There are those of us (not me) who are excellent artists – like those people on cop shows that can draw a perfect rendition of the face of someone they have never met based on a description given by someone who was standing 100 yards away (“he had a nose… hair, it might have been brown – or black – maybe dark blonde. Glasses, I think – but definitely eyes”). There are those that are great writers – Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Perez Hilton (ok – maybe not so much with Perez – but he’s funny… usually). And now, there is a new breed of greatness developing. Those who are social-media mavens. They can use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to do ridiculously amazing things, whereas I can only use them for what they were initially designed for – a way to keep in touch with friends and family. There are those among us who are making a huge impact on the world we live in with 140 characters and the click of a button… comparatively, by the end of this sentence it will have taken me 196 words to get to the main point of this blog – and so, without further ado – I bring to you… the #TWITPITCH!
Kind of. But first – a history lesson.
About a year ago, a journalist named Stowe Boyd decided that he no longer wanted to be pitched stories through the traditional means of e-mail and phone calls. He preferred the 140 character method of Twitter. By being able to pitch an idea in 140 characters (or less!) a PR professional should, ideally, be able to convey their entire message quickly and concisely. According to the article from PR Daily, at least 2 other journalists have picked up on the trend, and encourage PR professionals to pitch them only via Twitter.
Taking a different approach – many companies are now turning to social-media to promote their brands; many companies are posting YouTube demonstrations of their products, almost every company has a Facebook “fan” page ( apparently I am a “fan” of a lot of things – including some things that have no relevance to my life what-so-ever), and lots of companies are taking up residence in the Twitterverse (which I tried to link to a definition, but apparently it doesn’t have an official one). By using Twitter, companies are essentially able to pitch their new products and announcements directly to consumers, rather than just to reporters and editors.
And now, some real life application.
I had already started writing this blog when I was assigned the task of creating “10-15” twitpitches for one of our clients. This particular client has one of their products in use in a very public place, the plan is to blast a couple tweets out to the Twitterverse saying basically “hey if you’re here, check it out!”. Perfect, I thought. I am already “researching” twitpitches – I’ll use this for my blog! I figured that the assignment couldn’t be too hard – a couple quick short announcements of a fact. EASY! Orrr not.
Here is what I have found (… well, decided).
Coming up with 140 characters of information is hard. 140 characters of “Hey I bought new shoes” is simple – see, I just did it! But actually getting a message across takes some skill. It took me about an hour to come up with 8 very different, but still informative and (hopefully) attention-grabbing tweets all focused around the same thing. When you’re limited to 140 characters and you have to use the same basic words at least once in each tweet (obviously I had to mention the product and location each time, so those took up at least 20 of my characters) being creative is tough.
In theory, the twitpitch is great. In practice – it’s astounding. It costs nothing and assuming you’ve got a lot of followers, which a lot of companies do, you’re able to get your message out to lots of people. Efficiency is key, however. Telling the Twitterverse you’ve got a new product is cool, but linking to it is essential – and those links take up characters. Making sure people know where they can find a product is important, but don’t forget to include the hashtags (ex: “#caster” – hashtags make words easily searchable through twitter). Being able to tweet your product in 140 characters or less and have it be memorable and informative is practically an art form. Do not take twitpitching lightly. If you’re doing a great job of it, and using it sparingly – they could prove to be invaluable to your company. If you are just bombarding your followers with links and “buy this now!” types of messages, you may find that you’re “unfollowed” pretty quickly.
Just for reference, below is an example of how long a 140 character tweet it.
DogWiggles has just released their most innovative dog leash yet and its only $40. Buy it now at http://bit.ly/3jhP30 and have a happy pup.
(The link is fake – I made up a webaddress [I think] to show a shortened Twitter link, which people tend to use, rather than lengthy URLs.)
Notice that I didn’t include any hashtags, and it isnt exactly interesting. But it’s all I could come up with in 140 characters and a fake product/company.
Posted by Courtney | Follow me on Twitter