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How social media is your biggest PR tool

How social media is your biggest PR tool

While a sex tape is a good way to get media exposure for some; Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and alike - it's not the right way to get the type of media exposure to escalate your business's chance of being written about.

When I first started doing PR, I used to write a media release and fax it to a media outlet - all with varying results. The headline, like it is today, is worth it's weight in gold, and if you have a strong first paragraph, you may get that call back you have been waiting for.

That was soon followed up with 'pitching' on the telephone and depending on what mood the journalist was in or your ability to 'sell' a story to them, you either walked away with a published article or your press release was thrown in the trash can.

In 1998, the faxing part changed to emailing which was fantastic because it was a much faster and less tedious way of getting a media release out to journalists. It also was a much more environmentally friendly way to operate and allowed for changes to be made to ensure that each email sent out to a journalist was a one-to-one marketing piece rather than an everything to everyone, hit and miss style approach.

Now, it's a whole new ball game.

I can directly communicate with a journalist on Twitter or LinkedIn, and start a conversation.

On Twitter, it's a two way street. Sometimes I may write a story and share it on Twitter, directly sharing it with a particular journalist, so that it comes up on their notifications area, or I direct message them. Other times I may choose to hashtag a story that relates to something that they have written about, so when they are looking up sharing results, my tweet comes up. The third way I communicate is by retweeting relevant stories that they have written and shared on Twitter, then making a comment on it. 7 times out of 10, they respond in some way - then all of a sudden your relationship with that journalist has started and you can nurture them all the way to a story.

Linking with journalists on LinkedIn.

On LinkedIn, you can check out what groups they are part of and post interesting stories and commentary in those groups. You may also choose to send them an Inmail, but it is imperative that you are up-to-date on what they are writing about and what stories interest them. Otherwise, its likely that your costly Inmail will end up in the trash can. If you are particularly bold, you may choose to friend request them with a witty comment, or a reason as to why they should connect with you.

Social media has given us huge in-roads into directly communicating with journalists, but be aware - the same PR rules apply. Don't send them information on something they won't be interested in or that they don't write about, and don't bore them with details - that's for the next conversation. And a journalists pet hate, spell their name right - there is nothing worse.

Some sources you may like to subscribe to:

Each day, these platforms list stories that journalists are looking for sources on. The next big story could be yours!

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comments ( 3 )
  • Debby
    06 Aug 2014

    I have read many different articles on utilizing online public relations for business. However I find that most of them usually focused on listening and creating a dialogue with customers (especially in a B2C context). I like the fact that you take the public relations strategy further by utilizing social media platforms to communicate directly with journalists. It is definitely a powerful and effective way to earn media exposure. Also, thank you for the source suggestions!

  • Cheryl
    30 Jul 2014

    Interesting how PR can have so many different impacts. I reckon its almost like a testimonial and a relationship building tool that can impact greatly on anything the media picks up on

  • Sahana
    24 Jul 2014

    This was so insightful!
    Being on Facebook throughout high school since 2007, I have definitely noticed the gigantic change and effect of social media. While the notion of this obsession with celebrities or popular people have always existed throughout time, social media especially after 2007 has given a voice and a new method of contact and reaching out to all kinds of people and institutions. PR now is much more versatile, but also much more difficult.