Twitter. To some, it means keeping track of news, sports, celebrities, and tracking your favorite food truck. To others, it’s just another platform that wastes time. There are also those who aren’t sure what it is and if it’s important. No matter your personal feelings about the microblogging service, it has inserted itself into many facets of or lives. It seems that hashtags are everywhere- even Facebook adopted them in June of 2013.
Perhaps no community has embraced it more than the media. With a few years under their collective journalistic belt, Twitter has evolved into an indispensable tool for many looking to not only connect and share stories, but to find sources and stay abreast of headlines. PR pros have also taken note, and used the medium as an extension of the symbiotic relationship of exchanging information to create compelling stories. At least the good ones have.
So, how can Twitter help land your next placement? First, it’s important to engage. Keep in mind Twitter is a community, and hollow attempts at pitching journalists will often be met with silence. Start by following journalists who cover beats you not only enjoy reading about, but also beats that are related to your clients. By following the conversation (and participating with a RT), you’ll reap the benefits of continuing your own education about the topic.
It’s also important to pay attention. We’ve been able to help journalists who have tweeted a story idea or a need for a source or product. If you can assist, let them know with a reply, and follow up with an email as quickly as possible with more information. It’s also important to pay attention to other topics and be helpful when you can. We recently connected a journalist who was looking for freelance writers with someone looking for freelance work.
Create value. If you find something unique, newsworthy, funny, inspiring, or clever, share it! By actively participating in the community, you’ll be able to make connections and expand your own network.
The moral, as so many of them are, is to use common sense, be helpful and pay attention.