Guidelines for talking with reporters on Twitter

It’s a great way to build a relationship with a reporter, but there’s a delicate balance between annoying and friendly that you need to strike.

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Like emailing them or calling them on the phone, there are certain things you need to consider. You don’t want to come off as desperate or annoying, which can happen even if you’re trying to be their friend.

It’s not as complicated as it seems, though. Here are some basic rules you can follow when deciding whether to tweet to a journalist or leave the reporter alone.

Relevant info

One of the basic rules to any contact with a journalist: Information you share with him or her should be relevant. Of course, you already know that pitching a story that’s completely non-news is a no-no, so treat other contact with them the same.

Also, keep in mind journalists’ hectic schedules. Though they may throw out a tweet or two during the day, it doesn’t mean you can blast them with questions about your press release. Remember to keep it relevant.

For instance, they may ask a question about a recent news story. You absolutely should respond with an intelligent and witty reply. What you shouldn’t do is take the opportunity to ask them when your story will be in the paper or if they will give you a call. Would you want someone else to do that to you?

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