Social Media has changed so many aspects of our lives: how we communicate with family and friends; how advertising gets done; how we find topics of interest through groups; and how news breaks. The latter of all these has allowed events that would typically go unreported or have controlled distribution, to reach the masses unadulterated. Think Iran election and the Arab Spring.
For this reason, 59% of all journalists live on Twitter (read the article on Social Times), looking for trending topics and breaking news. When they find breaking news, they then look for experts they can either interview, excerpt their blog or repurpose an article. They do this by scouring the Internet for blogs of anyone who may be able to add a unique perspective on what is happening in the news. This opens an opportunity to allow you and me to get free PR, by getting the journalist’s attention and providing them with the content they seek to meet their deadline. (Read Journalists Want Your Blog.)
So how do you do this? Let’s take a look at 10 tips which will help you achieve this goal.
Let’s face it, we live in a very critical world. People judge you by the words you use, your height, weight, clothes; the list is long. Well, a journalist will judge the quality of your content by the professionalism of your website. If he or she comes to your website and it doesn’t look impactful, like something they would be proud to link to in an article, then you will lose them.
Your website must be clean, easy to navigate, be pleasing to the eye and have high-quality content that is well written.
A robust blogging presence of no-fluff content will be very attractive to a journalist. Why? When he or she sees you have a consistent flow of good articles, it positions you as an expert in the topic; hence you’re more creditable to his or her reading, listening or viewing audience. Remember, media is about selling advertising. The news division exists to provide a service that keeps people coming back, so the network or newspaper can raise their advertising rates. So they will not use anything that makes them look bad.
If you were a journalist looking to increase readership, viewership or listenership (depending on the medium used) and had to choose between two bloggers with equally high-quality content; would you choose the one with few followers and friends on social media, or would you choose the one with a high-number of active followers? Of course you would choose the one with the huge footprint, because it means likely readers, listeners and viewers for your show or paper. You see, reporters know that when they cite or interview someone who’s on social media, that person will then promote the article or interview through THEIR personal social-media campaign. Therefore, if they have 10,000+ followers/friends/connections among all their social-media networks combined, they’ve expanded their audience. So be consistent on social media!
Today, everyone has their Twitter ID listed on their website. So do a little homework. Find the journalists who report on your topic of expertise locally, regionally and nationally. When they tweet something of interest, engage them. Now, by engage them, I don’t mean tweet, “Great article!” Tweet something of substance that shows you are knowledgeable about what they wrote and appreciate their article.
Create a list on Twitter with just your journalist contacts, so when you need to tweet an article you feel might get their attention, you can do so easily. Moreover, you will avoid having to go through a bunch of clutter from everyone else following you to find that nugget in the stack.
If you want to get the attention of the media, you need to know what the media is looking at. The easiest way to do so is to use what the media uses: TweetDeck.
Once you created your FREE TweetDeck account, you can click on the “Add Column” plus sign in the lower left menu and a window will display asking you what you want to add to the new column. Click on “Trending.” Once you do, a window will popup showing you the latest trends. If any of the topics trending are a topic you can speak to, click on it and it will create a stream showing tweets pertaining to the trend.
Now, not everything may be newsworthy; however, if you see tweets you think may be, now it’s time to act!
You want to write a quick blog about the trending news, from your perspective. Now, by quick, I don’t mean a fluff piece. It has to have a relevant perspective that is well-thought out. Find some sources to back your assertions and cite them. Then post it to your blog page. You can do this in under an hour.
Then post it in all your networks and groups, and tweet it. Make sure to use any hashtag created for the trend in your tweet.
Now this is where you have to be selective. It’s easy to think that ALL the journalists you have in your list would be interested in your article and the current trending news. Remember that when you followed these reporters, you were following all the ones that cover ANY topic you can speak to as an expert. While many topics may overlap, not all will. The last thing you want to do is bother a reporter who does NOT cover the trending topic. To do so may irritate them to the point of blocking you and then they’ll never receive anything you tweet. I’ve created a spreadsheet to make it easier for you to organize your journalists and be able to engage them quickly. Click on the spreadsheet image to download your FREE copy.
This is a no-brainer. You need to be able to know if a journalist is reaching out to you.
Make sure if you get a request, you reply right away. Journalists have tight deadlines, so if they don’t hear from you in 10 to 15 minutes, they will move on to whomever is next on their list.
So there you have it! It’s a simple process; however, it does not mean easy. Simple meaning you can do it, but you will have to put in some work. If you are willing, the reward is worth it. When you consider what it takes to get good public relations today and the cost, to be able to acquire your own while receiving the additional benefits of:
…it’s a plan that will give you a solid e-marketing infrastructure.
So create your plan, take the time to research the journalists you feel report on your area of expertise, organize the contacts ahead of time and put it into action. After all, time is going to pass by regardless, so why not get something from the time, instead of just getting through the time (as Jim Rohn would say.)