I first published this yesterday on my personal blog. Although it’s all about my personal preferences, I’m pretty sure the message would remain the same no matter which journalist you speak to – there’s a time and a place for pitches.
I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, and the start of a new year is as good a time as any to do it.
While it might seem a bit of a pompous and self-absorbed piece, I get pitched a lot on different social media in addition to via email, and I often feel bad for not replying, so here’s a roundup of where to pitch me – and where not to.
As much as I moan about the pain of keeping up with my inbox, email is still by far my preferred method of receiving pitches. Thanks to tools like Dropbox’s Mailbox and Google’s Inbox, email is faster than ever to deal with, and having pitches all in one place makes it much easier to get through them all. I can devote a certain amount of each day to working through them, rather than picking around across multiple networks.
What’s more, email just feels like the right place for pitches, in a way that a Twitter mention or a LinkedIn message don’t. Please send pitches that you think I personally might be interested in to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t reply to every pitch, but I do read them all.
Twitter is my main social medium. I use it for a mixture of sharing news, chatting to people and as an outlet for the terrible puns that pop into my head all too often.
Sometimes I receive pitches in my mentions stream. I can see why people do this (if journalists’ email inboxes are full, why not pitch them somewhere more lightweight?) but you’re limiting the amount of time your pitch can be acted upon. If your tweet goes too far below the fold in my mentions stream, I’ll probably never act on it.
Occasionally (very occasionally) a tweeted pitch has led to coverage on TNW, but more often than not such pitches are ignored as they arrived at a time when I was too busy to look at them and then when I do have time, I’ve received a bunch more mentions so I forget. If the pitch had been emailed, I’d have got to it eventually.
I mainly accept Facebook friend requests from people I’ve met in person, or who I know pretty well online, and I use it for sharing personal news and a bit of tech news.
Facebook is a terrible place for pitching journalists, not least because if your message gets automatically filtered into the ‘Other’ folder it may never get read. I’ve just looked in my Other folder for the first time in seven months and there are a bunch of unread messages. If they’d have been emailed, I’d have seen them much sooner.
What’s more, many people (me included) prefer to use Facebook for personal communication, so pitches feel out of place. Once again – email please!
I don’t actually use LinkedIn much. It’s useful for looking up people’s work history though, and I accept connection requests from people I already know and from people who seem to do interesting work. There are plenty of connection requests I’ve just ignored because I don’t know who they are and they don’t introduce themselves.
If you send a request please add a note saying why you want to connect (I’m far from the only person who wishes people would do this). And if you just want to connect to pitch, please email instead. Once we’ve conversed by email, that feels (to me) a better time to connect on LinkedIn.
What about Google+, Instagram etc etc?
I haven’t listed them here because, quite simply, I don’t get pitched there. And please don’t start :) I did get a pitch via an Instagram message once. It was fun just the once, but as you’ll have gathered above, I don’t want to have to start hunting around my phone for pitches in various apps.
And there we go. I just wanted to get that off my chest so I can feel less guilty about ignoring pitches sent to places other than my email inbox.
Oh, and please don’t send all your TNW pitches to me – there may well be someone better to handle them (especially as I don’t write that many articles any more because my time’s filled with editing duties). Read around the site and get a feel for who might be most interested in your news. All of the editorial team are first name @thenextweb.com.
Into 2015 we go!