On October 22, the Hamilton Media Guild did something we haven’t done before. We hosted a twitter chat, inviting Jane Allison, the Hamilton Spectator’s Manager of Community Partnerships, to share her expertise about media pitches. The twitter chat was a preview of Connecting the Dots in Media, a workshop hosted by the Hamilton Media Guild at HIVEX.
Unfamiliar with a twitter chat? A twitter chat is also known as a tweet chat. Here’s the definition used in Forbes magazine’s “Ultimate Guide to a Tweet Chat”:
A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.
If you’re still unsure, read the Forbes’ article to learn everything you need to know about twitter chats, including how to host your own.
For those who aren’t familiar with Jane Allison and her tireless work as a Hamilton leader, she’s an award-winning public relations leader who has worked with more than 100 annual partnerships. Her passion for the Hamilton community and journalism were both evident in her Hamilton Media Guild Twitter chat, which covered multiple topics, among them newsworthiness, how to garner attention for a media pitch, and timeliness. Among her advice was:
- Stories not to pitch to media outlets: cheque presentations; groundbreakings; ‘official openings’; anniversaries.
- It takes about 10 to 20 seconds for a reporter to determine if a story pitch is worthy of attention. Reporters are inundated, so a good pitch stands out.
- Knowing the media outlet really helps. What does the media outlet you’re pitching to cover regularly? Ask yourself if you can connect to that beat in some way.
- Pitch efficiently and cleanly, focusing on the W5 and WSIC (Why Should I Care?).
- How to pitch a story: By email, with your headline in the subject line; One screen of content; Bullet points are great. And don’t forget your contact info!