Engaging and pitching reporters via social media can be a tricky thing, and it is something I’ve largely avoided simply because I was not sure how to go about it. So, I recently participated in a PR News webinar titled “How PR Pros Can Engage with Journalists on Email and Social Media.” The session was very informative and I learned that knowing how to connect and engage with reporters on social media is a very specialized one and not really for pitching. It is more about relationship building. Here are my key takeaways from the webinar.

  • Social Role! The role of social media in engaging with reporters is best seen as a tool for relationship building, not pitching. It is really more for connecting with reporters on a deeper level. Think about your friends. The closer you are the more touch points you have with them. The same is true with reporters. Roll-out and enhance your relationships with social over time.
  • Maintain Contact. Social is a venue that enables you to maintain contact with reporters even when you don’t have news. It is a great way to share information and news you see that may be of interest to them. You are adding value in an easy, social way.
  • Initialize Contact. Social is a great tool to use to introduce yourself as the new person representing a company among the key reporters that cover the market or industry. Use it to say a quick hello, offer invite to grab coffee (if logistics allow) or offer a trial or incentive.
  • Private Communication on a Social Platform. Consider creating a private account that journalists can follow. Use this channel as a private area reporters can turn to for industry information and news.
  • Twitter Lists. Create lists within Twitter according the various groups you pitch on an ongoing basis and use this as a news feed. Share data and news as appropriate.
  • Use social media to create casual get togethers with reporters. For example, contact them via Twitter and invite them to coffee or for lunch while at an industry conference.

Other tips for engaging with journalists via social media include:

  • Follow prominent journalists in your industry and like and retweet their posts on social
  • Monitor the articles key journalists publish and promote them on social media
  • Share stories with your internal subject matter experts and have them promote
  • Look for partners who can also amplify story and be willing to do the same in return
  • Make sure your Twitter handle is being used and is verified
  • Share stories on LinkedIn just like you would on other channels
  • Leverage LinkedIn to promote your subject matter experts. Journalists consider LinkedIn profiles to find experts to speak with – keep these up-to-date!

The newest tool in the media relations arsenal is social media. But it is all about building relationships versus pitching. What other tips do you have about using social to engage with reporters?

Pam Flores

Pam Flores

Pam is adept at fostering relationships with respected thought leaders and influencers. She has 20-plus years of experience in social engagement, media and blogger relations, thought leadership, community building and copywriting.