The information heavy, ultra-dynamic and fast paced world in which we find ourselves in can make establishing a clear message and getting heard very challenging. Conversely advances in communications methods and technological connections offers up several positive opportunities for effective media relations. One such advance is the explosion of social media, and particularly twitter, in both interacting with and breaking news to the general public. With over half a billion tweets a day sent out, twitter, operating in real time, can often break news stories long before they reach traditional newsstands.
Following some simple tips you can make bet use of various social media sites to boost your media relations and get your word out there when and where it matters.
Build and Develop Relationships
With the wealth of information available for use by journalists it is imperative that you get yourself noticed. The best way to do that is to build and establish genuine relationships with relevant journalists in the appropriate industry. That way you remain front of mind and become first port of call when it comes to looking for stories or opinions on relevant issues.
Familiarise yourself with the journalist’s content, their style of writing and what stories they are best suited to. This can allow you to target any press release pitches more closely. Engage with any and all content they post across social media sites. Get involved in industry discussions and conversations, identifying and making use of opportunities to introduce yourself, explain what you do and showcase the expertise and skills you possess. This will aid in developing lasting relationships and ensure you are remembered when it comes to future news requests. Build a strong enough relationship and it could be the journalist that contacts you first, seeking your thoughts on a relevant news story.
Engage with the Media
Social media is all about interaction and engagement with a wider audience. In order to develop effective media relationships you must interact and engage with them through this media. Showcase your expertise, debate them in conversation and you will begin to be noticed. Share and comment on their materials and ask follow up questions (a lot of articles seek comments openly) and they should see that you have something of value to offer in this area and think of you as a useful contact to have.
Be Genuine – Not Demanding
The social world can see through disingenuous messages laden with advertising and it doesn’t take kindly to it. You must be seen to be genuine and not simply manipulating the social sphere for your own gains. Offering genuine heartfelt comment without an agenda will develop a positive social persona which can lead to future opportunities. If you’ve spend the past weeks and months sharing quality and insightful content, journalists are far more likely tor respond positively to any requests than if you appear out of the blue with demands.
Follow all the necessary social site etiquette and unwritten rules when engaging and interacting socially online. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have different audiences, styles and rules as to what is and what isn’t kosher on their sites. Failure to adhere to these simple practices will paint you as socially inexperienced and you are unlikely to get anywhere with the tech savvy online media.
Above all else, you must remain patient. This can be a slow process but with big future pay offs. Remember that journalists are only human and you are far from the only person sending them information and looking for a story. Always thank the journalist directly for any coverage you receive and avoid any complaints or nit-picking over the accuracies or angle of the story – this will only damage your relationship with them.
Following these simple and clear guidelines will give you a good footing in social media and how best to use it to your advantage for news and media relations.