Engaging with journalists remains a key part of any tech PR campaign and, despite the potential of using social media PR campaigns to engage with audiences directly, any tech PR would be wise to remember that social media is also a great way to build and develop relationships with journalists and other influencers.
Research from the Arketi Group in the US has demonstrated this perfectly. It found that 92% of journalists writing for B2B publications use LinkedIn, 85% of B2B journalists are on Facebook and 84% use Twitter.
In addition to these more popular channels, 58% have a YouTube account, 49% have a blog, 28% use Flickr, 20% use Digg, 18% have a MySpace account, 15% use Delicious and even 14% use Foursquare.
Sourcing social stories
Now, while the results will clearly differ here in the UK and also from sector to sector (tech PRs should note that technology journalists are likely to be far more socially connected that the general B2B average), there is no doubt that journalists have realised the potential of using social media to source stories.
The role of PR professionals in helping to source stories is still equally important though and this comes across very clearly in the survey. It finds that when looking for story ideas, although 99% said they use industry sources, public relations contacts (80%), press releases (77%), wire services (74%), email pitches (71%) and blogs (56%) were important too.
The importance of a website
But it is not just social media that is increasingly valued by journalists, tech PRs would do well to note that 82% of B2B journalists say companies without a website appear less credible and that 81% turn to a company website to find contact information. 65% cited blogs as a useful part of a corporate website too.
And in terms of wider internet usage, 98% unsurprisingly said they use the internet to read news, but other activities included searching for sources or story ideas (91%), social networking (69%), microblogging (66%) and blogging (53%).
PR campaigns need careful planning
Increasingly then, any company looking to embark on a tech PR campaign needs to think about more than just traditional media relationship tactics and look to connect with journalists across all the channels they are using.
Not only that, but any tech PR campaign needs to include additional elements that will help a journalist looking to write a story, from contact information prominently displayed on a website to an industry-focused blog brimming with interesting ideas and opinions.