How to Engage Journalists Using Social Media

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A recent survey conducted last month by Text 100 Global Public Relations discovered that a significant number of journalists use social media and blogs on a regular basis when researching a business, brand or organization for an article. A total of 72 full-time journalists working in print, online and broadcast media were surveyed and the results found that, on average, journalists look at 2.6 social media channels for every story they research. Given these statistics, and the rapid rate at which social networking is growing, public relations professionals can use social media channels to engage with journalists and reach out to them in an outlet where they’re known to be active.

This article will explain the best methods public relations professionals can use to engage journalists through social media.

Maintain Social Media Profiles — Since reporters may look at several social media channels when conducting research, it’s important that your organization has a positive presence on all of them. By creating professional, thorough and favorable profiles for your business online, journalists will be able to discover the information that you want to be highlighted. For example, use social media channels to display media coverage, upcoming events, company news and anything else that you would like the public to be aware of.

For information on how to get your business active on social media, please see our article, “Getting Started with Social Media.”

Focus on Twitter — An important finding in this study was that Twitter is the best social media channel for public relations pitches and media relations. The survey found that journalists are far more likely to welcome contact on Twitter rather than LinkedInGoogle+or even Facebook. Public relations professionals can use Twitter to connect with reporters by seeking out their profiles and “following” them. Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with journalists and pitch stories, business news and upcoming events. Of the journalists surveyed in this study, 53% found that a company’s Twitter profile was instrumental in their research when writing an article.

For an overview of how businesses can use Twitter, please see our articles, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing” and “Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses.”

Create a Blog — Blogs are also an increasingly important venue to attract media attention. According to this survey, 63% of journalists found a company’s blog to be extremely useful in their research. By creating and maintaining an active blog, your business can establish itself as an industry leader and nourish an interactive hub of information about your organization. Businesses should provide useful information and quality content that relates to your organization and industry as a whole. For more information on how important blogging is for brands and businesses, read our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?

It is also important to keep in mind that while social media is becoming increasingly important, journalists still value press releases and phone conversations. While the media is increasingly turning to social media and online outlets for information, they still rely heavily on these more traditional methods of contact when covering a story. These social media techniques should be used to supplement press releases, media advisories and other traditional communications outlets.

For more information about engaging with journalists using social media, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.