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3 Ways Journalists Use Twitter as a Reporting Tool

Twitter’s stock tumbled after CEO Jack Dorsey reported the company lost $500 million dollars over the last year. Naturally, #RIPTwitter immediately started trending.

But is Twitter really dying?

Journalists don’t think so. According to Cision’s State of the Media 2016 Report, 21.6 percent believe it is the platform mostly likely to grow in value to the media industry, and approximately 40 percent say Twitter is their most valuable social channel.

Translation: communication professionals who fail to incorporate Twitter into their outreach and pitching strategies won’t get the earned media they’re hoping for.

Want to improve your media relations? When you understand journalists’ habits, you are much more likely to appear on their radars, become a valued source and get more media coverage. To help you out, here are three ways journalists use Twitter:

1. Build Relationships

Journalists are less likely to use a quote or story lead if they don’t know who is sending them that key information. So how can you cross the line from stranger to trusted source?

Engage with journalists on Twitter to build rapport and strengthen relationships. Nearly three in four journalists (73.3 percent) claim to use social for this exact reason.

Don’t expect a simple follow to do the trick, though. Share interesting content, retweet their recent posts to your followers or like the content they share. Remember to give journalists a reason to connect back.

Where will the media industry go next? Get our predictions in this year’s report!

2. Monitor Public Opinion

monitor-public

“You can’t deny social media as a way to find out what people are thinking,” says Sarah Arney of the Stanwood Comano News.

Sarah isn’t the only journalist who believes that. The State of the Media 2016 Report found that 64.3 percent of journalists use social media listening.

And Twitter might be the best platform to do this. Journalists, like brands, rely on Twitter to monitor their customers and competitors. The platform’s short-form nature provides journalists high- and low-level views of their stories’ impact and reach, while also shining a light on trending topics.

Social listening tools, like Cision’s, will help you keep your finger on the pulse of social and allow you to provide insightful pitches and story angles to journalists.

3. Find and Build Stories

Do you have news or a perspective to inject into a trending story? Use Twitter to get your ideas out.

While only 20 percent of journalists currently accept public pitches on Twitter, that doesn’t mean brands should give up hope. Nearly 52 percent of journalists said they have used Twitter over the past year to locate and create news angles.

One respondent from this year’s survey states, “During breaking news events, knowing whom to follow can help you find accurate and reliable sources and data faster than any other media source.”

This quote reinforces the need for professional communicators to build relationships. Once journalists peg you as a valuable, reliable source, they will turn to you when hunting for a story or source.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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