Business Reporters are Paying Attention to You Again with Twitter

By George Whitely, President, Stephan & Brady,

@BridgetCarey Curious…when is the first look at the new studio?

Striking up a conversation with key local, regional and national reporters has become as simple as those 10 words on Twitter. That was the first Twitter conversation starter our Public Relations team had with the Miami Herald Technology reporter, Bridget Carey.

Her response: “Well it could be as soon as Tuesday, if all went well with my review video. Still haven’t seen the edited piece yet.”

Back in the day, last year, this conversation never would have happened. Reporters covering their beat were overwhelmed with weeding through a daily onslaught of e-mail. And using the phone? Reporters didn’t have time to pick it up. Today, those same reporters are turning to Twitter to get quick and timely information about specific businesses and industries to write about.

It’s difficult enough trying to open the communication door with a business reporter you’ve never contacted before. They normally have their sources and stick with them for their information. But Twitter has changed all of that. We’re seeing outreach successes with @ColonelTribune (Chicago Tribune), @SunTimes (Chicago Sun-Times), and even @Pogue (David Pogue, New York Times technology columnist) all because we’re engaging the media with short and interesting news about clients.

Why does Twitter work for marketing a business? We believe the media is taking the time to read Twitter updates because it hardly takes any time at all. Twitter updates are so short (140 characters or less) that reporters and editors (get this) actually READ them. If it peaks their interest, they follow up with a quick @reply or a DM (Direct Message).

The other way Twitter can and does benefit marketing your business is that you can follow a reporter that fits your business beat. Send them an @reply letting them know how much you enjoyed their article. For instance, here’s a Twitter conversation our PR team had with @Pogue concerning a lengthy article he wrote:

@Pogue Long? Sure. But that was so interesting/exciting. Going to make my kids do school projects about this. Thanks!

Pogue’s response via DM, “Oh yay! I felt the same!”

Now, David Pogue is following our Twitter updates, along with the Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Journal Sentinel and many other reporters and publications. Businesses using Twitter are now able to communicate with these once “untouchable” writers.

Promoting your business couldn’t be easier on Twitter. Start-up companies or those that have been around for years are all benefiting from the wildly inexpensive format of Twitter promoting. Hotels in Napa Valley (@napamarriott) and even NASA (@spacecenterhou) do special promotions exclusively for those who follow them on Twitter. @napamarriott holds a weekly trivia contest on Twitter and the first @reply with the correct answer wins a free night at the hotel or a free spa treatment. And @spacecenterhou does a similar promotion through Twitter for free tours of the Kennedy Space Center.

The strategies by companies who successfully promote themselves on Twitter have seen a dramatic jump in traffic to their Web sites. In February of this year TechCrunch, a Web site devoted to reviewing Internet products and companies, had an extra 130,000 page views on their site just from people coming to them from Twitter.

The 140 characters or less conversation has started and reporters are paying attention in a new way to what your business has to say.

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