Years ago, the media was like a castle surrounded by an impenetrable wall and a moat. You couldn’t talk to these people without a lot of work or a lot of money. Today you have an amazing level of access to professionals working in the media thanks to social platforms. In this post, I'll share tips on media networking that will help you make a connection with a Facebook comment or a Tweet.
Here are the key steps we'll be covering:
- Find the people you want to network with
- Learn what they’re interested in covering
- Make important connections to be top of mind when you send that pitch.
Wait, What’s the Difference Between “Media” and “Social Media”?
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that “media” and “social media” are almost interchangeable. After all, both of them are about reaching people, right?
Here’s how they differ:
Social Platforms - You’re mainly talking to people who are within arm’s reach. When you post something on Facebook, your message only goes out to a limited number of people. In fact, it won’t even reach all the people who told Facebook that they want to see your content. (But that’s a complaint for another column.) To expand the number who see this message takes a lot of work to grow that audience.
Media Publicity - You’re talking to someone else’s audience. When you convince a media outlet to cover you, you then have access to their audience. Now your message is taking center stage in front of a larger group of people than you can reach on your own. That media outlet did all the hard work of growing that audience—all you have to do is get in front of them.
Media Networking On Social Platforms
Social profiles are the wrong place to try your hard sales pitch. But they can help you do some networking that will lead up to clicking “send” on that email that does include your pitch!
Here are three steps to getting access to the right people—and preparing for that eventual email pitch…
Step One – FIND
If you know which media outlet you want to pitch, it’s pretty easy to find an official account to follow. But you also want to go a step further: Find a profile for whoever makes the editorial decisions or chooses the guests.
Your contact isn’t necessarily the face of the media outlet. Check the staff box, the credits, or the website to find out who actually works there.
Depending on the size of the staff, you may be looking for a department editor or a segment producer. Once you know the name of your contact, go to your social platform of choice and plug in that person’s name.
Step Two – WATCH
Follow that media professional’s account and watch his or her feed. What strikes this person’s interest? What kinds of stories does he or she share and/or reshare?
Reading someone’s timeline can also give you clues about how to eventually pitch your own angle. (“I saw that you recently posted something on this topic. I have an idea for a related topic that can complement what you covered there.”)
Step Three – CONNECT
Once you’ve had time to get to know your media contacts, you can reach out in a natural way.
- Quote them in a post/Tweet and be sure to tag their account.
- Share links to their stories or segments and tag them.
- Add relevant comments to their posts/feed where you can.
Don’t be creepy or stalkery! All the normal rules for social etiquette apply here. (Maybe more so.)
Be thoughtful and provide value to the discussion. This raises your chances of showing up on their radar—and that they'll remember you when you do email them that media pitch.
What Are You Going to Do Now?
How much do you use social platforms to network with people? Have you tried to connect with influencers? After reading this article, which platforms do you think are the best way to connect with the media outlets that cover your expertise? We love to hear your from you in the comments below.
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