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Facebook Vanity Usernames…for Facebook Beginners

Heather Nolte notified the StartupNation community last week about Facebook’s new offering of vanity URLs (Facebook.com/YourNameHere) for individuals and businesses. Check out her post: Facebook Vanity Username…Get Yours June 13th 12:01am!. Although any individual and many businesses were afforded the opportunity to secure personalized URLs from June 13th, business pages with fewer than 1000 fans [...]

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Small Business Profile: Night Helper Watch

To follow up on a previous post requesting feedback on topics and offering to highlight members of the community, I learned of NightHelpWatchers.com.—a company based on an invention by Lisa Charleston. Lisa started NightHelpWatchers.com in 2004 after being laid off from a nursing job in a home-hospice facility. She transitioned into being a stay at [...]

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How to Find and Pitch Media Contacts on Twitter

When you’re on a bootstrap marketing budget, you can never have too many friends in media.  If you don’t have those connections now, there’s still hope.  You just might be able to win a few new media friends with the social media darling, Twitter.  Twitter has been a favorite of the media and public relations professionals since its beginning back in 2006.  The quick, “cut to the chase” 140 micro blogging site is perfect for sending out quick editorial queries, source requests, or soliciting feedback on headlines.  I’ve put together some tips below to help you transform Twitter into the latest weapon in your PR arsenal.

How to Find the Media

One of the easiest ways to find relevant media contacts that cover your beat is to check their current publications.  With the rise of Twitter’s popularity many reporters, journalists, and bloggers are adding their twitter handles to their bylines.  If their twitter contact information isn’t listed, try a search on Twitter itself or one of the many search directories such as Twellow.  Another great resource for finding media on twitter is MediaonTwitter.  The directory is pretty self explanatory and includes a list of over 1,000 contacts from publications such as FOX News, USA Today, Business Week, and many other blogs, radio shows, and regional magazines both in the states and overseas.  With HARO’s Peter Shankman helping promote the list, you know it has to be good. (P.S. Make sure you’re signed up for that too!)

Making Contact

Once you have found contacts handling your beat, jump in there and “follow” them.  It’s also a great opportunity to send a quick tweet to say “Hi” and mention that you” liked their article on __________.”  Nothing overly gushy, but just a quick “Hey, I’m here and sincerely interested in what you have to say…” type of greeting.  If they respond, great!  If not, no big deal.  Either way, this is about building a relationship and not instant gratification.  You have along way to go if you want to “friend” a meaningful media contact.

How to Truly “Follow”

Once you start to gain momentum on Twitter, it can become hard to catch everyone’s tweets in your twitter stream.  This brings me to my love/hate relationship with Twitter.  I love the amazing access to people, information, and culture, but hate the overwhelming nature of it all.  To break it down into smaller portions, I rely heavily on “groups” in Tweetdeck.  This is the best tool I’ve found to ensure that I use my Twitter time productively.  Without these groups, the ADD sets in and I get caught up in all types of random rants, Etsy shopping, and web surfing.  I have a “PR” group that I use to follow all my media contacts.  The result is a perfectly edited tweet stream that allows me to keep up with all my “media friends”.  Check this group regularly and be sure to answer any questions, comment on posts they’ve written, or just mention you had a garden omelet for breakfast too.  Everything helps as you work to build the relationship.

Just remember that friendship should be a two-way street with you listening twice as much as you talk.  In other words, DO NOT spam media contacts repeatedly with self-promoting tweets.  If you do, I guarantee you’ll learn the true meaning of “fail whale” the hard way.

When to Pitch

The best time to pitch is when specifically asked.  For example, when a writer tweets they are looking for sources on “short selling in real estate”, be sure to let her know you’d be glad to answer any questions.  While this is the most obvious time to pitch, it isn’t necessarily the most common situation.  You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?  More likely, you will be the one initiating the pitch.  If done well, it has a good chance of being well received.  If done poorly, you’ll burn bridges and lose your newfound “friend.”  My best suggestion is to be sincere, concise, and informative.  For example, I sell baby clothes and often design pieces that are inspired by current events.  Recently, I designed some “Little Republican” and “Little Democrat” onesies to celebrate the upcoming election.

In this case, I would send this tweet, “Love ur article “ObamasSenseofStyle”! Election is great 4 biz, our political baby clothes r selling out! Wld love 2 share stats! link.bit.ly”

Please note that the tweet is only 140 characters.  This doesn’t give you much space to sell your story.  The key is to make sure your link seals the deal.  The link that I attach will have all the information regarding the product including a description illustrating the news worthy significance of the product, any celebrity fans or political figure customers, a downloadable 300 dpi picture, interesting customer testimonials, and maybe a counter showing which political party has the highest percent of sales.  Ideally, the goal is to include information that demonstrates the newsworthiness of the product.

Follow-Up for Your “Following”

As with anything in marketing, the follow-up is your key to success.  The same rule applies to your following strategy on Twitter.  If your @ replies go unanswered or if your pitch falls on deaf ears, don’t get discouraged.  Go ahead and send a little reminder if you don’t hear a response back in 24-36 hours.

To continue with my example, I might send the follow-up tweet, “Update! Obama may have style, but McCain has the most sales…Curious if this is an indicator for Election Day??? Is there an upset brewing?”

Regardless of what happens, stay vigilant, courteous, and helpful.  If you can’t help with a story, suggest a contact that might be a great source, re-tweet their posts, and be sure to take your interaction outside of Twitter.  This means commenting on their blogs, reading their books, and adding their blog to your personal blogs “blogroll.”  The more you understand their writing style and interests, the easier it will be for you to craft your pitches.

The Bottom Line

I hope you can see the value in adding Twitter to your PR arsenal.  As always, remember to be respectful of the media and stay on topic, concise, and informative when pitching.  Your good intentions will be rewarded.  Even if you don’t receive press from your intended media contact, you are greatly increasing you odds of being picked up elsewhere.  One of the many lessons I’ve learned in my endless pursuit for publicity is that Google can be your greatest ally.  Google never forgets, and it all but guarantees your publicity efforts won’t be forgotten either.

I’d love to hear your comments below and please be sure to follow me on www.twitter.com/glamajama! Want more DIY PR tips? Sign up here

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When you’re on a bootstrap marketing budget, you can never have too many friends in media.  If you don’t have those connections now, there’s still hope.  You just might be able to win a few new media friends with the social media darling, Twitter.  Twitter has been a favorite of the media and public relations [...]

Continue Reading

Small Business Profile: Crossing Gaps

To follow up on a previous post requesting feedback on topics and offering to highlight members of the community, I learned of a company called Crossing Gaps — they help bring creative people (writers, artists, musicians, startups) online. Crossing Gaps helps them with everything from web design to marketing and monetization strategy so they can [...]

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Making Newsletter Topics Fun for Readers

I just received one of my favorite newsletters today. It is from a chiropractor I went to awhile back, her newsletter is full of the new happenings at the office but it also contains a monthly fun fact (usually something totally cool you learn about your arm or leg) and a healthy recipe. Newsletters are [...]

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PR Does Not Equal Press Release

The first thing that many new entrepreneurs think about when they hear “public relations” is sending out a press release. Sure, a press release can help build buzz online.   But if you want a feature story written about your business, it’s essential to pitch specific media members directly.   And with today’s economy, this [...]

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eCommerce: 45 Tips to Turbocharge Your Sales

If you are the owner of an eCommerce website,  you are continuously looking for ways to improve the conversion rate on your site and to drive more sales. To that end, here are 45 tips to turbocharge your eCommerce site: Define Your Audience Segment your audience by lifetime value. Segment your audience by recency (When [...]

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Small Business Profile: Visible Logic

To follow up on a previous post requesting feedback on topics and offering to highlight members of the community, I learned of visiblelogic.com. A well-designed message can position your organization, product or service to look unique, capable and strong enough to go head-to-head with any competitor of any size.  That is just what Emily Brackett (founder of Visible Logic) [...]

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How Not to Write a Subject Line

Hello everyone, I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself my name is Jenna Jantsch and I am the Marketing Specialist at VerticalResponse.  I’m going to be contributing some posts to this blog going forward, starting, obviously enough, with today’s post on Subject Lines. One of the most important parts of an email [...]

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Rank is Nothing; Talent is Everything

“There are three enormous tasks that strategic leaders have to get right” Patraeus said one night in Baghdad. “The first is to get the big ideas right. The second is to communicate the big ideas throughout the organization. The third is to ensure proper execution of the big ideas.” -From the book The Gamble by [...]

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Expanding Your Network Through Tweetups

If you are using Twitter, you are “following” a number of Twitter feeds as well as being “followed” by a number. The more you use the service, the more you probably start liking certain feeds and paying closer attention to them. In a sense, you start becoming attached to them. All of this is great, [...]

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What is your SEO Team Doing?

Are you getting results from your current, SEO efforts? If not, why not? I’ve talked to several CEOs lately who were not sure why their SEO activities were not bringing in sales. After a closer look at their Web sites, here are some of the problems I found: – The Web design team wrote the [...]

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System Improvement

What about the leader of a typical large, successful company? Most times, these people are not innately special. Beyond their willingness to work hard and an adequate degree of intelligence, their advantage is that they naturally operate from a systems perspective—while the huge majority of people do not. These leaders are heavyweights because they understand [...]

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How Merchant Services Work

Businesses that accept credit cards are a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting customers. With over 3/4 of the American population using some form of plastic to pay for regular purchases, you can’t afford not to offer a credit card payment option. Merchant Account Basics In order to accept credit card payments, you’ll need [...]

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Buy One, Give One

Referencing my prior post on Creative Capitalism, here is another business with a 1 for 1 model. A new project by California eco-urban design firm LJ Urban aims to make giving more concrete—quite literally—by matching its sales of homes domestically with funds to build homes in the impoverished African nation of Burkina Faso. Urban has [...]

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Staying Out of the Spam Filters

What Can You Do To Help Ensure Excellent Delivery on your Email Marketing Campaigns 1) Keep Your List Healthy Be sure everyone on your list has specifically requested info from or about your company. If they opted in, just make sure you’re not mailing previously unsubscribed or bounced addresses. And remember that permission is not [...]

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Small Business Profile: OutspokenMedia.com

To follow up on a previous post requesting feedback on topics and offering to highlight members of the community, I learned of Outspoken Media, Inc.—an internet marketing startup that was founded in January by three women who wanted more for their clients. Partner Rae Hoffman just finished 20th in the recent Startup Mom competition, an [...]

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