The emergence of social media has been a game-changer for newspapers and magazines. On the one hand, they have seen their print numbers continue to drop as more and more people turn to the internet to get their news and information. On the other hand, they (the smart ones) have seen that by embracing social media and leveraging the different opportunities it offers, they can drive more traffic to their sites, engage in open dialogues and react quicker. So what does this mean for you? More opportunities than ever for you to build relationships and get publicity. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to leverage social media for PR purposes -- and that's PR as in public relations, not PageRank!

Start Small

Many times when people think about getting publicity for their business, their wishlist goes something like this:

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How Social Media Can Help Your PR Efforts

The emergence of social media has been a game-changer for newspapers and magazines. On the one hand, they have seen their print numbers continue to drop as more and more people turn to the internet to get their news and information. On the other hand, they (the smart ones) have seen that by embracing social media and leveraging the different opportunities it offers, they can drive more traffic to their sites, engage in open dialogues and react quicker. So what does this mean for you? More opportunities than ever for you to build relationships and get publicity. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to leverage social media for PR purposes — and that’s PR as in public relations, not PageRank!

Start Small

Many times when people think about getting publicity for their business, their wishlist goes something like this:

  • I want to be featured in Forbes
  • I want an interview in Inc Magazine
  • I want to sit down with Donny Deutsch on the “Big Idea”

Having lofty goals is great, but it’s not always possible. Many times, it’s much more realistic (and effective) to start smaller. Think about all of the blogs that are out there. Find out which ones your potential customers read on a daily basis? Determine the ones that reporters for those bigger publications use (Who are they quoting? Who are they linking to online?). Start there. Most times, it will be easier to get featured on a smaller blog than a major publication. You can then use this coverage later on when you pitch bigger publications.

Hang Out In All The Right Places

Social media has made it so much easier to build relationships with people and get noticed. A great place to start for this is right on Twitter. Use one of the Twitter search engines or directories (I really like Twellow) to find reporters who are in your space. Simple searches — like this one for “reporter” — can be really helpful. Connect with them. See what types of things they are looking for. Become an invaluable resource to them.

When you have somewhat of a relationship built up, connect further through places like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s all about building those relationships. Once you have a relationship with someone, they are much more likely to want to write about you or your company. But don’t forget, just like everyone always preaches good content, the same is true here. If your products or services aren’t really that good, you’re not going to get too far.

Traffic Is Noticed

Let’s say you’ve now built some relationships and received some initial press coverage. Promote that content just like you would promote something from your own site. Do you have strong accounts in social networks? Get it out in StumbleUpon. Get it on Digg. Share it with everyone. This will have a two-fold effect.

First, it will get more coverage for you. The more people who see it, the better.

Second, newspapers, magazines, TV stations and other media outlets are all thirsty for traffic. Many of them look very carefully at what articles are most viewed for the day (more views = more ad revenues). And many times this trickles down to the reporter. Do you think he or she would probably want to write about you again, if they got a big pat on the back from their boss? Of course they would….

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