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| Monday, December 30, 2013 36 Comments
PR & Social Should Be Friends
Relationships often start with less than 140 characters. A cleverly timed Twitter mention or a sly retweet has the potential to sprout a bond – not just personally, but professionally as well. From a PR perspective, finding ways to interact with reporters on a more personal level can be a secret to success – and Twitter can be a great way to do just that.
Working in the rapidly changing field of PR requires media relations specialists to readily pivot their approach to communicating with reporters and adapt to new styles. The following are reasons why PR professionals should stop neglecting their Twitter account – and start using it as an important tool to interact with the media.
They’re Already Active Users
In a world where Facebook feels too personal and LinkedIn feels too formal, Twitter can be the perfect medium to strike up a conversation with a journalist. And according to MediaBistro, 59% of journalists worldwide actively use Twitter.
It’s Their Pulse-Checker
Twitter allows journalists the opportunity to reach out directly to sources that would otherwise be unreachable. Most importantly, it is through Twitter that journalists can feel the pulse of their target audience and stay on the cutting edge of their industry – and breaking news.
Kind Words Go a Long Way
The Internet has unfortunately enabled disgruntled readers an easier (and often anonymous) forum to vent their frustration. Comment trolls are lurking in the depths of online articles waiting for a journalist’s single misspelling, misstated fact, or opinion that doesn’t align with their belief system. On the flip side, you can offer thoughtful responses and insightful commentary to spark conversation through Twitter or via the web. Include the reporter’s Twitter handle to give credit and to make their work feel appreciated.
Create a Lasting Relationship
Journalists are barraged by hundreds of pitches a day filling their e-mail inboxes. Standing out from the crowd requires not only highly targeted and creative pitches, but building a trustworthy relationship with the writer so that they actually open the email you send. Does that mean you should pitch them on Twitter? Probably not – unless there is a breaking news story where you can provide an immediate source. What it does mean is that you should develop an affiliation where he or she associates you with positive feedback or helpful insight – instead of just another pitch.
Low Barrier to Entry
Finally, unless the reporter has a private account or blocks your Twitter handle, the recipient will see all @ mentions from your Twitter account. This means that all well-informed responses have the potential of being seen by the reporter – no more spam blocker.
Building a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the media is the goal of all PR professionals. Fortunately, in 140 characters or less, Twitter has made it much easier to build a rapport. It’s right at your fingertips, so give it a try – instead of always just sending an e-mail.