Twitter: New Age Media Relations Tool

Email after email, phone call after phone call and still no response. Now, more than ever, media are inundated with press releases and pitches. How are PR professionals supposed to break through the chatter?

While traditional media relations strategies are still important and useful, Twitter has proven to be another tool PR professionals can add to the toolbox.

Here are a few key processes to get started.

1. Engagement: Do not use Twitter to @ mention media for one-off requests or product announcements.

For example: Hey @Media1, @Media2, @Media3, @Media4 look at this innovative product from @Client!

This can be flat out annoying to media. Blasting media with links to a press release already sent to them through email is not a good use of your time or theirs.

Do use Twitter to develop relationships with the media. Follow journalists and use them as resources. Tweet them questions, read the articles they tweet, and learn what they are truly interested in. Oftentimes journalists tweet articles they write, as well colleagues’ articles. Additionally, journalists may use Twitter to find a lead for a story, reach out to experts in the industry for comment, or just let the Twittersphere know what they are working on next.

2. Utilize Lists: Many publications have developed public lists of their editors, or industry professionals they often use as contributors. These are excellent resources. Follow these lists to pinpoint editors who may be a fit. If a particular publication does not have a list already built, research and build one on your own. Another option is to simply monitor a search stream that captures industry chatter. Journalists will likely use hashtags and keywords that will appear in these searches.

3. Tradeshow Tweets: Struggling to get media appointments at tradeshows? Try reaching out utilizing the tradeshow’s hashtag (#). For instance, if you are attending #Tradeshow2012, and are utilizing Twitter to “tease” your presence, new products, events, etc., make sure to include the tradeshow’s designated hashtag in your tweets associated with the show. This generates more exposure for your show news.

While tweeting, feel free to ask (in general) if anyone would like to schedule a media appointment, but make sure to include that designated hashtag:

i.e. Attending #Tradeshow2012? @Client is setting up media appointments. Tweet us if you are interested in meeting!

By including the hashtag, the tweet will show up in the #Tradeshow2012 feed/search, which many show attendees monitor for story leads, appointments, and general chatter about the show. We have had lots of success with this simple tactic, and set up appointments with top tier editors.

Excited to get started? Begin by simply following targeted media. Monitor their feeds. See what they are talking about, how frequent they tweet, who they are engaging with, and from there, determine who to contact.

Keep in mind: In the interest of time (you could literally spend your entire day searching through Twitter conversations, talking to editors, etc.), if a particular journalist only uses Twitter as a stream to post articles and never @ mentions or responds to questions, chances are Twitter is not a good outlet to communicate with this media contact. It is still beneficial to keep them in your list or search to reference and monitor, but move on to those who are actively engaging on Twitter.

Have specific questions? Tweet me @RachelKaylor, or feel free to leave a comment here!