In my spare time I’m a bit of a film buff, so naturally I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by the Film Section of the UK Critics’ Circle to tweet live from the red carpet and press room at their annual London Film Critics Circle Awards – what an honour!
Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
New Year’s Resolutions are all very worthy – give up smoking, go to the gym, stop eating junk food, take up a new hobby, etc… I propose to you all doing one thing which will CHANGE YOUR WORLD in 2012 – take up tweeting!
In these modern times of tweeting and social networking, the news agenda has changed – stories are almost ‘old news’ now by the time they appear in print, unless you offer an exclusive or a different angle/opinion piece to news that has gone out to the masses.
It’s said that news doesn’t break anymore, it ‘tweets’ and I certainly look to Twitter for an immediate source of news. The social network works almost like Chinese Whispers – we hear something, we retweet. We’ve seen its power in spreading urgent news about situations such as the horrific incidents in Norway by Breivik, the summer riots and the ongoing crisis in Libya, as well as for doing good for fundraising and supporting good causes. We’ve also witnessed how false rumours can spread like wildfire, such as fake celebrity death reports and scandal which people have come out to defend.
PRs are increasingly embracing Twitter as the first point of contact to a journalist for their news story angles. The media like a short, to the point pitch – what better way to do this than 140 characters?! It cuts out the waffle – something a lot of PRs are guilty of. When you contact a journalist, you need your pitch honed and know what they want as a journalist. All journos fear the ‘Have you got my press release?’ ring-around that PRs are ‘trained’ to do from an agency background. It still fills me with horror – any good PR knows that this is rule no 1 of what NOT to do!
Some may say that a tweet is lazy, but it’s knowing what to do next that matters. Yes, anyone can tweet but what do you do next when the journalist is interested in covering your story? That’s where your experience in the industry and professionalism plays a big part.
Journalists are looking for news on Twitter and social media as this is where breaking news is. A 1 1/2 page press release is becoming redundant as the way to contact media when you have a story – sure, have it there as background information if a journalist is interested in following up as your overall ‘package’, or for your own corporate uses on your website or for other promotion, but nothing beats initial contact more than a tweet, a short email pitch or even, gasp, a phone call! How prehistoric!
- Damian Pickard
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