5 Ways to React to Journalists on Twitter Beyond a Compliment

Engaging journalists on Twitter is one of a few good PR tips for standing out from the masses clamoring for their attention. Once they recognize your name, it’s more likely they’ll open your email when you send them a story idea.

You can set up a Twitter list of key influencers to follow. Services like MuckRack make this easier with vetted search results and automated alerts.

Once you get a feel for their Twitter personality, then you simply reply when they tweet out their newest work. If you’re new to this, a low-risk way to start is with a specific, sincere compliment. But that loses effectiveness after the first time.

PR Tips: Five more approaches for engaging journalists on Twitter:

  1. Offer a third-party resource. Send relevant breaking news in smaller/niche outlets or substantive piece from an analyst or researcher. Other possibilities are good white papers or slide decks someone else did.
  1. Tell how you are sharing their work. Beyond retweeting and favoriting, post the link to your online newsroom or share in your email newsletter. And let them know! Alternatively, share with your execs or experts and include their opinions in your reaction.
  1. Ask a question. Journalism curiosity: “How did you get that interview before everyone else did?” Or subject matter expertise: “Now that [recent development], what do you think [large player they cover] will do?” This approach is the most likely to earn a response and possibly start a dialogue.
  1. Mention what you are seeing that’s similar. Validate their work with additional support. Not to get ink (they already covered it), but to strengthen your relationship. “Our annual survey also showed more law firms are paying attention to succession management.”
  1. Propel their piece further. Instead of suggesting something they already know, offer a source or resource that could spark a follow-up story. “When you’re ready to revisit these new regs, I’ve got an acct who's concerned abt effects on tax returns.”

There are nuances to doing this right, but like most PR tips, the most important factor is being consistent. Make time to engage these key influencers now and you’ll see the return on that investment in the future via higher response rates to your pitches.

This article was originally published on February 18, 2015

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