Nearly 60% of journalists worldwide say they use Twitter, according to Oriella PR Network’s 2013 study, “The New Normal for News.” That's up from 47%, according to the same study in 2012. Expect this trend to continue—and, if you’re a PR pro, expect to spend more of your time figuring out how to connect on Twitter with the influential journalists in your market.
You’ll need a system to take some of the time-wasting guesswork out of the process. Elizabeth Sorrell, digital communication manager for nonprofit organization Audubon, offers a few steps to make your Twitter engagement strategy more efficient.
1. Create a Twitter list that includes journalists you are interested in working with. “I scan this list every day to see what these writers are interested in,” Sorrell says. “We’ve placed stories on Huffington Post and on I F’ing Love Science after engaging with writers on Twitter.”
2. Discover more journalists to engage with on Muck Rack. “If you don’t have writers in mind, Muck Rack is a tool with both free and paid options that allows you to search journalists’ Twitter accounts for topics they are tweeting about,” Sorrell says.
3. Retweet journalists’ tweets. “I had been trying to place a piece on TreeHugger for a long time," Sorrell adds. "Through Twitter I was able to find out that there is a writer there who loves birds, especially birds of prey. I followed this writer and then retweeted her tweet. She immediately responded and followed us back.”
Elizabeth Sorrell of Audubon will be sharing more tips on engaging with journalists on social media at PR News’ Media Relations Conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12. Mark your calendar.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI