Is your day-to-day job trying to get journalists’ attention? Do you have trouble finding the right ones, keeping track of them or building relationships?
If so, you might like some best practices from the people behind Muck Rack, a platform specifically for connecting PRs and journalists. It comes from Sawhorse Media who are best known for creating the Shorty Awards. After the first edition they realised how many journalists were using Twitter, which led them to develop their niche platform.
Natan Edelsburg, VP who helps run the business, shared some ideas for PRs who know that mass emailing journalists doesn’t work any more but aren’t sure what does. And follow The Muck Rack Daily for more tips and news.
How are PR and communications professionals adapting to social media?
One of the interesting challenges we see is that a lot of individual PR practitioners aren’t sure how they should be using Twitter. It’s well understood how important Twitter and other platforms are. But many PRs whose job it is to build relationships over time with journalists, and over topics with clients, haven’t been sure what to do. A lot of the feedback we get is, “I don’t have anything to tweet about – what should I say?”
So we’ve been helping them to see that they don’t need to tweet to be on Twitter.
Now many are realizing it’s a resource as much as a place to broadcast, and we can help them adjust. They’re seeing the benefits of not having to broadcast, but of listening to journalists at the right time.
What other challenges do PRs face in connecting with journalists on social media?
Time. With all the new outlets, it’s difficult to find time to do everything without losing sleep. One way to adjust is to do move some of the relationship-building away from going to events and do it on Twitter.
Make sure you’re retweeting the articles that the journalist says matter the most. Comment on them or let them know you like their work. Journalists want more followers, and to be known by their social bylines so they appreciate tweets and comments.
How can PRs leverage Muck Rack?
You can start by using our free directory. We’ve organized over 10,000 journalists from newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites, TV and radio stations by their Twitter accounts. You can browse the database, or search by publication or by name of journalist.
The database tells you who the most followed journalists are, who’s been the most active on Twitter, and which of their stories are the most tweeted about.
Secondly, there is the newsroom. This is where you can see what journalists are tweeting about and what stories are trending. It gives you a good snapshot of the news.
Those are included in our free version. You can dig down even more using the tools in our PRO version, which is a subscription service for PR professionals. You can search journalists based on beat, or search all the tweets in our database for any term or hashtag. And when you find the term you’re looking for, you can create a media list of those journalists.
There’s also our weekly Twitterchats with the hashtag #muckedup where we discuss topics to do with journalism and PR, like how to pitch journalists.
Once you have that data, what’s the best way to pitch journalists you’ve found?
It’s really about building relationships with the right journalists to improve the way you pitch them. Instead of just mass emailing journalists who cover your topic, like tech or media, we want to help you reach out to the ones who have mentioned specific topics, or your company, or your competitors.
How do you make sure they are real journalists?
We track all the journalists’ tweets. Then we have a team of editors who make sure the database is robust. We always wanted it to be 100% trustworthy. Journalists have pages and we link to their social media profiles.
Who’s using Muck Rack so far?
A combination of larger agencies and individual practitioners from brand PR teams. We have a ton of customers who are individual consultants. They don’t want to invest in an expensive tool but want to be on a level playing field with everyone else.
You say that Muck Rack and Paper.li complement each other – how does that work?
Muck Rack can show a PR professional all the places a journalist mentioned their client or an event they ran. But I’ve recommended they use Paper.li to go beyond just tracking the information, and as a way to give the client a report of all the pieces of content that appeared. It’s a great way to present that information.
And what does Muck Rack do for journalists?
Apart from giving them visibility, they can learn from how their peers are tweeting. Picking up best practices helps them get extra exposure. Even some of the most popular journalists don’t always have tons of followers, so it’s a way for them to be discovered on Twitter.
Main photo shows Lee Semel, Muck Rack CTO/cofounder, and Jeremiah Malina, lead developer.
Did you find this article helpful? Or not helpful? What else would you like to know about connecting with journalists or with PRs? Ask a question or leave us some feedback below.