Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses Part 4

How to Build Media Relations on Twitter

We would love nothing more than to have a book of matches. But we’ll settle for anything that sparks. Those lost in the woods do not always have the luxury of a dry book of matches, just as travelers in the social SEO forest do not always enter with the luxury of existing online media relations. But we’ll settle for a spark, and in the social SEO forest, that spark is Twitter. In part 4 of our Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses below, we’ve offered five tips for building media relations on Twitter:

1. Understand What Is Meant By ‘Sparks’


Many PR professionals are brought up to believe that a story or pitch must reach perfection before it is sent out to the world. It is those who continue to believe this that will be forever building the perfect firepit for a story that will never be lit, while their competitor’s stories burn fast and bright.

Understand that breaking a story today does not necessitate the creation of a 1000-word byline. Stories break in 140 characters or less – and they do so every hour, of every day.

2. Find & Listen


A common theme through each part of our survival kit, modified with a focus on media relations. Just as more consumers are joining Twitter, more journalists are joining Twitter.

In fact, many journalists join Twitter for the express purpose of building relationships with the PR professionals or sources that will help them to later enhance their stories. And those who don’t, well, they’ll be dropping clues as to their interests all the same – interests you can later leverage in any media relations campaign you develop.

The key is to find and follow the right journalists, and listen to what they say and what they need. Then, of course, look to tip three.

3. Share Freely


After you’ve developed the core list of journalists that you will be following in your online media relations efforts, and completed due diligence by listening to their wants and their needs, it’s time to start sharing. And before you even consider sharing with the journalists you are hoping to connect with, start sharing with the network you are curating – by Tweeting content of value, Retweeting, and engaging.

And when it’s time to share with the journalist, begin by sharing little more than an introduction and an invitation to follow you. Of course, by this time, you’ll have positioned yourself as a valuable resource (courtesy of the content you’ve been sharing with your existing network.)

And in the eyes of a journalist who makes his home in the social SEO forest, a robust Twitter feed can transform you from a PR bug worth swatting, to a PR eagle worth following.

4. Be Succinct


You must be able to tell your story, or craft a pitch that will capture the attention of a journalist, in 140 characters or less.

No matter how complex your product, no matter how big your story – there is always a succinct and powerful core that will transform a tiny Tweet into a torrential tale.

And for those in doubt:

For sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
Author: Ernest Hemingway (supposedly)
Character Count: 34

When thinking of how to connect with journalists via Twitter, don’t forget the simple connection that can be made by helping them answer questions. Watch for Tweets from journalists/bloggers, etc and help them. If you are the company providing content, you will likely be the company sourced in the article.

5. Look To Your Tools


No matches? Look to the sparks that emanate from the pounding of stones. No stones? Twist a rope against a stick. No rope or stick? Use glass to concentrate sunlight onto a pile of dry kindling. We could go on indefinitely here, but the idea is that there are dozens of ways to turn a spark into flame.

Similarly, there are dozens of tools that can help your Tweets burst into coverage. The key is to be aware of all the tools you have at the disposal of your media relations campaign. Get started with Steve Rubel’s list Seven Essential Tools for the PR Professional.

In the final part of our five part Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses, we help you master the river that will carry you through the social SEO forest as we show you How to Build PR Value on Facebook.

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