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5 point memo to PR about Twitter from a survey of 2,000 journalists (to get the best results from PR, you must put effort into Twitter)

If you want to get the best results out of PR, you 100% must put some effort into Twitter

A survey by Muck Rack found 78% of journalists say Twitter is the most valuable network; 7 in 10 journalists still use Twitter to find sources 

Too many organizations treat PR and social media as separate things. Yet year after year and study after study show reporters and journalists are active and engaged on Twitter. So, if you want to earn their attention, or if you are investing money in PR – specifically for media relations – then your company should be active on Twitter too.

The latest 2023 State of Journalism survey by Muck Rack continues to reinforce this conclusion. It was conducted earlier this year, polled roughly 2,000 journalists, and was conducted months after Elon Musk acquired the platform.

While many said they would quit Twitter after Musk’s acquisition (lots of PR people said the same), this survey shows they are still on the platform and overwhelmingly find value in it.

Here are some of the journalism statistics worth considering.

Point 1: 90% of journalists are on Twitter

If you want to catch fish, you’ve got to fish where the fish are. This is audience identification 101. It’s the first step in any communication effort. That fact that 9 in 10 reporters are on Twitter means if media relations is part of your mandate, you need to be on it too.

For all the hemming and hawing over blue check marks, very few have actually left. Sure, a follow-up question did show 33% plan to spend more time on Twitter and 28% said they’d spend less, but less isn’t zero.

Besides, the blue check mark complaints are a textbook example of the psychological principle of loss aversion. That’s where losing something hurts twice as bad as winning it feels good.

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Point 2: 78% of journalists say Twitter is the most valuable network

Nearly eight in every 10 journalists say Twitter is the most valuable social network. And they all follow each other – it’s a very tight data cluster – a community in the truest sense. Journalists just can’t get the same experience on those platforms that they get on Twitter. What’s more, Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t even close and each trail by 40 percent or more.

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Point 3: 7 in 10 journalists find sources on Twitter

The survey asked journalists, “How do you use Twitter professionally?” Here are their answers

  • 83% said to follow the news;
  • 78% said to promote my work;
  • 69% said to find sources;
  • 67% said to connect with other journalists;
  • 61% said to share my opinion/ point of view;
  • 48% said to connect with my audience/readers; and
  • 43% said to discover new voices.

If seven in 10 reporters are on Twitter to find sources – and you spend all kinds of money trying to be a source – shouldn’t being active on Twitter be part of the playbook?

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Point 4: 66% of journalists track how many times their stories are shared on social media

I am continuously amazed at the number of companies that spend so much effort and corporate treasure to earn a placement – and then don’t share the article on their social channels.

First and foremost, the media landscape has been fractured for a long time. This means what you do with a placement counts as much as getting it in the first place. You want as many people as possible, in your target market, to read that piece. You should put a little paid social media budget behind it too.

Second, as this statistic shows, reporters and journalists are watching. And it’s really easy to track shares on Twitter because it’s an open platform.

Are you trying to build relationships with reporters? Share their stuff and make sure they see it.

This is some super PR secret, it’s foundational human psychology in action: people take an interest in people that take an interest in them.

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Point 5: 59% of journalists check a company’s social media site when reporting

What does your brand’s social stream look like? Is it a steady stream of pitches to a registration form? Is your brand in output-only mode broadcasting how awesome you are? Is the last time your brand posted something weeks, or months ago?

If that’s the case, the optics are bad. Journalists aim to report the news – and they’ll gravitate toward sources that can help them do that. Sources that do that are helpful, they engage in conversations and share interesting data points, findings and perspectives.

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Spending money on PR without being active on Twitter is wasteful

Many B2B tech companies easily spend $10,000 or more a month with an outside PR tech agency, but put very little, if any, effort into Twitter. In my observation, this often boils down to personal preference: if the marketing or comms leader doesn’t use Twitter, then the brand won’t either. These folks are almost certainly wasting some of the budget they put into PR.

All of these statistics boil down to one simple fact: if media relations is part of your duty, then so too is being active on Twitter.

* * *

Muck Rack says it surveyed 2,226 journalists from January 4th to February 6th, 2023. The data is primarily US-centric although there were some respondents from Europe, Asia and Africa. I recommend any PR or marketing person with responsivities that induce media relations download a copy of the 2023 State of Journalism Survey and have a look for yourself.

Do you need help with B2B tech marketing and PR? I’m a seasoned consultant that can both bring big ideas and execute them; I’d be glad to speak with you about your needs. Here are some useful links: aboutservices and contact. Or just reply to this message if you are a subscriber and received this post by email.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
10 PR Tips for Making Your Company Easier for the Media to Cover

Image credit: Muck Rack survey report and DALLE, “Twitter bird dressed up like a reporter in the style of van Gogh”

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