Why Social Infusion is the Secret Ingredient to PR Magic
As a publicist, I’m often asked what my secret ingredient to PR magic is, which always makes me feel like a super cool witch or voodoo swamp queen. That every day at work, I brew the ultimate PR potion from a number of ingredients that I’ve grabbed off my shelf of mystical PR products.
A pinch of hustle. A shake of humor.
A sprinkle of bad assery.
I think if PR was that concise, it wouldn’t be rated one of the most stressful career paths, now would it?
So what IS my secret ingredient to PR magic? The answer is simple: a mad splash of social infusion.
And saying abracadabra before hitting send on any pitch. Just for good measure.
Get Media Wins While Walking Your Dog: Seriously
Alright, so for clarification, there are a number of things we consider to be media wins. The obvious being media coverage. The most highly celebrated and sought after win in the PR industry. But there are other wins worth noting (and celebrating) such as finally getting a response from a journalist or outlet that’s notoriously impossible to reach or making a genuine connection with a media influencer that will likely result in the aforementioned golden egg: media coverage.
When it comes to connecting with journalists, Twitter is a fantastic way to become a blip on their radar. Every week, I identify 5-10 articles by journalists that I know I’m going to be pitching in the coming weeks. I then schedule tweets promoting these articles using Hootsuite to go live at various times during the day throughout the week. Next thing you know, you’re out walking a dog and a journalist you’re trying to land is favoriting your tweet. Winning!
PS: While it’s easy to be tempted to use the auto-generated tweet suggestion you’re provided, say no to temptation and come up with your own instead. Throw in an emoji. Add your thoughts. Tell them they’re awesome. Your tweet is FAR more likely to get their attention this way if you’re being unique.
Effortlessly Become a Thought Leader
Once you’ve discovered the power (and value) of scheduling tweets, it’s time to take this hands off approach in becoming a thought leader too. In addition to identifying journalist’s stories to share on Twitter, find your own articles to share that are industry related and make YOU look like a fancy know-it-all. In a good way, I swear.
For many of you reading this, your industry is likely PR, so start scouring the likes of PR Daily, the Agency Post, and even Inc. and Forbes to find interesting and insightful articles about the PR world. Add a few of these to your daily scheduled tweets pipeline or share on LinkedIn to show your followers that you’re active in the PR discussion.
Again, don’t be lazy. Tag other industry experts (or even the writer behind the piece) to keep the discussion going. Encourage others to weigh in or share their experiences. You may or may not just learn a new trick or two in the process.
Social Media is the New Email
Sometimes I think about the days before it was totally acceptable to pitch on social media. I think about that awful feeling when you couldn’t find a journalist or influencer’s email address. The dread. The fear. The anger that you simply weren’t good enough to crack their email code no matter how many variations of their name + company or name + gmail you tried.
The good news is, since the rise of social media as a major communication platform, everything I just said in the above paragraph is way passe. Can’t find an email address? Reach out to a journalist on Twitter. Ask what the best way to contact them is. Send along a DM. There’s numerous ways to get the information you need from the media on Twitter - just do so respectfully and always be brief. Just because Twitter allows DMs to be longer than 140 characters doesn’t mean you should write them an essay.
Keep it short and sweet. Get their contact info and move it along to email when it feels right.
Publicly Declare Who You Admire
Every PR pro has a journalist wish list. That five, ten, fifteen, or more journalists you desperately want to impress or to cover your startup or client. They’re kind of like the media celebrities we all wish we knew, but we’re not all that lucky. The good news? Unlike Brangelina, journalists and coveted media folks aren’t actually that hard to connect with.
One great way to get on the radar of some of the biggest and best journalists? Well, there is the obvious move of sharing their content. There’s also the less obvious, but equally powerful hack of including them in your own articles and content. A few years ago, I wrote a post for the Onboardly blog where I interviewed journalists I admired and asked them what they were most thankful for at Thanksgiving. A few months later, I asked what their biggest pet peeves as journalists are. In most cases, nearly everyone responded or got back to me.
So how did this work to my advantage? I gave them some of their own media attention, but it was also the beginning of a really perfect media relationship with them. Did I go pitch them right away? Of course not. But I continued to nurture the relationship on social, helped them when I could, and eventually when the timing felt right, I sent a pitch their way for consideration.
Will it guarantee you media coverage? Of course not. But it will sure get you closer than you were before.
Always Be Making Friends
Last but perhaps the easiest: always be making friends with the media. It’s now easier than ever to stay in constant touch with journalists, share their content, and engage with them every single day on platforms like Twitter. Use this to your advantage.
Step One: Know who your existing media friends are and keep them. Create a private list of your favorites and try to interact with each and every one at least once a week. Share their content. Congratulate them on big wins or new articles. Chime in on their discussions.
Step Two: For those journalists you don’t know, there’s no time like the present. Create another private Twitter list of the journalists you’re targeting and start getting to know them. While I wouldn’t recommend being too aggressive, retweeting their articles, or engaging with them when appropriate is a great way to start.
The point is. If there’s any magical solution to creating PR magic, it’s building the relationships you need to have in order to get the media wins.