Evan Sneider, a freelance P.R. professional and full-time public relations manager for a technology based company in Aventura, says you can end up killing any chance of press coverage if you go about it the wrong way on Twitter.
Evan lives here in Broward County and talked about some of the powerful tools now available for local, national, and worldwide P.R. reach. He especially loves Twitter as a power tool for P.R.
"From engaging with journalists and bloggers to learning about a journalists' preferences and specific interests, Twitter has now become another communications tool for the P.R. pro to talk directly with the media," Sneider says.
He must have a point, considering how this reporter met Sneider through his Twitter account, @Prevansneider
This new method improves upon the old, woefully inefficient tactic of writing news releases (mostly full of minuscule corporate "accomplishments") and blasting them out to every media source on the planet. Today, P.R. can be much more personalized and effective.
"Compared to previous types of pitching," Sneider says, "journalists are often more open to being approached on Twitter because it forces the P.R. professional to be concise and brief in their pitch."
But for the P.R. pro, doesn't it take more much time to pitch individually than it takes to just send blanket news releases?
Yes, it does, Sneider admits. A social media P.R. style must accommodate specific tastes. "Make sure and identify individuals that you are interested in, and learn what is important to them," he said. "Take the time to follow journalists and bloggers and review what the reporter writes about. This ensures that when you're pitching a story, it'll be relevant to their audience."
One of the most common mistakes that public relations people make with today's media, according to Evan, is overpitching story ideas and harassing reporters to cover their clients. Often, when journalists fail to respond to a tweet or pitch (or direct message), P.R. people will re-send it as a "reminder." This tactic, he says, will more likely than not get you blocked from the reporter's list, making you unable to further contact them.
"When engaging with journalists on Twitter, you do not have to immediately pitch them for placement of your company's idea or services in the journalist's publication. Instead, demonstrate for the reporter that you can be a valuable resource for them. This can lead to the classic pull P.R. in which you become the expert source that the reporter turns to on specific topics."
I asked him how he finds reporters who don't directly list their information in their publications or on sources such as LinkedIn or Facebook and where Sneider learns strategy for using social media for P.R.
Finding reporters and learning new strategy, says Sneider, can both come from the same source: other P.R. pros. "Follow other P.R. professionals for resources, because if you're following and interacting with other innovative people, you will learn more stuff and be in the know before peers and competitors. You can also see who they're following." That is, more reporters.
But Sneider's overarching golden rule: simply to engage. That is, cultivate an enthusiastic interest in what journalists and colleagues are posting, then jump into the fray.