July 13, 2016
/ by Susan Guillory
Years ago, the only way to reach a journalist was to call, send a letter or stalk her in person. Now, thanks to technology (and restraining orders), we have much easier ways to connect, including social media.
Today’s journalist is social media savvy. In fact, two-thirds of journalists use social media daily. Some share their own content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest. Others scour the sites for news to cover. And still others find their media resources and experts there.
If you’re trying to get on the radar of journalists, social media could be your best bet.
To answer that question, you have to know who you’re trying to reach. Some industries as a whole have a high social media profile (breaking international news), while others, not so much (oil and gas). If the industry is being social, likely the journalists will be as well. But you’ll have to dig for specific journalists to see if they’re spending time there.
Some journalists are still old-fashioned and haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon. It’s important for you to do your homework to see if the ones you’re trying to reach are there before you wage a full-on social media pitching campaign.
If you find that the journalists you want to connect with are indeed on social media, you’ve got lots of work to do before you even make contact. First, follow them. If you’re on Facebook, set their updates as priority so they stay at the top of your news feed.
Next, spend time observing what they share. Maybe they put out the subjects they’re working on and ask for experts to weigh in; maybe they don’t. They may instead focus on sharing news in their niche, and you can still learn a lot about them by reading this content. It tells you what they’re interested in. If you want to pitch someone who covers automobile technology and a reporter keeps sharing articles about CrossFit, it’s not a good match. Find someone else.
Begin sharing the journalist’s articles as it makes sense. Comment if you’ve got something intelligent to say (and skip it if you don’t).
This may seem to be a super simple step, but don’t rush through it, because it’s the only chance you have to get that journalist to add you to her list of contacts. Start by engaging directly in conversation. Bring up a point about one of her articles and hope she’ll engage in dialogue with you. Make your shares of her content visible by tagging her in those updates.
After you get some response from her, send a private message with a brief (and I mean brief!) introduction. Let her know you’re an expert on X and if she ever covers it, you’d love to be contacted for a quote or opinion.
That’s it. I told you it sounded simple, but it’s deceiving. Because once you do this, you shouldn’t reach out again and ask if she got your message. Of course she did. But she might never respond. And that’s okay. Just continue to comment on and share her content and be there in the background. When she needs you, she’ll remember you. And then you’ve reaped the reward of your efforts.
Images via Pixabay: 1, 2
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