Let's be honest, email pitches suck. You check the guest post guildelines, try to track down the right journalist, craft an email you think sounds polite and courteous...and then silence. Ugh…not again.
Yes, journalists are busy. But most of us aren't very responsive to a cold call. It's why referrals get the job 9 times out of 10, but interviews and resumes often turn up the wrong candidate.
So what to do? Hey folks, guess what? You’re in luck. Some cool entrepreneurs invented this shiny gadget. It’s called Twitter. It's like a networking meetup that's happening everyday. People talk about things that are important to them, share ideas, articles, pictures and gossip. Sounds tailor-made for a little flirting...
Build your dream journalist list
Many or I might venture to say most journalists are on Twitter. But each one's usage is not created equal. Start by adding 10 or 20 from your favorite blogs, to your new list. Then check the list periodically throughout the day.
Don't worry too much about departments, beats and expertise yet. The first step is to find journalists who are really active and use Twitter professionally. Take a look at what they're posting. Is it all links? Is there a dialogue with others or is it mostly one-way?
Just by creating a list of your favorite journalists in Twitter and then watching it regularly, you'll start to get the hang of which journalists are friendly and flirtatious already.
(Editors note: PS- Muck Rack can help with finding which journalists are active on Twitter!)
Channel your inner sexy
If you haven't been dating in a while, you may have lost touch with your sexy side. Well, I hope whoever you are, you can muster up a little something. A little funny banter, a relevant comment, a critical idea or epiphany can go a long way on this social media site.
If you’re out of practice, watch what others are doing out on the dance floor. There are lots of very creative people on Twitter, so watch listen and learn.
A bit of ego stroking never hurt
Be complimentary and positive. BUT, you can also be a little critical on Twitter, too- strategically, of course. Why not offer up your opinion on what you liked, or a typo you spotted. Offer a sexy rephrased title. All these things actually help said journalist, enamor them to your great personality, and give them a taste of your skills with the pen.
Exchange phone numbers
I mean the metaphorical phone number here...Instead of asking for the number, why not share each-others contact information? After all you've struck a chord, and are peers, helping each other out, right?
Seriously, once you have a little rapport, ask if they're interested in guest posts or are receptive to story pitches or ideas. It should be a rhetorical question, as I hope you've already done your homework. Also mention your area in a few words or less and see if they can make an introduction.
Last step - give and take
You've gotten this far, don't mess it up by being all-about-me. Give ideas & good material, take comments and feedback well. Keep your ears open to criticism the journalist or editor has for your material or pitch. When in doubt ask questions. There's a juicy center to every topic, and your new editor can help you find it!
What other ways have you found useful to "flirt" with journalists on Twitter? Share in the comments below!
Sean Hull is an author, speaker, architect and advisor to startups & fortune 500 firms. He specializes in scalability, database management, web acceleration and cloud deployments. He is the author of "Oracle & Open Source" O'Reilly, 2001, and speaks widely at conferences & meetups. With 20 years of professional experience, he consults with companies in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.