a/ To post link to their articles in perhaps a more engaging way than current media web sites
b/ To access up-to-the-minute news, announcements and conversations from the institutions or people they follow
Over the last few weeks, I have been experimenting with Twitter myself, as a way to reach journalists, from both national and trade publications. These are my key learnings:
1/ Quite a few journalists are on Twitter and this number is growing rapidly. MuckRack gives you a list of who is tweeting. Not surprisingly there is a fair representation of US national media such as the NYT, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.
2/ However some journalists have a protected account (they will need to accept your request to follow them), signed up once and have not posted anything since then, or worse do not actually post at all
3/ Now on the other side of the equation, as an institution or individual, Twitter can be used to either disseminate news to journalists and as a established channel for crisis management. Remember when Domino’s pizza management posted a video on youtube to respond to a stupid (but popular) video attacks from 2 employees? Well along the same lines, Twitter can be used to quickly intervene in a similar situation
4/ Some smart institutions and/or journalists out there use Twitter as a way to gather what soon will be called V.O.F., or voice-of-the-followers. As institutions/media struggle to understand they customer language, Twitter is a fantastic way to datamine all these conversations and identify buzzwords and trends.
5/ It is hard to use Twitter efficiently as a channel to reach top media. It is even harder to estimate the influence of a particular tweets
6/ However most current metrics that can be used to measure the ‘impact’ of a tweet are:
- number of click-though (see my previous post on bit.ly and it powerful metrics)
- number of re-tweets
- how some tweets generate new followers request
7/It is also difficult to measure the influence of the journalists that follows you. They can be influential but it does not necessarily mean they will read your tweets or have a positive attitude towards what you are saying. Some more grassroots bloggers/columnist may actually be your best allies in reading and re-tweeting your press releases (or other announcements)
8/ Twitter is just an additional channel, to complement media outreach, newswire, press conferences, web, blog activities etc … so far its influence might be overestimated.
9/ This being said, it is growing quite rapidly. I was talking to the CEO of a large SEO agency in NYC and he envisioned Twitter becoming a leaner, more frequently updated search engine.
10/ We are all experimenting with Twitter and it is just difficult at this point to assess its potential to journalists. But I don’t personally think it’s a fad and believe most individuals and institutions should take a closer look at it.