media has its place in media outreach, don’t rely it on for everything.