Dec 09, 2010

Media Relations: Meet Twitter

There are some very good reasons to be tackling media relations over social networks, especially Twitter. Many of these reasons were apparent in the 2010 PRWeek / PR Newswire Media Survey. Some notable facts from the 1300 media professionals who filled out the survey included:

  • 79% of journalists now have Facebook profiles (58% in 2009)
  • 64% of journalists now have LinkedIn profiles (51% in 2009)
  • 58% of journalists now have Twitter profiles (22% in 2009)

So why do I think Twitter is the best social networking site for media relations when Facebook and LinkedIn numbers look very nice indeed?

Simply put, you don’t need permission.

You don’t have to convince anyone to accept you as a friend or connect with you as a trusted colleague. Twitter is a place to introduce your self, share information and build relationships. It’s a place to do your research and understand what individual journalists and bloggers are interested in. Find out what they’re reading and what they’re writing.

Also, journalists and bloggers are using Twitter for research of their own!

If you want your product or story to show up in a journalist’s search, make sure the information is there to be found and that you’ve used appropriate keywords that make the research job on the journalist or blogger’s side a little easier. But please remember, if you use hashtags, make sure they are germane to your topic or you will quickly become an un-trusted source.

Let’s also not forget that Twitter posts will show up in the major search engines.

Aha! A bonus to your work on Twitter is that what goes on Twitter does not stay on Twitter.

Start out by just learning (listening as the cool kids like to say). Use to learn about your industry, learn about who’s writing about your industry, and learn what thoughts and opinions are surrounding issues that affect your business.

When you feel you’ve started to really know the key journalist and blogger twitterers in your industry, start to connect. Comment on their tweets, their articles, their blog posts. Join in casual discussions and formal chats that they are involved in.

Offer journalists and bloggers tips and information that ‘don’t benefit you’ in the least!

Remember giving should heavily outweigh taking. Then, when you have something you would like covered or need help promoting, you will find that people are a lot more agreeable to retweeting you or covering your event or announcement via their articles and blogs if it makes sense to what they are doing. But of course it will, since you did your due diligence and built your relationships carefully.

Just remember one rule: keep the self promotion to less than 10%. Going beyond that gets you into a territory of being a nuisance and not worth engaging.

Authored by Victoria Harres, director, audience development, PR Newswire.

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