According to media database Muck Rack's State of Journalism 2022 global survey, more journalists value Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit and TikTok this year than the previous year, which should not be surprising. An average person in the UK spends 148 minutes on a smartphone a day and The UK has the second-highest smartphone penetration rate in the world at 78.9%. So how PR professionals use social media to connect with journalists and place more bylines?
How to reach journalists
Increased social media use by journalists emphasises the importance of using social media for thought leadership opportunities and promoting new reports and products. Participating in industry discussions to showcase your active community participation is another excellent way to use your social platform. Sharing updates often can help journalists keep you top of mind when looking for a subject matter expert (SME) or a qualified research report or data points.
The research shows that last year 62% of journalists reported they track how often their stories were shared on social media - and in 2022, they predict that number will increase to 64%. If your company has been mentioned, featured, or quoted in a story, ensure that you share and promote it. It's also good to remind employees to share important coverage if you're not already. If a journalist sees that you're consistently sharing their stories, they may be more likely to work with you in the future. This becomes a beneficial relationship both ways: your company gets more exposure, media opportunities, and overall coverage, and journalists can count on your company and employees to promote and amplify their work.
Well over half (60%) of journalists consult a company's social media when reporting, reinforcing the importance of a strong social media presence. Look at your company's social pages and consider the following:
- Do you have a high-quality/high-resolution profile photo or logo?
- Do you post regularly?
- Do those posts consist of a variety of content, including self-promotion (blog posts, coverage, thought leadership, webinars, awards, campaigns, new products), industry insights, holidays, relevant trending events/news and fun content (when applicable)?
- Do you have updated links and company info?
- Are you engaging positively with people who comment?
Ensuring that your social pages, posts, and profiles are up-to-date, engaging, educational and relevant helps journalists when consulting your social profiles during the reporting process. It keeps you relevant as a reliable source.
The report also noted that 71% of journalists said connecting the subject to a trending topic makes a story shareable. Anytime there is an opportunity to connect or comment on a larger news story or trending topic (if relevant and applicable to your industry and expertise), take it! Your thought leaders or SMEs may be able to provide helpful commentary or a fresh perspective. I'd also suggest including reports and relevant data (where applicable) that may contribute to a significant event, which can help your company secure stories and gain shares across social media, which again is a win-win for both you and the journalist.
The State of Journalism survey interviewed 2,547 journalists in January 2022. 64% are full-time journalists, editorial writers, or bloggers, 19% are full-time freelance journalists and 12% create journalistic content but supplement their income with other work. 32% have been a journalist for 20+ years. 25% have been a journalist for 10-20 years. 21% have 6-10 years of experience, while 5% have 1-2 years of experience. 74% of journalists primarily report in online formats. Of those, 41% report online (with a print edition) and 33% report online (with no print edition).
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