January 08, 2016 / by Katie Gaab

Social media platforms have altered the way media outlets operate. But do your pitching tactics reflect this shift?

In 2015, 51 percent of reporters claimed they couldn’t complete their assignments without turning to social tools, compared to just 28 percent in 2012.

However, as many reporters are still warming up to the idea of using social tools, you need to consider how you approach your media outreach.

Start the new year on the right foot by not stepping on reporters’ toes. Avoid making the following three social media pitching mistakes…and get advice on what to do instead:

Download our 10 Media Pitching Tips tip sheet to cut through the noise and increase the likelihood of your pitches being read.

1. Generalized, Mass Tweets

Reporters automatically delete your impersonal emails without much of a glance at what you’ve written. They ignore mass tweets the same way.

Instead of targeting every journalist you follow on Twitter in a spray and pray method, turn to a media database, such as Cision’s, to check if social media is even their preferred pitching medium.

If that’s the case, personalize each and every outreach effort so you stand out from the spam crowd and build rapport. Then, craft social pitches as you write email subject lines: by captivating attention in a concise, yet unique way.

2. Long-Winded Messages


Twitter removed its direct message character limit, but that doesn’t mean you are now free to send novella-length pitches to reporters. In fact, you shouldn’t be sending long-winded pitches on any platform.

Whether you’re responding to an urgent HARO source request on Twitter or suggesting a story angle in response to a reporter’s recent Facebook post, the shorter the pitch, the better.

Outline details in 75 words or less, then offer to continue the conversation via email or link to your brand’s digital newsroom. Social pitches that include a call to action will be more likely to get the response you’re hoping to receive.

3. Incessant Follow-Ups

How often do you direct message a reporter to see if they got your voicemail asking if they can call you back about the press release announcement you emailed?

While you can try a number of ways, both online and offline, to reach a reporter, you shouldn’t follow up in every way imaginable. Pestering nonstop will turn you into the annoying fly at a picnic.

Respect reporters’ time and space by following up once per pitch. If they’re interested, they’ll get back to you. If you don’t hear back, make note of your approach and think of ways to improve your pitch for the future.

Wondering how to follow up on a pitch? We gathered findings from our 2021 State of the Media Report to help provide some guidelines.

Images: andresmbernalDrew Coffman (Creative Commons)

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About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.