Dos and Don’ts of Twitter Cold Pitching

Dos and Don'ts


Last week I posted about my success with the 90-Day Pitch Challenge. So this week, as promised, I’m going to talk about how I used Twitter to successfully reach out to prospective clients with cold pitches. For the challenge, I did a mix of cold pitches and regular applications to jobs posted on job boards. Almost every single person I sent a cold pitch to, I found on Twitter.

I hadn’t planned it that way, but it ended up being the best way to reach my desired clientele. Now, I did send some cold pitches to websites like Screenrant and other sites I read on a regular basis to try and land a gig as a web content proofreader, and I didn’t need Twitter for that. So, if you are looking to work with a business or established site, you probably won’t need to use Twitter—you can just google the type of business you want, go to the website, and find the careers page. But I work with authors, and authors’ sites don’t have a careers pages. I can’t just Google “fantasy author” or “author official site” either. I would only get big time authors who already have publishing houses and the editors that go with them. So I used Twitter as a tool to not only find writers, but find the appropriate contact information to best reach them.

You may remember Anne, PurpleInkPen’s first official client, from my last post. Well, I found her through Twitter. It does work, so long as you approach it in the right way.
So here are some Dos and Don’ts of pitching through Twitter.

Do use it as a database:

Twitter is a searchable database of millions of potential clients. You can insert terms related to your specialty right into the search bar, and then manipulate the search tabs to search people with those terms in their tweets, twitter name, or description. Once you’ve found your first handful of people to pitch (which hardly takes a minute or two), the real work starts.

Don’t use DM unless you absolutely have to:

Be honest, how often do you read or pay attention to your direct messages on Twitter? Most of the stuff I receive through DMs is rather spammy. DMs are usually never directly addressed to anyone because they are sent out en masse to all new followers. Also, I follow a lot of authors on my Twitter because it’s the nature of my business, and plenty of them have automatic DMs that basically just toot the author’s own horn or practically beg me to buy their book on Amazon. The point is, I hardly glance at my DMs, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Something has to catch my eye (like maybe my name at the beginning of the message) for me to keep reading, and it sometimes takes me a while to actually click into them to make the notifications go away because I just don’t care.

Now, I did send a few DM pitches myself, but I did as much research as I could about the person I was pitching beforehand. If I had to DM, it usually meant they didn’t have an official website. Sometimes they had a site but not a contact page. Still, I read their tweets and saw what they were working on so that I could personalize the DM and try to catch their attention. However, I didn’t receive a response back from over half of them. It’s just not very effective, so avoid it if you can.

Do use it as a tool to find contact info:

The beauty of social media these days is that everyone links all of their media outlets together as much as possible. Authors link to their webpages, blogs, and books on Amazon in their Twitter description. Booyah!

There’s no excuse to send a DM when you can easily click on the person’s webpage link and contact them through email with a subject line that will catch their eye. If you send a pitch through an individual’s contact form on a website or blog, I guarantee it will at least be looked at. I know that I always check notification emails from my blog and emails from my business website’s contact forms right away.

Just make sure you actually read the About page or whatever page is most relevant to what you’ll be pitching. For example, I pitch authors, so I look for a page about their past books. Come on, you have a whole site full of knowledge about the person, what they are working on, and what makes them tick. Don’t squander it. A good pitch is personalized. I always mentioned the person’s latest book in my pitch, whether it was already published or (even better) if they were currently working on it (the best is when you find a recent post that says “Yipee, I just finished the last chapter of my first draft!”). Twitter can open the door to all of the knowledge necessary to write a crazy good pitch.

Don’t get sidetracked:

The downside to using Twitter is that it is a social media platform, a.k.a the leading time-suck currently in existence that will suck you down into a black hole and spit you out an hour later, groggy and disoriented, watching a video of a cat dressed as pirate “singing” the Spongebob theme song. Please, for the love of God, stay on task! Resist the CuteEmergency tweets! Don’t even look at your own feed. Keep yourself trained on those search results and jump from the person’s Twitter page to their official site as quickly as possible.

Do use it to establish a connection:

If you’re going to HAVE to send a DM, you need to interact with the person’s feed first. I know, I know, I just said don’t get sidetracked, so how can I tell you to scroll through a possible client’s feed? Well, if you have self-control issues, you may not want to do this, but hopefully you can manage it. It’s research. Just shut your eyes against the funny and cute tweets and focus on the ones that relate to the business you want to do with this person.

I prefer to go to the person’s official page and react to what I read there in my pitch. However, not everyone has an official site. For instance, I may find someone who says in their Twitter description that they are the author of an upcoming book, but they don’t have any links in it. First, I google the hell out of their name, attaching it to “author” “writer” “book” and “.com.” If nothing pops up, that means they don’t have an official page yet (really, they should have had one well before now if the book is coming out in a month, but I digress).

Then, I start scrolling through the Twitter feed. You don’t have to like every single tweet (please don’t, that’s super creepy). Pick one that actually says something interesting, asks a question, etc. and reply to it. Liking isn’t nearly as effective as replying. When they see your name on that DM, they probably won’t remember that you liked that one tweet. However, if you started a conversation with them, they will be far more likely to remember you and actually read what you sent.

So long as you’re using Twitter as a tool rather than a pastime, it’s the perfect cold pitching device if your clientele isn’t easily Googleable … is that a word? Because it should be. People use social media, blogs, and websites to display to the world who they are and what they are doing, and Twitter helps you to uncover all of that information so that you can write a pitch the potential client will actually care about. Personalizing a pitch shows the recipient that you cared enough to spend a little time learning about them and reading their stuff. If you can personalize a pitch well enough that the recipient actually opens it and reads it all the way to the end, you’re ahead of the game. That’s what Twitter can help you do.

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