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Creating and Utilizing Media Lists on Twitter

What’s one thing that makes your business, nonprofit, group, club or even yourself successful? Publicity. It’s essential in getting your story, mission, event or news into the public eye. While you may have tried contacting news and media outlets in some traditional ways such as e-mail or phone, there’s is another way that can help you break through to reporters to be heard. Try building relationships with reporters on Twitter. Who would have thought, even just a few year agos, that in 140 characters you could catch the attention of some major news outlets? Now Twitter is the medium that can get you up close and personal with media professionals. Twitter lists can help you focus your efforts. If you’re unfamiliar with what a Twitter list is, check out this great post on Creating the Perfect Twitter Lists to understand how to get started. Once you’ve honed your skills and have become an expert at creating a Twitter list, you’re ready to reach out to news and media outlets and create a relationship.

Here are 4 tips to make your Twitter media lists work:

  1. Focus on reporters and journalists: Although it’s fine to follow big news networks on Twitter, they may get hundreds or thousands of mentions a day. It’s better to focus on the reporters or journalists who do the nitty-gritty work for the station or newspaper. This will require some work on your end. Spend time researching who they are and who would be a good fit to publicize your story. Involved in a concert? Check out who does their music reviews. Hosting a 5K? Find the sports reporter and add him to your list.
  2. Interact before asking: Although I’ve seen many journalists on Twitter who specifically say “pitch me a story” do you really think that someone they’ve never seen or even interacted with is going to be their choice story? Probably not. So spend some time interacting. If they ask a question, answer it. If they share something they want retweeted, retweet it! Obviously don’t go too crazy, but put some effort in to build some trust and a relationship.
  3. Personally invite or ask: Don’t make every pitch to a reporter the same. If they look at your feed and see that three days ago you asked another reporter the exact same thing, that makes you automated and impersonal. Try a different hook for each attempt and personalize it as much as possible. And remember it’s best to spend time getting to know reporters on Twitter, not simply pitching them cold.
  4. Do not be “spammy”: Do NOT hound a journalist relentlessly. Consistently asking day after day gets repetitive and annoying. Instead space it out. Maybe a few weeks up to your event, tweet to them every three or four days.

This being said, even creating and utilizing a Twitter media list won’t guarantee someone knocking on your door, ready to write and report away. It takes time to build relationships with social media. Regardless of if you’re able to snag a story via your Twitter media list, this is one of the most direct ways to contact someone to help with your potential publicity. Photo Credit

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