By Gretchen Krueger, Senior Counselor at Landis Communications, Inc.
Recently, I experienced a first in my public relations career. After speaking with a journalist on the phone, he asked me to text him with the interview details. “Really?” I asked. Well that’s a first. Aside from email and phone, I’ve never engaged in story pitching or follow up with a reporter using text messaging.
I started to do some research. Were there any articles, blogs or tips on texting journalists? I learned there is plenty of advice about business texting, which I thought might be useful.
However, I couldn’t find anything specific to journalists, so I made up my own list of Do’s and Don’ts for texting with media that includes some of the above tips:
- Ask the journalist via phone or email if they would like to receive information via text
- Use correct grammar and punctuation
- Proofread your text before sending
- Include your name and contact info at the bottom of the message. The journalist may not recognize the incoming number
- Stay professional
- Get to the point. If you have too much information to share via text, send an email instead
- Return a text message in a timely manner
- Once the story is wrapped up and if you’d like to pitch that reporter again, ask them again if they are open to receiving texts for future pitches
- Send a text without first asking the journalist if they would like to receive information via text
- Use abbreviations, acronyms or text slang
- Type in CAPS. Reading CAPS is harder and is generally referred to as the equivalent of YELLING!
- Use texting to send press releases, etc. Clearly your thumbs and the reporter may revolt
- Send a text if you should make a phone call. If you know that the subject of your message will require back and forth communication, either pick up the phone and call the person or, if it’s not time sensitive, send an email requesting a specific time to talk
- Send a text if you’ve already left a message or sent an email
- Text outside of business hours unless you have been asked to do so