Have you ever wondered how you could get up close and personal with journalists?
Wouldn’t you love to know what stories they’re working on so that you can jump in there and give your ‘expert opinion’ on a topical issue? Wouldn’t it be great to see when they are looking for a case study or an example of a specific business so that you can put yourself forward? Wow, what an amazing thing that would be, you’d never be stuck for PR opportunities again, would you, it would be so easy?
Well I have some amazing news for you. You already have this. Right there on your computer or phone. And it’s free. Yes, I know, how awesome is that?
What am I talking about?
Yes the same 141 character social media platform that you either love or hate, it’s not a trick question.
The thing is that virtually every journalist and editor uses Twitter. For them it’s a real time snapshot of public opinion. They can ask a question and get an immediate answer. They don’t have to put in the phonecall or the desk research to find a certain type of business, or to get a soundbite on an economic situation or news story. They put it out on Twitter and see what comes back. And you have access to them.
So how are you going to use this shiny gold nugget of marketing gold I’ve just given you?
Let me make a suggestion.
Make a list of the publications you would love a mention in, whether it’s trade press, locals or nationals. Do a search on that publication’s website and most times you’ll see a contact page telling you which journalists cover which topics, and usually their Twitter ID is there too – this means you can identify which specific journalists you want to build a relationship with.
And you DO need to build a relationship because you can’t just jump on people (virtually) and harass them into mentioning your business. Just imagine how you’d feel if someone did that to you! You need to get to know them a little by watching what they tweet and what they tend to cover. Retweet them if they are asking for help. Congratulate them if they write a great story. Reply to them if they ask for something you can help with.
As with any relationship it might take a bit of time.
They are only human and they are just doing their job. They need to know you’re credible and not some strange stalker person they’ll never be able to get rid of. Just take it slowly and get to know them. Once you know them and they know you, they are much more likely to approach you or keep you in mind when they need an expert. And it’s as simple as that!
Go make a list of the publications you’re interested in now. Start with local or trade press as you’re much more likely to be featured but don’t discount the big boys, even the Times needs contributors!