Twitter not only acts as a social platform for friends, and strangers, to discuss, comment and rant about anything and everything, it has found its niche as a news reporting tool. As such, public relations professionals often use the network to broadcast news from our clients and to communicate with journalists. Here are some tips on how to integrate PR and Twitter activity.
Always tweet about your business’ news and include a link to the full press release, either published on a newswire or preferably to the news pages of your website – the latter is ideally where you want people to land from a conversion point of view and where you want those links from any retweets to point to. The same goes for any blog posts added to your website; great blog content is often shared, leading to greater traffic to your website, so be creative and add a little bit of thought leadership. Demonstrating your expertise or showcasing your products and their benefits on a blog, and across relevant social media, is a sure fire way to gain customer or client confidence.
Spend some time finding the Twitter profiles of any media publications you would ideally like your business to appear in – national and local papers, trade and consumer titles as well as broadcast. Through following what they write about, and which staff members writes what is most relevant to your business, you will be in a better, more knowledgeable position when talking to them about a story.
When you know the names of the most relevant journalists, search for them to see if they tweet and follow them. You may want to do this from both the business’ profile and a dedicated PR profile – if your communications person leaves the organisation, this guarantees the information collated and relationships built over time won’t be lost. You could introduce yourself through the @reply function or preferably wait until they tweet about something pertinent to your business before making initial contact. If they are tweeting with a link to a relevant article, comment, tell them you enjoyed it or found it interesting because of X, Y and Z (only if you genuinely did) and actions can speak louder than words so remember to retweet what your followers will also find useful.
Some journalists request what they are looking for whilst they are beginning to write a story, so watch out for these tweets and be quick at replying. However, don’t make a nuisance of yourself by putting yourself up for things that are not relevant or, like crying wolf, they might ignore you when your business would fit the bill. By doing a bit of research, using keywords and hashtagged terms for discovery purposes, you should come across some interesting hashtags to follow too. For example #journorequest is used in the UK by journalists looking for specific people or businesses that could add to the stories they are writing @ResponseSource is also a great enquiry service, but you do need an account to see the journalist contact details on the website – why not follow them and decide whether a subscription would be worth it, depending on your type of business.
PR is all about building relationships, communicating why a story would be of interest to a publications’ readers as well as being in the right place at the right time, so why wouldn’t you capitalise on what twitter has to offer if you’re running a public relations campaign?