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Media Relations: Twitter Edition

November 8, 2010 1 comment

Web 2.0 technologies have made for practitioners to stay connected with constituents in new ways. Today’s audience is journalists.  In my first post , I discussed that the key to getting  bloggers to put your information out there is to build relationships with them.  For journalists on Twitter, this remains the same.

Robert Burns II, of Social Media Today says to think like a journalist,  become familiar with them, engage them, to build relationships with them, and to be patient.  The first step is to have them become aware of you. This involves subscribing to them and becoming familiar with what the journalist shares on a regular basis.  Read their Twitter feeds and blogs if they have them, and post useful comments.

Next, Burns says to engage them. The easiest way to do that is it use an “@ mention” in an authentic and relevant manner.  Delve deep into their stories, and offer unique and valuable information to them.   Another point he makes is to build a relationship with them when  you aren’t necessarily looking for a direct benefit. It appears more authentic, and it will help you out when you do need them. Be patient Robert says. Understand that journalists are in fact people too.

It’s always important in life, no matter what situation, to appreciate the perspective of whoever you are communicating to.  Burns mentions this in his article about relations with journalists via twitter, citing this post by Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer.

In it, Falls highlights points for journalists to consider when dealing with social media.  Falls notes that social networks and wikis are not the most reliable sources for serious journalists.  He wants reporters to realize time constraints, but participate in community discussion as well. Jason says reporters should be aware of local tweets as well. There are more, but by realizing these and the other issues reporters deal with, practitioners can better communicate with journalists.

Using this information, respecting journalists’ time limitations, understanding their location including what/where they write about, and providing reliable information can help reporters build a more meaningful relationship with you so that you and your journalist can enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.

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Let’s Braid! Journalism?

Citizen and traditional journalists are being woven around corporate strategy.

This post is all about braiding, so get your daughter, spouse, or best girlfriends over to read this, and get ready for some fun! Ok, you may not need to do that, but if they are interested in companies ‘weaving’ together citizen and traditional journalists into their PR plans, then you may want them to read this anyway.

Braiding, or braided journalism, is the concept of  citizen and traditional journalists’ roles becoming interlocked to fulfill some common need.  This is the definition Valeria Maltoni offers in her article describing the practice.  It generally involves embedding journalists in a company to write stories on its behalf. She believes that this can be very beneficial. By adding third party opinions to the company, the organization gains more credibility. It offers more consumer and non consumer opinion, it adds perspectives from researchers and experts, and it provides an entire story about a subject instead of just a quote to the media to just name a few advantages she lists.

What exactly does that mean? Shel Israel, who is commonly attributed for coining the term, gives examples in his post on the topic. One of them deals with Hoopgurlz, a blog about girls’ basketball started by a former NBA reporter. The blog gained popularity and received sponsorship from ESPN.  The typical citizen journalist role has turned into a professional one due to ESPN’s involvement.

One of the most impressive examples of this is The Power to do More site by Dell.  It’s composed of articles written by hired journalists on topics involving the company.  Shel recounts his experiences with Dell as one of their freelance reporters hired to write about its projects.  They were briefed by employees from Dell and were asked to pitch their ideas to Dell about potential article topics that the company was to approve. Assignments were given out to the journalists, and the reporters were asked to submit their stories to Dell’s PR department, which would also have the final say on the articles.

Shel  notes that he was skeptical of having the PR department edit his own words, but he was pleasantly surprised by Dell’s job. With both parties seemingly being satisfied by the results, braided journalism appears to be a potentially effective tool in public and media relations.

Categories: Journalism Tags: ,
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