Building strong connections with local bloggers and journalists is crucial for your business. Once you have a press release to issue or some important local event to spread a word about, you’ll always know who to pitch the news to.
However building contacts in the fast-evolving atmosphere of mass media is very challenging. Journalists are known to have lots of contacts. How to stand out? Here’s a great tip: use social media to find and approach them.
Twitter is already a well-known and widely-spread tool and, despite being overused, it has not lost the ability to help you build solid contacts.
1. Find Local Journalists on Twitter
Twitter search is a good tool to filter results by location. It’s "near:XX within:XX" search operator can work wonders for finding people who tweet nearby:
But how to identify journalists among them?
Here’s a good tool to help. With it, you can search people by their bios. Here are the steps:
- Identify powerful local and hype- local newspapers;
- Use the name of the newspaper in search results to find people who mention they are working there.
Easy and fun!
Here are Twitter users working for "Dallas Morning News" for example (Make sure to run your search from "Keyword" tab of the tool):
Here are more free tools like that: 3 Tools For Twitter People Search
2. Stand Out
Building contacts is one thing. Maintaining them is a way different and difficult task. Make sure you are committed to making these social media relations work: tweet and retweet your contacts, answer their questions – be helpful and useful.
Starting a hyper-local blog is another great way to draw journalists’ attention to your business. Blog on important events nearby (even if they are not about your business) and become an important source of information. The hyper-local blog by this Dallas real estate company is a great example.
3. Organize Your Contacts
I hope you enjoyed our tip on finding local journalists and columnists on Twitter. Now, here’s another precious idea for you: if you plan working hard on finding and making local connections, don’t forget the most important thing: organize, organize, organize.
You want to have the full list of your contacts to make it easy to approach them when you have news to share. Excel is a great but time-consuming tool. For Twitter contacts we have a better option: Twitter Lists.
Use Titter Lists to store and track all your local social contacts. You can have a separate list by newspaper name, topics they tend to cover, etc. – the more specific you go, the better!