Adapting PR Strategies: Navigating the New Changes on X

Over the summer, X, formerly known as Twitter, threw a curveball at its users by implementing new changes to its direct messaging system. Users are now only able to direct message (DM) each other if they meet one of two criteria: they follow each other, or they are premium subscribers to X.

For PR professionals who have long relied on social media to build relationships and engage with reporters, this change requires we shift our approach. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the implications of these changes and explore how we can adapt our strategies to continue effectively pitching reporters.

A Shift in the Way We Connect

For those driving media relations programs, platforms like X have been a goldmine for building connections with reporters. Engaging with their posts, sending DMs, and responding to source requests have been pivotal in securing media coverage. However, the recent changes have disrupted this familiar flow. To understand the impact, we reached out to Cloey Callahan, a reporter at WorkLife News who often relies on X for source requests. Cloey has noticed a notable shift in how she interacts with PR professionals. Instead of the usual influx of DMs, she has observed a rise in email responses to her source requests. Clearly, this shift has impacted both the pitcher and the pitch receiver, so it’s important to keep in mind that we are in this transition period together to find ways to work best with one another.

Engaging with Posts: A New Avenue

While the DM avenue might have become narrower, another lane has been paved. PR professionals are finding success in engaging directly with reporters’ posts. By responding to their updates, sharing insights, and offering assistance in the comments section, PR pros are catching reporters’ attention. This not only helps in establishing a visible presence but also offers a platform for initiating conversations. This organic approach paves the way for a softer transition to email communication.

The Hybrid Solution

In light of these changes, a balanced approach emerges as the way forward. Instead of relying solely on direct messages or shifting completely to email pitches, PR professionals can embrace a hybrid approach. When responding to a reporter’s post, it’s wise to introduce yourself, your client’s expertise, and your willingness to provide relevant insights (but remember to keep it short and sweet as you only have 280 characters). However, instead of discussing the details in the comments section, express your intention to connect further via phone or email. This not only shows respect for the reporter’s public space but also sets the stage for a more in-depth discussion.

Following up with an email that references the reporter’s post in the subject line enhances the pitch’s chances of getting read. By mentioning the specific source request or topic, you’re making your email more searchable and relevant. This approach demonstrates your commitment to tailoring your pitch to the reporter’s needs, even in the face of changing communication dynamics.

Adapting for Success

As media pitchers, agility is key. The media relations landscape is in a perpetual state of flux, with newsrooms changing constantly and platforms evolving to shape how we communicate. While my previous blog post emphasized the power of social media for media monitoring and pitching, it’s essential to acknowledge that every new normal requires its own adjustments. Adapting swiftly and intelligently to these changes can be the defining factor between a successful pitch and one that goes unnoticed.

At the surface, the changes on X present a new set of challenges, but they also offer opportunities for innovation. By engaging more directly with reporters’ posts and seamlessly transitioning to email pitches, PR professionals can continue to build meaningful relationships and secure media coverage in this evolving landscape. However, with this change, it’s also important to remember that the basic best practices of engaging the media still hold true! Compiling the right story elements, understanding the media and market landscape to inform the pitch, and researching each reporter to ensure they are the correct target will always be the best and only way to effectively pitch the media.


September 6, 2023


By Rachel Levy


Media Relations, Social Media