For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been planning the media launch for FAIT ICI (I’m a partner in the biz).
The target media for this event and business are markedly different from those I go after in my day job. This time it’s all about foodie, environmental and mommy people, not those covering the health beat.
The launch has been an interesting challenge because I don’t have a tonne of relationships with reporters/bloggers who cover beats relevant to FAIT ICI (though a serious lover of food, I had never pitched a foodie blogger anything before this).
The main event is not until June 9th and we have received ZERO coverage from anyone, but I can say that Twitter has been the single most useful tool for building relationships in a relatively short time.
Social media is more than just the “new cold call,” because it is unobtrusive. Twitter, used correctly, epitomizes this.
It allows a PR pro to get noticed for the right things, demonstrate knowledge of what a blogger/reporter produces and add value to the reporting process all via a medium that is less interruptive than a telephone pitch and quicker than email.
So how should you use Twitter for media relations or to learn about a beat where you have little to no contacts?
Operationally, retweeting or replying to a journalist’s work makes it clear that you HAVE read their stuff. Meaning that you KNOW about what they cover. Lack of knowledge about what someone covers is the BIGGEST reason pitches fail.
Second, Twitter search, hastags and tools like Tweetdeck allow you to see info on a given topic in real time. This means you can add value to reporters’ lives by sharing relevant info with them (again, in an unobstrusive way). For instance, if reporter X has just written a story on the organic farming and I come across a blog post on subsidies to organic farms, sharing it is easy and demonstrates that I care enough to have consumed someone’s content and want to help. Can you do this without Twitter? Of course, but the tools – especially the third party tools – make it simple and very low effort.
Third, Twitter has a number of cultural curiosities that play well for developing media relationships. #FollowFriday is the best example (If you are reading this blog I assume you know what it is but click the link if not). #FollowFriday allows PR people to say to the world “this blogger/journo is interesting and produces content you should consume.” Callouts like this get noticed, demonstrate knowledge of someone’s content and let them know you like it. Even better, it takes ALMOST NO EFFORT TO DO THIS. #FollowFriday has been a boon for FAIT ICI, and has helped us begin to build what may be great relationships with key media players in our space.
Finally, by watching and listening (this means looking at who mentions who, who gets retweeted a lot, who follows who and taking notes) we’ve been able to identify the key media players and tribes. In other words, Twitter has been a great tool for research.
We haven’t executed the launch yet. We could easily be overtaken by events and receive no coverage. However, as a guy who’s done what now feels like a zillion launches, I feel great about this one. Twitter is a big reason for this. So too is time. As with anything social media, the pace of returns is GLACIAL. These channels are inherently slow because they’re “social” (i.e. trust and relationships are not built in a day).
If you’re an entrepreneur and want to increase your chances of media coverage with relatively low effort try some of the above techniques.