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Using Twitter for Media Relations

There’s no question that Twitter is the new playground for media relations professionals looking to connect with busy journalists and bloggers. It’s a new frontier, that when managed professionally, can serve as a powerful platform for learning about journalists’ interests and preferences. It’s probably one of the best resources to come around that truly gives PR pros the insight they need to tailor pitches journalists will actually want to receive.

There are many articles and posts out there about using Twitter as a public relations tool. I recently stumbled across Bulldog Reporter’s Journalists Speak Out on PR newsletter and have found the content to be very interesting. A recent issue of the newsletter featured an article, “Bloggers Dish Twitter Tips for Building Relationships with Online Influencers,” by Editor Brian Pittman that shed some light on the topic. I couldn’t find a permalink for the story on the site, but wanted to paraphrase a couple of the tips here (you can subscribe to Journalists Speak Out on PR newsletter for free here):

  • Many journalists are open to being pitched through Twitter because it forces PR pros to get to the point quickly – in 140 characters or less
  • It’s easy for PR people to learn what a journalist is interested in writing about if they follow them – and pay attention
  • It’s a bad idea for your first interaction with a journalist to be a direct message (DM) pitch – especially if it’s off-topic
  • The best bet is to show appreciation and acknowledge that you’re following the journalist’s tweets

Of course, the key to any interaction with journalists through any medium is respect. Communicate in a professional manner and pay your dues before jumping in the tweet stream or pushing your agenda. You should always take the time to understand what a journalist is interested in, what type of information they are interested in receiving, and how they like to be contacted through this channel.

Observe how others are using Twitter successfully as a media relations tool by following journalists and PR pros. When you’re ready to jump in, demonstrate that you can be a helpful resource for them and they just might follow you back. And you don’t always have to try to land a placement – you probably have sources and information journalists can use, that may not serve a direct purpose for you today – but you’ll better position yourself for a pitch when the timing is right.

Here are some other good resources for using Twitter for media relations, marketing, and social media:

Want to find some journalists who use Twitter?

A great place to start is the MediaOnTwitter wiki created by Sarah Evans. PRNewser also recently posted A Guide to Twitter Media Lists that includes a roundup of journalists on Twitter.

Later this year, Cision also plans to add Twitter handles to its media database. It’s clear the micro-blogging platform has become the latest and greatest way to find, follow and engage journalists.

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