6 Twitter Tips for Building Relationships and Generating Media Coverage

    by Pamela Vaughan

    Date

    July 6, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    news The following is an adapted excerpt from our new, free ebook, " How to Use Twitter for Business: An Introductory Guide " for 2011. Download the full ebook here .

    Are you aware that many journalists, reporters, and bloggers make themselves available on Twitter? It's true! In fact, Twitter recently published " Twitter for Newsrooms ," a guide for media folks that includes resources on how to use Twitter to find sources for stories more quickly, how to tell better stories, and how to increase reach for their work.

    For marketers, using Twitter can be a great way to introduce yourself and your company to the media. But how do you find the influencers in your industry on Twitter? One way is to look for influential blogs in your industry (using blog search engines like Technorati), subscribe to them, and start following their authors on Twitter. Another way is to start following journalists who target your industry.

    Twitter Tools for Finding Influencers

    Here are some helpful tools you can use to pinpoint the influencers and media professionals covering your industry:

    1. Tweet Grader: Tweet Grader is one of HubSpot’s free marketing tools that can help you find the top Twitter users by location and also measure the online authority of a particular user.

    2. Muck Rack: Muck Rack is a free website that enables you to search for and locate journalists by source (publication) or by beat (topic).

    3. JournalistTweets: JournalistTweets is a free site that curates tweets from journalists and allows users to filter journalists on Twitter by industry.

    Once you've identified and started following some of the key influencers and media professionals in your industry, start tweeting with them, but don’t oversell your business or product. Develop relationships by tweeting about an article of theirs you enjoyed reading or ask how they feel about a particular topic they specialize in. Sometimes reporters will also use Twitter to broadcast that they’re seeking subjects or sources for a particular story they’re writing. If it’s a fit for your business, reply!

    So in what specific ways can you take advantage of Twitter for media relations?

    Tips for Using Twitter to Build Relationships With Media

    1. Develop relationships with reporters, bloggers, and other media professionals through Twitter. Reporters and big-time bloggers are incredibly active on social networks, especially when gathering information for stories. Use the resources mentioned above to find media people on Twitter, and start connecting with them!

    2. Watch/search for tweets about editorial opportunities. Because of the real-time nature of Twitter, it’s a great place for media professionals to look for last-minute, additional resources for their stories. When following bloggers and reporters on Twitter, keep close track of their tweets and scan for any opportunities.

    3. Share tips to other resources. It’s also a great idea to send reporters tips and links to other resources simply to be helpful and improve your relationship with them, even if the tip isn’t specifically regarding your company. They will be thankful for your help and will be more likely to use you as a reference when the subject is applicable to you!

    4. Share your content and company news when appropriate. Once you've developed a good relationship with a certain influencer, share a link to content that represents your business, its culture, and what your brand is all about. Did you just write an article on your blog about some important company news? Tweet a link to an appropriate journalist who covers a relevant topic.

    5. Direct Message reporters instead of sending them an email. By sending a Direct Message, you are forced to create a short, concise pitch that a reporter is more likely to read. Also, direct messages are very casual, and some media folks prefer DMs to email pitches. In addition, it will save you the time it would normally take to write a lengthy pitch (which isn't recommended anyway!). Remember, you can only DM people if they follow you back. But be careful not to pitch too much; it's easy enough for them to unfollow you, making it much more difficult to connect and putting you on their radar as a spammy pitcher.

    6. Use Twitter to check in before pitching. Check to see what the person you’re about to pitch is up to before contacting them. In the event that the person is sick, having a bad day, or away traveling, it may be best to contact him or her at another time.

    Relationships Lead to Coverage

    It may take some time to build lasting relationships with bloggers, journalists, and reporters, but the ultimate payoff is worth it. PR coverage and the buzz it generates can be a rewarding and beneficial asset for a business, adding credibility and providing third-party validation for your company and brand.

    In what other ways can you build positive relationships with the media on Twitter ?


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