There are so many journalists out there that finding the ones who might be interested in your business can be a challenge. While there are lots of media databases and consultants that can support your PR goals, there’s a free tool you might already use that can be a huge help: Twitter. Here are a few top tips on how you can use Twitter to help when doing your own PR.
Follow the right people
Twitter can be a great tool for keeping track of the publications and journalists that are most relevant to your organisation. When you find a media title or a writer that covers relevant topics to you, follow them and maybe add them to a specific list (see below). By seeing them in your feeds regularly, you can get a good idea of what they’re writing about, what makes them tick and generally get to know them. This can be really helpful when you come to pitch them.
The great thing about Twitter is that it’s all about conversations. You can build up relationships with journalists on Twitter by responding to their posts and joining in conversations. Then, when you do see the right opportunity to pitch, they may already be aware of you and remember your name.
Make a list
I don’t know about you but my newsfeed on Twitter can be hectic. I follow so many different people that seeing all their tweets come in can be a bit overwhelming: there are so many, it’s hard to read them as they fly past let alone keep track of things to reply to or follow up on. Creating lists and setting up a specific column for them on TweetDeck is a useful way of streamlining this and keeping on top of things. For example, you might want to separate out news organisations, key journalists and sector-specific contacts (whether that’s marine conservation, travel, parenting or whatever is relevant for you).
The hashtag #JournoRequest is one you need to know about when doing your own PR. Journalists will use #JournoRequest when putting a call out for information or a case study they need for a story. So it’s as great way of finding out what journalists are looking for right now and pitching them if you have something relevant. In the States, they also use #HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
As you might imagine, there are a lot of Tweets which use these hashtags. It can help to set up a specific search relevant to your business. For example, I keep an eye out for: #JournoRequest AND sustainability; #JournoRequest AND case studies; and #JournoRequest and environment, among other things. Setting up a specific column on TweetDeck with these searches means you can see them pulling through on your feed. You can then see from a quick glance if anything relevant has come out.
If you do see a journalist is looking for something on Twitter that you can help with, make sure you follow any directions they give on how to pitch. I often see a #JournoRequest which clearly states “email me outlining XX, YY, ZZ” which then receives lots of responses saying things like “Cool, I’ve sent you a DM”. As a writer myself, I know how frustrating this can be. I usually ask pitches to be sent via email because that’s where I can keep track of them more easily. When I receive direct messages on Facebook, they often go into my ‘message requests’. I miss them or lose them among all the other notifications.
If a journalist specifically asks you to get in touch in a particular way – whether it’s sending an email, a DM or just replying to their tweet with your website – it’s because that’s the best way for them to gather, track and filter through all the pitches that come in. So please do as they ask. In many cases, doing something different will minimise your chances of success. The writer will prioritise people who followed their instructions or, might miss your pitch because you sent it to a different place.
I hope you enjoyed these quick tips on how Twitter can help your PR efforts. If you have more questions about doing your own PR, feel free to book a Power Hour or Ask Me Anything session.