Using Twitter to Reach Out to the Media and Get Publicity

 

This post is contributed by Margie Zable Fisher, the president of Zable Fisher Public Relations, which specializes in eCommerce and product P.R. and publicity. Get her new free report, 3 Steps to e-commerce Product Publicity, here.

It’s not surprising that media folks use social media for their work. What might be surprising is how often and why they use Twitter. Here are some examples:

  • More than 86 percent of journalists check Twitter several times a day, while fewer than 20 percent use Facebook and fewer than 2 percent use LinkedIn.
  • Nearly 60 percent of journalists use social media to find story ideas, and about half use social media platforms to search for sources.

These statistics and more were recently shared by Greg Galant, CEO of Muckrack.

Find and Follow Journalists

You know how you get a warm and fuzzy feeling when someone follows you on Twitter? The press feels the same way. In fact, 93 percent of journalists said they appreciate it when PR folks follow them on Twitter.

Following the media happens one follow at a time. Whenever you see a story or segment you like, note the writer or producer, and follow that person. You might need to do some research, too. A quick Google search to see which people cover your industry or products can help you make a list.

You can also search for journalists on Twitter by using the Advanced Search feature. Keywords and variations can be used here to find folks covering your products and industry.

Create Relationships

Of course following the media is just the beginning. Working with the media is still about creating and fostering relationships. You need to show them some love. Here are some ways:

  • Comment (favorably) on something created by the journalist, including the Twitter ID of the journalist, which makes it easy for the journalist to see it. We all love sincere compliments.
  • Retweet media tweets.
  • Thank the media for coverage of your product or company.

Do this often, and the media will start remembering you more favorably the next time a publicity opportunity comes up.

Most media folks mention the stories they’ve published in their Tweets. This will help you not only as you craft a pitch of interest to the media (see next section), but is a stealthy way for you to create your own tweets, using similar keywords. This will increase the likelihood that the media will find you as a source.

Pitch Your Story

Once you’ve worked on your relationship with media through Twitter, you might want to pitch a story idea. While you will probably have to follow up with an email (nearly 93 percent of journalists still want to receive pitches via email), this may pique their interest. Just make sure that your idea is the type of story they write or produce. This should be no problem since you’ve researched them and paid attention to their tweets while you were developing a relationship with them.

Even if the person you pitch can’t cover the story now or ever, you’re more likely to get a response, since you took the time to check out and comment on their coverage.

Get Started

You’re probably already on Twitter. By making a few tweaks to your Twitter activities, you should be able to gain the interest of the media. Media interest leads to publicity coverage, which leads to sales, which is the whole point of doing this!

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