The merging of PR and social media
Social media has changed the public relations and media landscape — and how coverage is earned.
This isn’t new news. However, it still amazes me when clients call me up and say, “We want to be on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine.” Or, “Get us in front of Kathie Lee and Hoda.”
Let me break this down for you a bit. To be effective in public relations, you have to build relationships with reporters, bloggers and influencers — and that takes time. Just in the past week, I participated in three Twitter chats, spent hours researching influencers, set up lists through Twitter to monitor these bloggers/reporters/social media influencers, engaged through retweets, direct messages and blogged, blogged and blogged.
As PR practitioners, we need to engage over social media to be noticed by those we want coverage from and that takes time and commitment. In fact, it takes so much time and constant awareness that it is easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of the Twitterverse if you don’t define a strategy.
Internally, we have these discussions a lot on how we can build a process to support a media outreach strategy.
Here is the process I use to be most effective utilizing social media to reach out to influencers and reporters. This process has helped us garner coverage in national outlets and a slew of online publications and blogger platforms.
Define client influencers — research, research, research. A well-known outlet like the “Today Show” or Entrepreneur magazine might not be the right fit or deliver results to your client, but a mommy blogger with 20,000 loyal and engaged Twitter followers will. Keep in mind, PR should fit into an overall strategy that supports lead generation or sales for your client.
Find out how to contact them. Set up a spreadsheet that outlines their physical address, social media handles, email, etc.
Add value, then ask. Before you pitch them or ask for coverage, build a relationship with them over social media. Share their content, engage in a conversation, read their content!
Get on their radar. Participate in Twitter chats, build lists, follow hashtags, profile them, comment on their articles.
Target the little guys to get to the big guys. If there is still value in coverage in Entrepreneur magazine, then build the buzz first with the blogger community and smaller media outlets. If a larger outlet sees that people are talking about your client, it will be easier to pitch.
Build a custom and targeted pitch by understanding their audience and content
It can take months to get results, but it will happen and educating the client happens before step 1.
What we do isn’t magic. It takes dogged determination, serious stalking skills and 24/7 effort.