Did you know that you can use the social media websites to get the attention of the news media? Well, I’ve been using Twitter for quite some time now to get the attention of the news media–by pointing out possible stories after I’ve networked with them on the social sites.
With one local client, a local Dallas hairdresser, I used my social media influence to get the attention of local news personalities. I simply tweeted a possible story with a link to a local on-air personality, and their news station ended up covering the story. Granted, I had followed, retweeted, tweeted, and corresponded with this local news personality for several months’ prior to actually tweeting to them about a possible news story. But that networking, using Twitter, eventually paid off. And, most importantly, the news personality doesn’t see me as someone who is simply wanting to pitch them story ideas.
Another possible story, one that is more recent (in fact, it’s ongoing right now as I post this blog post), is my breaking of the news that Google has created a new website, something that they don’t usually do. In fact, I am struggling at the moment to think of at least one website other than Google.com that is owned by Google. Okay, well, Freebase is one. Schema.org is another. But when Google creates a new website on a new domain name they usually just create the new “site” on Google.com, maybe using a subdomain like Adwords.Google.com that then redirects to another page on Google.com.
But, nonetheless, I discovered that Google registered the domain name CookieChoices.org, and I followed the progress. First, the domain name was delivering a page where you could search on Google. Then they took that down. But then this week, totally unannounced, they put up a new website on the domain name, helping website owners tell their users about cookies on their website, something that is now a requirement in the EU.
Surprised that no one, no one in the news media except me (well, I consider myself a blogger, not news media) wrote about Google’s new website. So, after posting about it, I did my usual contacting with the news media/journalists and reporters that typically care about these sorts of things. But what started the snowball that’s now happening? A simple tweet to a tech journalist that I’ve been connected to for over a year now:
I blurred out the name of the actual journalist(s) who were involved here, but you get the idea. I simply tweeted a link and a statement about a possible news story, my blog post about Google’s new website. So, what happened?
This journalist retweeted my tweet to her. Then, the traffic started. I watched my real-time stats, and saw visits from PC World, Dow Jones, and even The Guardian. And a whole slew of others, who visited and read my blog post, some of which were from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as even some financial analysts.
What was disappointing, though? one of those who visited ended up writing an article of their own about the subject: they had just read my blog post, seen the tweet, and wrote an article and posted it within an hour. With NO mention or “hat tip” or link whatsoever to my blog or to me. Nothing.
So what’s my point here?
– Network with journalists, reporters, and news media pros, even TV personalities in your local TV market. Tweet to them, retweet their tweets, and even “talk” and “respond” with them. Do this for several months, and keep it up. One day you’ll need a ‘favor’, and if you’ve already talked with them and they know who you are or at least recognize you then you’ll be able to do what I did: give them a hot news tip.
– You can use Twitter, Facebook, and even Google Plus to network, socialize, retweet, comment on, and get to know these people. Because they’re real people, just like you and me, with Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus accounts.
– Care about what they’re posting. Comment on it.
You don’t have to track down someone’s email address and send them an email when you’re trying to ‘pitch’ someone. You don’t have to rely on sites like HARO that may or may not help your media outreach efforts. In fact, don’t rely on sites like HARO, just do the media outreach and “pitching” the old fashioned way: by networking with the media via Twitter and social media.