Pitching a Story Via Social Media

Social Media Pitching

Social media for business promotion and news announcements is gaining momentum. Face it, smart phones are part of the daily wardrobe for a growing number of the population.  Take advantage of it!  But like any good tool, it takes practice and time to master to get the most out of it.


Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – the list goes on.  The method, or channel, you use to reach your audience is almost as important as the message itself.

It’s important for a company to understand their goal in pitching a story on social media to help dictate which social media platform or platforms to utilize.

Generally, journalists welcome story tips on Twitter. Remember to keep it interesting by including a link or a hashtag. Additionally, if a company wants to quickly announce breaking news, Twitter would be the most effective channel to gain attention from local and national media. Keep in mind that maintaining a high-level of accuracy is critical. The last thing you want is a fact error going viral.

If an organization wants to promote an upcoming fundraiser, you may want to use LinkedIn to connect with a certain demographic of professionals. LinkedIn is viewed as a great professional networking resources, so use it to your advantage to build relationships with journalists as well.

What about Facebook or Instagram?

Of course, the best campaigns use multiple social media channels in different ways to meet their goals.

Target Audience:

Selling a story to the most appropriate person is very important. Although a social media pitch is much shorter than a press release, you still need to make sure the right people are seeing it. For example, if your company writes a story on Florida’s head basketball coach Billy Donovan, reach out to the individual sports reporters that cover Gator basketball not the generic newspaper or television station.

Plan, Plan, Plan:

Journalists and public relations professionals will examine a company’s social media sites to find out more information. Prepare for it.  It helps a company build relationships with the media if they have a strong brand backed by excellent online content on multiple channels. A news outlet is less likely to respond to a Twitter account without a picture that only has two tweets. To establish credibility, write a social media plan specifying who is responsible for writing content, how often content should be posted and what types of events or stories are considered newsworthy enough to be pitched.   Be prepared to change though – market responsiveness is vital for a growing, dynamic organization!

Navigating how to effectively sell a story via social media can be challenging. However, the process still relies on building strong relationships even if you never meet the journalist face-to-face. Companies must strategically pick their social media channels, target audience and write a plan to increase the likelihood of their story being picked up. If you learn to leverage social media, your business has the potential to reach new heights.

Skylar Ramsey is a Development Associate at UF Health in Gainesville. She is a member of the FPRA Gainesville Chapter and is pursuing her master’s degree from the University of Florida.

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