How To Connect With Reporters On Twitter

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With each passing year, the are newer ways to connect with the media. The world of media relations has become more confusing because no one really knows what the best methods of communication are; it’s all personal preference.

One method that’s becoming increasingly accepted is Twitter. In fact, nearly 60 percent of reporters use the site, according to Oriella PR Network’s 2013 Global Digital Journalism Study. This is up from 47 percent in the last year. Additionally, the number of reporters who would choose social media as their first choice has increased significantly in 2013.

Because so many more reporters are using social media than ever before, it’s time for communications professionals to take advantage of the opportunity. We need to start using Twitter to form relationships with these reporters. Here’s how:

Make your profile attractive.

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure your profile is a good representation of you. Clean it up and make it professional. Twitter allows you to upload a profile image, write a description, and include your location and website. Don’t leave any of these details missing because they are all important for forming connections. It’s also a good idea to have a simple color scheme, header photo, and background reflecting your brand.

Research specific, relevant reporters.

Once you’ve reevaluated your profile, you can start to look for journalists. Do your research and find the profiles of actual journalists, not just the publications where they write. Follow reporters who cover all the relevant topics to your company or product. For example, in the HR industry, you should follow reporters who write about HR, recruiting, career development, employment trends, etc.

When you start to find these journalists, create Twitter lists to keep track of them all. You can use these to easily check in on what different reporters are interested in and what they’re currently writing.

Build a relationship before pitching anything.

Now you can start getting to know the reporters you found. It’s really easy to build relationships with people on Twitter. You can retweet some of their tweets you find interesting. They’ll start to recognize your name from being notified of your retweets.

You can also reply to their tweets with thoughtful messages. When journalists post about story ideas or ask for feedback, take advantage of the opportunity and engage. Answer questions and comment on their stories. If you provide value, journalists will want to follow you back.

Now you can send a pitch.

If you’ve created a solid relationship with a reporter, you can finally use Twitter to pitch stories. Like with all other pitches, you should be thoughtful about who you pitch and why you’re pitching to them. Keep each journalist’s audience in mind and target them strategically.

Never send mass pitches to every journalist you follow. Instead, aim to send pitches through direct messages. After all, social media is a public forum and reporters will be annoyed or offended if you don’t treat them like individuals. It’s probably best to keep your pitches to the length of one tweet (140 characters). Any more and it doesn’t belong on Twitter.

It’s very simple to use social media to connect with journalists. Now that the majority of them use the site regularly, it’s important to take advantage of it. You need to check off each of these steps if you want to be successful. Clean up your profile, do your research, form a relationship, and send your pitches. If you’re not using Twitter already, you’re missing out.

What tips do you have for connecting with reporters on social media?

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