Posts Tagged ‘building relationships’

How to Engage Journalists and Influencers on Social Media

Friday, December 13th, 2013

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

by Alfred Cox*

Yesterday I attended the PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., at which BurrellesLuce was also a sponsor. Some of the most persistent questions in media relations center on reaching out to journalists in the most efficient and effective manner.  I attended the session “Find and Engage With the Right Journalists and Influencers on Social Media,” which addressed these issues and more.

The sessions guest speakers were Kathy Grannis, senior director of media relations at National Retail Federation; David Ringer, director of media relations at National Audubon Society; and David Wescott, director of digital strategy at APCO Worldwide.

Grannis started out with her suggestions, and emphasized the importance of building relationships with journalists and influencers; she recommended keeping in touch through Twitter, to reach out and congratulate a journalist when they move organizations and positions. Such communication not only sustains a relationship but helps you stay on top-of-mind. Of course, communicating is key, but Grannis stressed that learning how to communicate correctly requires full-time dedication.

When it comes to relevant conversations on social platforms, Grannis recommends contributing transparently, positioning your brand as an expert on the subject matter. But Twitter is also about more than your message; Grannis point out you should be using Twitter to keep up with your competitors and what they’re tweeting, as well as what they’re publishing on other social media sites.

Finally, she advocated blogging. Content marketing has become integral to marketing, PR, and media relations strategies, but Grannis also pointed out that blogs are a tremendous source for getting your statement out there, and even stated getting your message out in your blog is just as important as getting your statement in The New York Times.

Ringer offered his insights next, and pointed out that too much email is boring. He said that Twitter is the best tool to interact with journalists, and that it’s important to find and engage with the right journalists and influencers on social media platforms. He strongly suggested following new journalists right away, and thinking of Twitter not as your personal account, but as your new Rolodex. The list-making function is a great organizational tool to make that happen.

Ringer suggested that once you’ve selected those key journalists and influencers, you should care about what they care about, even their more personal tweets, and interacting with those more personal tweets, and retweeting their tweets, helps build a relationship. But he also pointed out that everyone likes a name check on Twitter, so be sure to credit people for their work by @ing them.  And don’t limit yourself to interacting with well-known, established media figures; befriend those bright new media stars, too.

Wescott followed with his observations, saying that Twitter is the best tool for PR people, and that they must have a presence. Something else that enhances your presence is having Twitter public conversations as well as private conversations, which also helps build relationships that will get new business.

Wescott advised that Twitter and blogging are excellent tools for presenting yourself as a thought leader and a bridge builder between PR pros. He also advocated for citing sources with @s, as well as using hashtags for context and engagement. Wescott recommended finding journalists not just on Twitter, but also on sites like LinkedIn and Muck Rack.

What other social media strategies do you have for engaging journalists and influencers?


Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox

Getting “Lost” in Social Media Means Living and Dancing Together

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

by Emily Mouyeos*

Image: ABC
Image: ABC

Being a huge LOST fan, I was completely dialed into the finale, processing every detail and scenario that played out in the past six seasons. One thing that sticks out most to me is the mantra from the character, Jack in the first season: “Live together; die alone.” I’ve been thinking about this idea and the importance of community in both our personal and professional lives.

I think it goes without saying that it is impossible to do business “alone.” We should not be put off by the fact that people have an agenda because everyone has an agenda and varying motivations. However, there is a dance that we participate in together and that dance has to do with creating and maintaining healthy relationships. You have to learn the steps so you’re successful in these business relationships. Just like the lines of one of my favorite country songs by John Michael Montgomery, “Life is a dance, you learn as you go, sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow.” Learning to balance give and take is key!

I love how Twitter mirrors this idea. Twitter can be used solely as a platform to amplify announcements or deals. But Twitter also teaches us the basics of building relations in a simple way, so that we are “living together.” We can reap the benefits of Twitter as well as help others succeed, if we follow the steps or “rules of social media” that have been organically instated. And who doesn’t feel good about that! Let’s take a look at some of these rules and see how they guide our business relationships on a broader scale.

  • Be transparent. As already stated, everyone has an agenda. I can respect someone who clearly states their intentions, but if I don’t know what they are up to then I don’t trust them. People want to be in a relationship – whether online or off – with people they trust. If you can’t be transparent then you’re probably not being ethical. It is possible to be both strategic and transparent at the same time. Transparency may even be your strategy. (It’s a good strategy these days!)
  • Engage and add value. I think every story I’ve read regarding social media lately is drenched in the word “engagement.” People like to connect with smart, insightful people. Potential clients will be more likely to work with you if they feel you are truly an expert in the field.
  • Talk human. Don’t be afraid to show some personality. Plainly said, potential clients want to work with people they like and can relate to. If you sound like you are reading a sales pitch or press release there isn’t much personal appeal. In my opinion, Eric Mower and Associates provides one example of using “talking human” on their homepage as a strategy for branding and business relations.
  • Share the love. If someone is providing great information and thought-provoking commentary, share it! Practice the, “Pat my back and I’ll pat your back” mentality. It may seem selfish but it’s just smart. But remember you become a problem and detriment to yourself when you become self-absorbed. Acting selfishly will cause you to “die alone” professionally and personally too. So go ahead and share the love!

Have you found that Twitter is helping your business relationship building skills? Have you learned other lessons from Twitter regarding making solid connections with potential clients or colleagues? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


*Bio: Emily Mouyeos joined the BurrellesLuce account management team with a background in nonprofit communication and development. Her background and current experience with BurrellesLuce allows her to effectively address client needs and consolidate feedback for senior management. To Emily, nothing feels better than helping others achieve their goal, whether it’s professionally or personally.  By focusing on client management through the Fresh Ideas blog, she hopes to evaluate new client management trends, as well as provide insight to the pros and cons of current practices. She looks forward to connecting with the readers of Fresh Ideas for new perspectives and dialogue on issues that affect overall success. LinkedIn: Emily Mouyeos Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce


Membership Has Its Privileges

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Last week, my colleague, Tressa Robbins, reviewed some ideas for PR resolutions. She referenced a post by Charlotte Schaff, who is looking to get more involved in her local PRSA, which made me wonder why people take the time to join a professional organization? My own personal thoughts aside, I queried my network on why they join professional organizations, and what are the advantages. Considering the economy, why are they paying their dues? (Full disclosure, I am a member of several organizations, and the current president of Washington Women in Public Relations.)

The top advantage cited by everyone was networking. Lauren Lawson, Goodwill Industries, met her future boss at an accreditation event. Lawson told her of her goal to work at a nonprofit. They kept in touch, and her goal came true. You need to look at networking as building relationships. Lawson’s advice, “It helps to be persistent (without being annoying), look for likeminded individuals or people you’d like to achieve to be and also offer help when you can to that person. You never know what inside knowledge you have that might be helpful to someone else.”

Anne Lasseign Tiedt, APR, Momentum Public Relations writes, “I joined the Austin AWC professional chapter my senior year in college. The instant connections and access to networking opportunities helped me land my first job.”

For anyone who travels or has moved cities, a professional organization can be a life-line, offering activities and a network of people with similar interests. I experienced this when BurrellesLuce  first moved me to Washington, D.C. a number of years ago. Some of my best friends were found at professional development seminars.

In the video below, Robin Lane, ZComm, explains why being a part of a professional organization is important.

Enhance Business and Learn About the Industry
Networking can lead to new business opportunities as well. Beth Keller Legate, Image Base, joined IABC over 12 years ago to drive new business, and she has remained a member because it worked.

Organizations give members an opportunity to learn more about the industry and relevant topics through panels, speakers, events and conferences. Melissa Chang, APR, has found PRSA’s Travel and Tourism Conference to be helpful, and she especially enjoyed a “lightening round” pitching session one year. 

Opportunities to volunteer run ramped.  Independent writer and editor Richard Buse says, “I think the greatest benefits I’ve gained have come from volunteering. There are lots of great workshops and seminars out there, but I find that I learn much more through the hands-on experience I get from volunteering for various chapter functions.”

Meghan Sager, New Media Strategies, explains how membership in a professional organization recently helped her career:

Your needs may change as you progress through your career. Jeff Ghannam, Biotechnology Institute, commented, “Ten years later (after joining PRSA), the chapter now offers me something totally different. It gives me the opportunity to explore and enhance my leadership abilities… This service on the board has allowed me to enhance my people management skills, public speaking ability, and my ability to organize and delegate, just to name a few benefits.”

Additional advantages:

  • Resources and publications.
  • Learning new relevant information and tactics
  • Meet potential partners
  • Network of resources for questions
  • Job boards
  • Mentoring programs
  • Friendships

While there are many benefits to joining a professional organization, you may wish to exercise caution and do some research before committing to a membership. Consultant Robin Smothers says, “One thing to keep in mind is to make sure the organization will meet your needs: I wanted to expand into a new industry a few years ago, so I plopped down $200 to join a organization I thought was a good fit. Turns out that although the people were nice, they did not have the power to hire or even offer recommendations to those who did hire.”

 And Meredith Mobley, marketing communications coordinator and PRSA Hampton Roads board member, reminds us that “with any membership, it is what you make of it.” Simply attending events, is not enough, you need to get involved.

Why have you joined a professional organization? Please share your thoughts on making the most of membership.