Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pitching in 140 Characters

I attended a webinar yesterday morning, albeit briefly because yesterday was meeting marathon day at work. The webinar was about social media and public relations. And for the most part it was directed at people who work for companies but manage the relationship with their Public Relations firm. So parts of the webinar were about how you should be measuring the ROI of PR - a topic I'll discuss some other time - and parts were on how you should be making sure that your PR firm is delivering value to you by being Social Media savvy.

Due to our budget restrictions this year our PR firm is completely focused on doing the promotion of our two major events and the release of our three research reports. So all the pitching that takes place in between and media mangagement is mine to do. And I've stepped up those efforts - contacting key media that we've worked with in the past, tracking blog uptakes and contacting bloggers who write about subjects near and dear to our hearts, keeping track of varioius reporters blogs.

But during the Webinar I heard something that gave me real pause. Some reporters no longer read press releases or their email. They want to be pitched in Twitter. If you can't do your pitch in 140 characters they won't pay attention to you.

My first thought was give me a list. Who are these people and what is their twitter address? And then I realized - I now need to not only find out who these people are, I have to follow them on twitter and then somehow convince them to follow me. AND, I have to take my pitches - which I tend to be able to do in a 5 or 6 line email paragraph down to 140 characters. Now this is a challenge. How do you convey not only who you are but what cool thing you want them to write about in 140 characters?

So I spent some time last night trying to figure out how I would introduce the Anita Borg Institute in 140 characters and then how I would explain our compelling content. One of our upcoming research studies is going to be on Millenials in the Technical Workforce. 33 characters. And I haven't even told you what about Millenials. 10 characters. Is there a new shorter way to say Millenials? Youths? 6 characters but not really appropriate. 20 somethings.12 characters - that's worse. Newcomers. 9 characters - saves 1 character. But now they sound like alien beings from another planet. Newcomers in the Technical Workforce. A new movie from the guy who brought you Alien.

So as Social Media pulls us together and makes connecting easier it also creates new challenges.

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