There are a few cardinal rules of media relations; in particular you must know what is newsworthy and to whom you are pitching. A great way to try and get a feel for the personality of the journalist to whom you’ll be sending your pitch is to follow them on Twitter. By following what material a journalist chooses to tweet and retweet, it is easier to get a sense of their interests and what they cover so as to better tailor your pitch to them.
However, you can’t just follow a journalist and immediately expect them to be running your news releases. You have to pay your dues a bit before you can expect them to help you out in return. The best way to make that happen to is to engage with them on Twitter but don’t push your agenda upon them until you have had some good solid interaction.
There are many online resources that allow you find journalists on Twitter, specifically:
Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a social media service that aims to “To heal the rift between journalists and publicists, to allow journalists to find the sources they need, while allowing sources to reach journalists in a SPAM-free, socially-connected way.” Essentially it is a forum for journalists to find quote-worthy experts and for PR pros to post their pitches.
Powered by Cision, JournalistTweets makes all the tweets in their database of journalists searchable. Also the site is designed so that you can tweet directly to a journalist when using it, without even having to go through twitter.com. This site allows you to reap the media relations benefits of twitter without needing an account. Though as a PR professional you should definitely have one. They “provid[e] a real-time snapshot of what thousands of reporters, editors, bloggers and broadcasters are discussing in the areas of business, technology, lifestyle/entertainment and health.”
The main point of Muck Rack is to “[verify] the journalists on social media who do the muckraking for major media outlets and [analyze what they say in real time, Muck Rack delivers a glimpse of tomorrow’s newspaper to you today.” They list the Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Quora, Google+, LinkedIn information for thousands of journalists. The content is analyzed by a group of editors and they send out their findings in a daily email called the Muck Rack Daily. The email focuses on the “tweetworthy” stories that are trending amongst journalists. I have Groupon and Living Social too, the last thing I am trying to do is allow more spam into you inbox. However this “daily deal” seems to be pretty good. Anthony De Rosa, Social Media Editor at Reuters, said, “There are a lot of daily digest emails out there, both curated and automated, but @muckrack continues to be the one I learn the most from.” You can subscribe to the email, here.
There are many benefits from following journalists on Twitter and too much potential to expand your networks, go take advantage of the Twitter advantage! You will improve your media relations skills and be a much better public relations professional as a result.