With Your Twitter Pitch, Where’s the Timehook?

Oh Twitter… receiving a suck notice , being told it has a stickiness problem. Are you really still useful to PR pros, if not just for helping us craft more weighty headlines in 140 characters? Besides the obvious observations for how a tweet helps PR pros pitch more effectively, one thing is definitely overlooked and it’s something I stumbled upon just today: the timehook.

For some background before getting into the explanation, has anyone noticed that Twitter has become a place for people to compete against each other’s content? All I ever see people do on Twitter nowadays is vie for the attention of influencers or users with a large following. Hmm, what does that sound like to you? If you said, “newsroom,” then you’re correct. A tweet – more than ever now – is a pitch, because in order for it to grab someone’s interest, it must have a timehook.

This timehook, however, is different from the traditional hook. It’s not just about including a date or time of an event. It means that the tweet must fit timing-wise within the social context. That’s a new concept introduced to the wonderful world of pitching, isn’t it? As we’re noticing with the influx of social media users and participants, it’s important to keep the content contextually relevant. How do you do this?

Say you have penned a blog post that you’d like to share with your Twitter followers, but the headline, on its own, isn’t enough to sift through the noise and noticeably land on one’s feed. Think about your blog post and the reason for writing it; is it timely and relevant? If so, look for other content tidbits that have been distributed in the Twittersphere that you can use to communicate even more value/interest in your post. An example would be if you’ve developed a list of the top PR Twitter chats that you worked very hard at researching and procuring into a post, then finding out about a PR chat happening tomorrow night. Instead of tweeting this:

“PR Twitter chats you can’t miss [link to your post]”

You change that tweet to:

“PR Twitter chats you can’t miss (especially tomorrow night’s #pr20chat with @leeodden) [link to your post].

Do you see the noticeable difference? Which one would you gravitate toward or most likely retweet? By the way, this is an example from a tweet I shared earlier this week. Tweet #1: no tweets. Tweet #2: 6 retweets in 1 hour.

Just as with a pitch, if you really think the story is good, you want people to know about it. In this case, I thought my blog post offered some great value. There really is no difference between a reporter and follower of yours now, is there? Both are on Twitter and both are looking for good content within the right social context. Pitch away.

Tim Otis is Supervisor of Social Media and PR for brand marketing agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB) in downtown Minneapolis. A five-year integrated and big idea marketer, Otis enjoys pitching media and teaching clients how to use social media effectively and responsibly. Apart from his work at GdB, Otis enjoys blogging, speaking, and writing songs for he and his wife to sing. You can follow him on Twitter @timotis.

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