As a someone who was a remedial Twitter user for some time, I’ve come around a bit and seen its value for certain things. It can be a good place to get information about publications I am interested in, and I follow quite a few editors for everything from submission calls/updates to writing inspiration, and more.
Rules of Etiquette
While there are no set rules about how to engage with editors via Twitter, many of us have pondered pitching an editor via Twitter, tagging an editor to get their attention on a piece we’ve, or maybe even messaging them directly if we follow each other.
When using Twitter to engage with an editor, keep in mind that not all editors use Twitter regularly (or at all), and of those that do, everyone uses it differently. In “Tipping the Pitch: Advice from Today’s Top Newspaper and Magazine Editors“, an editor at The Daily Beast encourages writers to retweet interesting content from editors they want to engage with, and reply when they have something interesting to say, in an effort to build a pre-pitch relationship. Stacey Miller of Cision collected feedback from many members of the media in her 2011 piece “Pitching Through Social Media: Yea or Nay?“. Feedback was primarily open to receiving pitches via social media with a variety of preferences about platforms and approaches. I’d venture a guess that even more editors are open to receiving pitches on Twitter now, four years later.Should you Tweet your pitch to editors? Click To Tweet
Even with a growing openness by editorial professionals to do some business via Twitter, not all editors are going to like being pitched via social media. Many editors have a large volume of submissions and prefer one channel of incoming communication with writers (email, Submittable etc.). If an editor is not very active on Twitter (doesn’t tweet daily), you may consider taking a more traditional approach to pitching and submitting, via their online form, email etc.. If the submission guidelines for their site are very specific about only pitching a certain way, by all means, follow those guidelines. Any time you are pitching via Twitter, you run the risk of irritating someone who doesn’t like to be pitched publicly.
If you’ve heard through the grapevine that a particular editor is open to Twitter pitching, or if you are just are not getting anywhere with other methods and figure ‘What the heck?’, you may decide to try the Twitter pitch approach. While a gentle pitch gauging the editors interest on a topic seems to be the norm, Lauren Dugan advocates a more aggressive approach in “5 Tips For Using Twitter To Pitch Your Story“, where writers are urged to make their Twitter pitches as public as possible, with the more eyes on it the better.
In “The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Journalists on Social Media“, Zoe Fox lays down guidelines for pitching journalists via Twitter, which can also be extended to editors. She encourages limiting pitch follow ups to one time only, and not pitching the same piece to multiple editors since tweets are public. She also warns against using Facebook to pitch since many professionals like to keep their personal Facebook accounts strictly for personal use, a sentiment that is echoed in many articles on this topic.
In conclusion, Twitter pitching is becoming more widely accepted, but should be used with caution. Nicole Fallon said it best in her article “An editor’s advice for pitching on social media” on Ragan’s PR Daily:
“There’s an art to connecting with journalists on social media: Do it well, and you’ll start a memorable conversation about your story idea. Do it poorly, and you risk not only stepping far beyond the boundaries of a professional relationship, but also ending up on a journalist’s or an entire publication’s blacklist.”
— Nicole Fallon, Assistant Editor – Business News Daily
Editors To Follow
Even if Twitter pitching is not for you, Twitter can offer a great platform to follow editors of interest. There are many editors who tweet regularly about topics that will interest writers. Here are just a few editors that I personally enjoy following, and you’ll certainly find others that interest you as well.
Jordan Rosenfeld – (@) Managing Editor at Sweatpants and Coffee, Writer, Writing Instructor tweeting writing advice and inspiration
— Jordan E. Rosenfeld (@Jordanrosenfeld) September 2, 2015
Amy Newmark – (@) Publisher and Editor at Chicken Soup For The Soul tweeting CSFTS updates and opportunities
We’ve added new topics for your story submissions, including Blended Families. Also extended Dog and Cat deadlines. http://t.co/LGz9RwuTtV
— Amy Newmark (@amynewmark) September 2, 2015
Alexis Grant – (@) Editor at The Penny Hoarder and Taylor Media, Founder of The Write Life tweeting writing resources, tips and info
— Alexis Grant (@alexisgrant) September 2, 2015
Sarah Menkedick – (@) Founding Editor at Vela Magazine tweeting reading recommendations (and not just on her site) and more for readers and writers
— Sarah Menkedick (@SarahMenkedick) August 30, 2015
While I have created a few Twitter lists for myself and my followers, I’ve only recently started being more proactive about subscribing to lists that other Twitter users have painstakingly put together and made public.
A Twitter list is, is a collection of Twitter accounts that a user has put together. Note: If you create your own lists, list members can see that they have been added in their notifications. You can subscribe to lists that other users have made public, and/or create your own lists for specific niches or topics of interest. View them at any time from your Twitter profile to see a list of tweets related only to list members. I find them refreshing as opposed to my main Twitter feed that contains tweets from every single person I follow.
Putting a list together can be time-consuming, so subscribing to lists that others have created and made public is a great way to get the benefits of lists without the work. Looking at the lists that your favorite writers, editors and influencers have created is a great place to start.
Onsharp ran a great article called “How to Search for Twitter Lists” that suggests running a Google search using these parameters: site:twitter.com inurl:lists <name of the list you’re searching for> to find lists on certain topics.
For example, running a search for site:twitter.com inurl:lists <atlantic editors> yielded a list that is maintained by The Atlantic containing 58 editors and writers. For someone interested in writing for a coveted publication like The Atlantic, subscribing to this list can save a great deal of time and effort and give visibility into tweets in a more targeted way.
Subscribe to BYB Podcast Guests to see a select Twitter feed of tweets only from editors who have been guests on my podcast! You’ll also see their retweets and tweets from others that mention them.
Subscribe to Beyond Your Blog's Twitter List of Editors Click To Tweet
We’d love to hear how you use Twitter to reach out to and follow editors of interest. Leave us a comment and let us know!