Building relationships with the media is important to the success of your PR activities. By getting to know journalists and what they write about, you can improve your chances of successfully pitching to them. When a journalist is familiar with your business and what you are an expert in, they are more likely to come to you with a media opportunity. Most journalists are now on social media and use this channel to share their work and comment on issues of interest. By looking at a journalist’s social media profiles and posts, you can get to know what the journalist is interested in. You can also see when journalists post media call-outs which can increase your chances of gaining a media opportunity. You can start conversations with journalists on social media to raise their awareness of your business and help them to get to know you. Here are some tips for building a relationship with journalists on social media.
Follow key journalists
Start by following key journalists in your industry on key social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. LinkedIn is also a good channel to connect, though most journalists will only accept your invitation to connect if they already know you or can see how you will benefit them. Therefore, when sending a LinkedIn invitation to connect you need to remind the journalist of your previous contact or give them a compelling reason to connect with you.
Follow media outlets
Many media publications will have their own social media profiles, such as Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. It’s a good idea to follow or like media publications in your industry. This is a great way to keep up to date on the latest news as well as see the types of stories they cover.
Twitter allows you to organise your followers into separate lists. This can make it easier to view recent tweets from particular followers. It’s a good idea to create a list of journalists to help you monitor their tweets and look for media opportunities. If you only look through the normal Twitter feed you may miss some tweets.
Comment or like journalists’ posts
Commenting or liking a journalist’s post is a great way to start a conversation with them. Your comments should be relevant and add value to their post. You can also consider asking them a question to start a conversation. If you comment too often or don’t post useful information, the journalist may become annoyed, which can damage your reputation.
Quick response time
If a journalist communicates with you on social media they will expect a quick response. If you don’t respond as soon as possible you may miss out on a media opportunity. Showing the journalist you can be easily contacted and are willing to help them with an issue is a great way to build a relationship with them. This means you need to regularly monitor your social media accounts and respond promptly as required.
Share media coverage
By sharing media coverage you will help raise the profile of your business and of the journalist. Journalists are grateful when their work is recognised and shared. If a journalist has posted a link to an article they’ve written about your business you can share it on your social media profile. You also have the option of posting the media coverage yourself and tagging the journalist or media publication. Your post will then be visible on the journalist’s profile, which increases the reach of the post.
Maintain good manners
Remember to always be polite and respectful on social media no matter who you are communicating with. Don’t write rude or negative comments even if a journalist wrote a less then favourable story about you. By maintaining good manners on social media you can build a great reputation for your business and help to create a good relationship with journalists.
Pitch via social media
Once you have built a relationship with a journalist on social media you may be able to pitch to them via this channel. This may involve sending them a story idea via a direct message on Twitter, LinkedIn or other channels. You can make the pitch more personalised by referring to something they have posted recently, showing them you are interested in what they have to say. You may also choose to tweet them links to relevant research or blog posts for story ideas. Pitching via social media will be more effective if you know the journalist is regularly active on social media. If the journalist hardly checks their account they are likely to miss your opportunity. By following these simple tips you can start to build a relationship with journalists on social media and improve the effectiveness of your pitches and PR activities.