Four Media Relations Faux Pas to Avoid on Twitter  

Among PR practitioners and media relations specialists, the topic of engaging with journalists via Twitter has gotten much attention lately. Along with the excitement of pitching the media in 140 characters or less comes this reality: The etiquette of doing so is still in the formative stage, says Sandra Fathi, president of New York-based Affect. In the meantime, Fathi offers up some Twitter tactics not to try on a journalist. Here are the four faux-pas:

  • No Cold Twit Pitching: A cold Twitter pitch may be even worse than a cold call. Twitter offers a venue for personal interactions with journalists. Pitching them on Twitter out the blue will likely not have the desired result. Follow them for a while, retweet them and comment on some of their tweets before you try to push your client or agenda.

  • Once & Done: Part of the reason journalists like Twitter is because it confines long-winded PR people to 140 characters. Don’t clog up their Twitter feed with multiple tweets or direct messages for a single pitch—keep it to a single tweet.

  • Keep It Professional: With Twitter, as with all social media, the lines between personal and professional are often blurred. It can be OK to use your personal Twitter account to pitch journalists if you’re keeping it professional. However, if the majority of your tweets are about embarrassing antics from nights of drunken debauchery, refrain from conducting professional business using that handle.

  • Don't Accidentally Out a Journalist or a Client: Don't forget that Twitter is a public forum. If you tweet about a story you heard the reporter is working on, you may be outing them to a competitor who can get the scoop and blow their story. Confidential information also has no place on Twitter. (Can you say Weinergate?) If your company/client wants to keep something on the down low or under embargo, sending a reporter information via Twitter is step one in causing a crisis.