The ABCs of tweeting your way to PR success
I have a confession to make.
Picking up a phone and cold calling, isn’t something I do well. In fact, I downright hate it. A job in sales would never be my jam. So naturally, people are often surprised to learn that someone that hates calling strangers would be even remotely good at PR.
But here’s the thing.
In our current PR world, cold calling journalists is out and leveraging social media is in. While I do still pick up the phone as part of my job, it’s really unavoidable, the majority of my best PR wins began on social media. Most journalists don’t want to be called anyway. So why are we still trying to connect with them in such old school ways?
It’s time for all of us to be schooled in how to use the ABCs of tweeting to lead us to amazing PR success stories.
ABC: Always Be Chatting
What is it about cold calling that people hate the most? For starters, it’s that the person on the other end is likely not in the mood to have you sell them something. For you, the caller, well, you probably already know that the person on the other end isn’t in the mood to buy what you’re selling. Sales or PR. Makes no difference. Cold calling is cold calling. But have you ever heard of the term cold tweeting? NO! Why? Because such a crazy thing doesn’t exist.
The internet is all about making friends with strangers. Personally, I have an entire group of amazing humans that I’m lucky enough to know thanks to Twitter. Crazy? More like insanely awesome. With nearly every journalist, influencer, celebrity, etc. on Twitter, it’s the golden avenue to getting in front of even the hardest to reach influencers.
So let’s say you know that you have 10-20 journalists that you’re planning to pitch in a month or two for your upcoming launch. Start following each and every one of them NOW. Every day, interact with one or two of them. Talk about all of the things other than pitching them. If they post a cute photo of their cat and you have a cat? Talk cats. Are they all in an uproar over this week’s Walking Dead? Join the discussion.
I once secured a client’s wish list coverage in their most desired publication simply by chatting Saturday Night Live with a reporter weekly. The beauty of this approach is that as you build a relationship and become a familiar face on their Twitter feed, by the time you’re ready to pitch them your story, it won’t feel cold at all.
ABC: Always Be Charming
When making friends and gaining followers on Twitter, it’s incredibly important to be charming.
For myself, I’m a public relations professional and a full-time lifestyle blogger, so I make sure that at any given moment, if a journalist or possible influencer is checking out my Twitter profile, that it positively reflects who I am and what my brand represents.
If you’re going to be getting to know journalists on Twitter, ensure that your Twitter bio includes your title so that others will know you’re in the business of PR. There’s no harm in a journalist knowing you’re a PR pro while you’re getting to know them. If you do it respectfully and tastefully, it will reflect well on your industry reputation.
For your profile picture, things like choosing a photo that’s professional and high resolution are no brainers, but also try to choose a photo that’s warm and inviting. Show off your friendly, approachable personality with a photo that reflects this.
Lastly, always share content that others will want to share. Leverage visually appealing images to brighten up your Twitter feed. When appropriate, use gifs or emojis to personalize tweets. If you’re likeable on Twitter, chances are more influencers and journalists will approach you and engage with you.
ABC: Always Be Connecting
On any given day, think of all the names you skim with your eyes. For PR pros, many of those names belong to journalists and influencers. Now, how many of them are you actually connecting with? And no, I’m not just talking about those you email back and forth with. I’m talking about really connecting with them.
Each and every time I establish a connection with someone, I immediately make sure that I’m following them on Twitter. For one, it shows that you’re interested in staying connected with them long after your email thread has ended. It also shows that you care about what they have to say beyond just business talk.
And the very best part? Having these folks in your Twitter feed every day will give you ample opportunity to interact with them on the regular, strengthening your relationships and keeping you on their radar for future stories. Boom!
ABC: Always Be Circulating
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to always be circulating: really great content, that is!
Twitter was made for sharing great stuff, so ensure that you’re doing exactly that. As a PR pro, I’m always sharing industry relevant articles and as a result, connecting with others in the PR space. It gets me new followers and often times, I’m added to lists created by similar PR folks.
When you’re regularly tweeting great articles, it also gives you the perfect opportunity to share articles by journalists and influencers too. Remember how I mentioned you should be following any and all journalists you’re planning to pitch? Well, in addition to talking about your shared love of pumpkin spice, share some of their recent articles or projects. And don’t just hit Click to Tweet. Take the time to personalize your tweet, add a comment or a friendly emoji. I guarantee you that you’ll be more than just a blip on their radar.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re not practicing these ABCs, there’s no time like the present to brush up on your tweeting!
Crystal Richard is the Director of PR at Onboardly where she helps her clients share their story with the world. An avid writer and media enthusiast, Crystal is a born storyteller. She is a proud East Coaster and recently launchedEast Coast Mermaid, a destination for anyone that ever felt they should have been born at sea. You can follow her on Twitter @crystalcrichard.
Photo: ABC blocks via Shutterstock