With the evolution of Web 2.0 – Web application features that facilitate participatory information sharing and collaboration – into all aspects of our lives, businesses and organizations are harnessing the power of two-way social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and even Pinterest to connect with their audience. The media industry in particular is utilizing technology to connect with readers, viewers and listeners in more innovative ways like smartphone and tablet apps.
For public relations professionals, new technology has also opened new doors to garner information, connect with and even pitch stories to journalists. Here are a few resources we’ve found helpful:
- PressCrowd: On PressCrowd, PR practitioners can share information about journalists. But it’s more than that. The site acts as a media forum, where you can ask anything from who the right contact for your story is, to pitching strategy. It’s based on good karma – the site only works if everyone helps each other out.
- Help A Reporter Out (HARO): One of the most well-known ways to connect reporters with sources, HARO is known for its ability to find specialized sources for reporters in the blink of an eye. Practitioners can sign up online to receive daily emails or follow them on Twitter to get real-time updates on journalist requests. Since HARO emails are sent to such a wide audience, there are a couple of tips that will help your response stand out.
- Whenever you get the HARO email, there are 130,000 other people looking at the same email, so the quicker you respond to a request, the more likely your idea is to be considered.
- Also, reporters are pressed for time, so succinct responses are best. Be sure to list any relevant credentials to establish you as an expert.
- Be careful, though. If you respond to a journalist’s request with an off-topic source or spam, you can be banned from the site.
- OKC News Bureau: If you’re a central Oklahoma PR or communications professional, the OKC News Bureau is a great source to find national opportunities that are hand-picked for our local audience. The bureau is affiliated with The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, so the leads, which are sent via email, are meant to showcase positive Oklahoma news and stories.
- Journalist Directories: Twitter can be a valuable resource to connect with reporters looking to fill last-minute stories or those trying to find that invaluable human interest angle. Some media organization websites have their reporter Twitter handles listed. Otherwise, there are sources like Muck Rack, JournalistTweets, and Twellow that have journalist directories.
With the right research and preparation, traditional ways of connecting with journalists, like emails and phone calls will still work, but who says we can’t let technology assist?