Twitter is, undoubtedly, the social network of choice if you want to rant, vent or stand up for yourself in a very public way.
Yesterday we saw Katherine Jenkins take to Twitter to slam Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir’s critique of her London Marathon run (according to Moir she looked too good – go figure). As a result, Katherine Jenkins got lots of public support, lots of column inches and (hopefully) a bit more sponsorship; Jan Moir got shamed.
I’ve seen numerous examples of Twitter being used in this way and I don’t imagine it’s going to stop anytime soon.
Journalists naming and shaming – or simply venting about – PRs who just don’t get it is also very common and is definitely something to avoid if you want a long-lasting career. The golden rule is: make it as easy as possible for a journalist to write about your product / client / brand. Doing anything other than that could not only mean your story doesn’t get picked up, you could get publicly called out on your indolence.
The top five mistakes that’ll get you shamed by a journalist on Twitter are:
1. Send a press release to “Sir” / “Madam” / incorrect name entirely
Establish connections with relevant journalists rather than sending your press release to anyone you think may have written about something in the general area that you’re targeting. Journalists have to do their research (and they have to do lots of it) so they appreciate it when you do yours.
2. Invite a ‘mummy blogger’ (for example) to an event that takes place in the evening, away from home, and doesn’t consider childcare
If you’re targeting a particular sector, take a moment to think about the most convenient time and place for them rather than trying to blow them away with a 5* London hotel and free all-night bar. Don’t expect them to rearrange their life around your event – make it as easy as possible for them to attend.
3. Send a press release to a whole load of journalists without using that handy BCC function
Tailor your press releases when you can and don’t make journalists feel like they’re just one target on a huge list that includes all of their competitors. It won’t get you any brownie points and sharing someone’s email address with the world certainly won’t win you any friends.
4. Cram your press release full of jargon that the journalist’s readers will never understand – or write twice as much as you need to
This will result in journalists having to spend time editing it down into something that their readers will be able to digest and understand. Refer to the golden rule: make their job that bit easier whenever you can.
5. Invite a journalist to speak to a client / come to an event / write about your product without being able to provide the elements they’ll need
Respond quickly when journalists ask questions and make sure you can give them access to the person or product you’re asking them to write about – otherwise, what’s the point? Make it difficult for them and you’ll not only lose the story, you may lose your contact entirely.