The way we read the news has changed. The rise of citizen journalism has meant that now anyone with an @ handle can report in real time from breaking news events, spreading the word faster and to a wider audience than any reporter with a humble notepad could dream of doing.
This shift has meant that we’re now hungrier than ever for current content that’s seconds old and instantly accessible. However, this doesn’t mean that anyone on social can capture the attention of the media.
PRs still remain the number one resource for journalists to obtain news, so there’s no reason why social media shouldn’t be used as a method for industry professionals to have a say in what makes the headlines, as well as Joe Bloggs at the local derby game. In as much as journalism has changed with the rise of social channels, so must PR change, and communication between the two.
In a recent webinar by Cision, we learnt that Twitter was the top social media news source for journalists thanks to its professional yet personable nature, with LinkedIn following suit although only really working when sending a direct message to a journalist you’re already connected with.
Facebook, perhaps not surprisingly, wasn’t recommended for pitching to journalists, so there’s no need to hide all the pictures of your night out with the girls just yet.
Along with this information, we’d thought we’d share some of our top tips for pitching to journalists on social media:
Use dedicated hashtags such as #PRrequest or #journorequest to increase the exposure of your newsworthy content.
Take time to do research and find out what’s already been said about the subject. No one’s interested in old news.
Contact journalists directly if you know their @ handle. They’re humans too (no, really) so think of them as individuals; the sports writer will be interested in a scoop straight from the big game, but perhaps not the fashion editor.
Pair social pitching with other methods. Whilst social has its place, email is not lost for what can’t be said in 140 characters.
Hard sell. Social media is not, and never will be, a direct sales tool. Create a conversation with those you want to reach to get them engaged.
Become a tweet-bomber. We all know them, those accounts that send the same tweets to numerous profiles in a hope they’ll get some interaction and pick up. Be tactile, not desperate.
Use your personal account, coming from a recognised account, such as one associated with an email you’ve contacted a journalist before, will add authority and authenticity to the content and make follow-up for images and extra content easier.
To find out more about pitching to journalists on social media, drop our PR team an email at PR@interdirect.co.uk.