Last week I was on a panel at PubCon Las Vegas 2010, “Twitter and Social Media from the PR Experts,” with some top-of-their-game folks: Sean Jackson of CopyBlogger Media, Lisa Buyer of the Buyer Group, and Sarah Evans of Sevans Strategy. None of us had connected before-hand on what we were each presenting and only the night before asked, but as it turned out (thanks to sheer luck) our presentations complimented each other so well that we’ve sworn we’re going to do a world tour with this panel. Stay tuned. My passport is ready.
Here are some key stats and tactics from each presentation:
Sarah discussed how to identify story opportunities via social media and what to do with them. She told us how some quick and clever thinking when she was awakened by an earthquake in Chicago led to having her name and business mentioned in the New York Times. And it all started with some tweets. Sarah said, “We are all news producers now.” Her presentation told the story in images.
Sean gave us tons of statistics illustrating that the more successful Twitter accounts, like @Mashable, tweet mostly original content and very little @replies and retweets. He said that “Content matters. A steady stream of Twitter content is more important than follower interaction via @ replies.”
Mashable has about 3% @replies and 1% RTs. Interestingly, Chris Brogan’s hugely successful Twitter account does the opposite, he posts more than 60% @replies.
Lisa spoke of Twitter being your PR feed. She said to take your press release and “break it up: quotes, stats, top news line, and link it back to the full press release on your site.” Your tweets need to be part of your content strategy, she continued, and optimized with strategic keywords that can be picked up by Google and Bing.
As for me, I spoke about media relations and team tweeting for a brand. A key fact gathered by the PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey 2010: 58% of journalists have Twitter accounts, and they are using it to do research. Think of this as an opportunity to put your best foot forward and build relationships.
Find journalists and bloggers who write on topics you are interested in and follow their Twitter feeds, read the content they are talking about (especially articles they themselves wrote) and get a good understanding of their interests. Comment on their work. Offer tips when you can, but it certainly ‘should not’ always benefit you. When something you are promoting does fit their needs, you won’t be a stranger, you’ll be a trusted source.
Which brings us to team tweeting. At some point, most brands will have to address this as their Twitter accounts grow in following and function. Choose the right people who bring different perspectives and talents together and make sure everyone understands their role and the strategy clearly.
Think of your Twitter account as a publication. Each team member is an editor and someone should certainly be designated as publisher. The publisher makes sure that everyone stays on target with the overall strategy and can make critical decisions on handling potentially sensitive situations.
Each editor should have their own beat as it concerns content. @PRNewswire is a magazine to us. We provide content that we know our audience is interested in and we don’t veer into content that isn’t part of our editorial strategy. Each team member is clear on what their contribution to the overall content is.
For us, @PRNewswire is an opportunity to share valuable content and information, do media relations, interact with our clients and build community.