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4 Ways to Offend a Journalist on Social Media

While it’s known that more than half of journalists use social media to find sources for stories, they’re not always keen on being pitched there. Every journalist has her own preferences about being approached on social, and it’s easy to burn bridges if you’re not careful.

That being said, here’s the fastest way to offend and get on a journalist’s blacklist.

1. Not Reading Their Stream

Read News Feed - Engage Reporters on Social Media

Just because a journalist is on social media doesn’t mean he uses it for his reporting. If you’d looked at his Facebook profile before sending a friend invite, you might have noticed his stream filled with pictures of his kids, not his latest story.

Ignoring what’s right in front of you in terms of how the journalist uses social puts you in a bad light. After all, there are likely plenty of other people who would make good sources in your industry, and they’ll be less inclined to use you if you step past invisible boundaries by approaching someone who doesn’t use a given social channel for professional development.

2. Telling Them What to Write

Control - Social Media Media Engagement

Social media can be a great tool for developing relationships with the media, but it’s a long game. That means you can’t just tweet “Hey @journalistperson you should write about my brand!”

Instead, you’ve got to ease into their radar. Retweet their tweets. Share their content. Start meaningful conversations. Connect on other social platforms. Build a relationship. Then and only then should you see if they’re interested in your story.

3. Not Accepting “No” as an Answer 

No - Social Media Relations Journalist

If a journalist says “no thanks” to your social media pitch, they’re not playing coy. They’re not interested. Likewise, if you don’t get a reply, consider that your decline letter as well.

Journalists get pitched by dozens of people every day, and if you continue to push the issue, do you really expect that they’ll be excited to work with you?

4. Being Overly Persistent

Stop - Social Media Media Engagement

There’s something to be said about dedication. There’s something else to be said — and it ain’t positive — about people who go overboard in following a journalist on every. single. social. site. And commenting on every. single. article. they write. Don’t be that guy. You want to make them aware that you’re a fan, but you want to do it in a sincere way. Not a creepy stalkerish way.

Treat social media just like you would face-to-face interaction. You wouldn’t stand next to a journalist and tap him on the shoulder until he turned around. Focus on building a long-term relationship and respecting his wishes as to how he wants to interact on social.

When a reporter is in need of a source, do you know? Vocus can help. Take a demo now!

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging. Read more of Susan’s articles here!

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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