Want to be seen as ‘the expert’, want more media profile and visibility? If so, and you’re not using Twitter then you are missing a trick – because so many journalists are using it each and every day.
There are many ways to use Twitter to get noticed, get found and find and connect with precisely those journalists who want to hear from you. But, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or how to go about it, then it can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So, let’s get started on making the most of Twitter to get you on the radar of the journalists who want to hear from you.
I’ve mentioned this a few times in blog posts and it’s a quick and easy way to find relevant journalists. Use the hashtag #journorequest to see what journalists are looking for. You can do much better by using keywords alongside the hashtag that are relevant for your niche. It’s then a case of identifying the relevant opportunities and making contact. There’s only so much you can do with 140 characters so you’ll want to move the conversation off Twitter as soon as possible.
2. Journalist interests
But, don’t just think of the hashtag #journorequest in terms of specific opportunities that you can jump on. Also, use it to help you identify interest areas for journalists that give you insight. A specific media request may not be the right fit for you but if it highlights that a journalist is interested in something related to your niche then they could be a useful contact to track and connect with further down the line.
3. Other hashtags
Journalists use hashtags to search out experts, information and views on topics. So, it’s a good idea to ensure that you ‘label’ your tweets to make them easy to find. And, you may well find that your target journalists use particular hashtags. If so, then make a note of them because that is all useful information – you can really start to get a feel for what interests them and how you can help them.
4. Your profile
Many journalists will head on over to Twitter to search for an expert. They will type keywords into the search bar just like you and I do and when we want to find information, relevant people or the conversations around a specific topic. So, think about the keywords in your profile and whether you are making it easy for journalists to find you as the expert in your niche.
5. Breaking news
It’s become increasingly common for online and broadcast media to refer to conversations on Twitter. So, if you see a relevant breaking news story then head on over to Twitter and check out what is being discussed. And, if you have a view to share then do so but use the hashtag that’s being ‘attached to that news story so that it can be picked up by any journalists scanning responses.
These days, the journalist’s job isn’t just about finding the stories, reporting on the news, getting information and insight from experts. A new role has been added – to share content. Media outlets want people to access/read their content and so journalists use Twitter and other social media platforms to promote their content. They want more eyeballs on their content. So, that gives you a great foot in the door. You can get on their radar by sharing their content and commenting on it too.
7. Twitter lists
If you’ve already identified a number of journalists covering your niche, and who you want to connect with, then set up a Twitter list to keep them in one place. This will enable you to more easily review what they are tweeting and what they are interested in. It makes it easier for you to connect and engage.
And, another way to find journalists it would be useful for you to connect with is by tapping into other people’s lists. Think about who already has a profile in your niche – collaborators, competitors any relevant PR companies. Check out their lists on Twitter and you may well find lists that give you useful contacts.
And, use search engines too for lists of journalists posted on websites. Check this out for a list of UK business journalists I found with their Twitter handles. It’s always worth hunting around to see if someone else has already done the hard graft research for you. Why re-invent the wheel, right?
And, finally, finding the right media contacts on Twitter is just part of the puzzle. You then need to connect and engage with them. But, don’t rush into it and shove your pitch down their throat. Take your time to monitor what they are tweeting and find ways to add value – by sharing their tweets, commenting, responding to their questions, helping them find sources. This is a slow burn not a mad rush to the finishing line.
In a nutshell: Twitter is a great way to find jouralists who want to hear from you but you need to watch and listen first so you can connect and enage with them in the right way.
How have you used Twitter to find and connect with journalists?
Debbie Leven is a PR Coach who works with small business service providers to help get them noticed on and offline – to help them build their visibilty, their brands and their businesses.