Organizations and Stakeholders


Using social media to build relationships with journalists

At my internship at Frederick County Government in Maryland, one of the valuable lessons my supervisor stressed to me was about media relations. She introduced me to the local reporter that covers the county government news whom she had been working with for some time.

As corporate communicators, journalists are key stakeholders. Though some people argue newspapers and other traditional news media are becoming a thing of the past, reporting news itself is in absolutely no danger. Journalists are not going away, they are just writing different media.

We corporate communicators are still counting on pitching journalists to share information about our company. Now, we can use online resources, such as social media, to build a relationship with journalists.  We have the opportunity to give them valuable material to make it more likely that they will talk about our organization in their stories, online or otherwise.

In a previous post, News organizations using social media, I discussed how news organizations are using social media to report the news. If they’re using social media, we can make it easier for them by giving them material that is easier to work with.

What do journalists want?

Part of building relationships with journalists is consistently giving them credible information they can use. Online journalists want rich content and multimedia to post on their news and social media sites. Here is a list of things we can pass along for a journalist to use:

Social Media Release Template.

Social Media Release Template. Shift Communications.

  • Photos
  • Graphics
  • Quotes
  • Video
  • RSS feed
  • Links
  • E-mails of experts in the company

Remember, we want to make the journalist’s job of compiling information as easy as possible to make it more likely that they will talk about our organization.

How can we send this information to the journalist?

We can use our own company’s website and social media sites to post valuable content and make it easily searchable for journalists to access. Our sites can include online news rooms where we link to past releases and multimedia about our company. For individual story ideas, we can send the media a social media news release that is almost exactly like traditional news releases but includes multimedia such as b-roll, audio, and images pertaining to the story. We can use to post the social media releases such as online wire services pitchengine. We can also use our organization’s social media to pitch bloggers. Journalists can scan our Twitter page with links to our news and easily pick up story ideas.

Building a relationship with a journalist is key

In PR and corporate communication, the most valuable element of our work is being human. Our communication is still based on personal contact. Being conversational, though still professional, will aid our credibility. Journalist will know they can come to you for quality, relevant information.

For more tips on pitching to journalists online and building relationships, check out Christine Kent’s blog post “Eight Ways to befriend Journalists Via E-mail.”

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