How to use Twitter to Earn Media for Political Campaigns by Ben Donahower

By at July 17, 2012 | 10:53 am | Print

How to use Twitter to Earn Media for Political Campaigns by Ben Donahower

Although many traditional news outlets are using Twitter wrong, many newspapers, radio and TV stations, and individual reporters have embraced Twitter as a platform for distributing news and gathering information for news stories. Twitter is also a quick and effective means for political campaigns to interact with the media, pitch stories, and, ultimately, get press coverage online and off.

How to Connect with the Media on Twitter

Chances are that you already know most of the media outlets that are important to your district. With that in mind, once you log into Twitter simply search for those specific news outlets and reporters in the search box and then click on “people” to get account results. Follow the news outlets that are important to you and your voters, which will keep you informed and help put you on their radar screen.

To make sure that you have included every blogger, journalist, and media outlet in the area, use the advanced search feature and search for terms like ‘blogger,’ ‘blog,’ ‘journalist,’ ‘reporter,’ ‘editor,’ ‘newspaper,’ and ‘station’ within a certain radius of the district to follow any remaining outlets where you could earn media.

Create a Media Twitter List

Be sure to create a Twitter list with all of the blogs and traditional media that you have recently followed. Twitter lists are a convenient way for you to keep up on local news, a source of content if you find something that you would like to retweet, and a way to start a dialogue with media outlets and individuals to earn your own media later on.

Leveraging Twitter to Earn Media

Now that your campaign is connected to local media on Twitter and is developing relationships with these media outlets and personalities by following and reacting to tweets on your media Twitter list, it’s time to leverage the work that you have done to expand the reach of your campaign and get press coverage.

To earn media, it’s important that your story, your pitch, and your tweets have a hook. You can add a hook to your campaign press release, for example, by adding provocative language, revealing something that most people don’t know about, and, in the case of some of your Twitter outreach, by using technology.

Twitter Chat

As an example tactic, your campaign could try something relatively novel like hosting a Twitter chat to announce an endorsement and invite the media to the chat. If the campaign executes the Twitter media event well, as an added bonus you’ll also find that you’ve organically acquired new followers.

Pitching Stories and Earning Media on Twitter

The media are used to getting stories pitched to them, and it works if done right. Twitter is a great platform to pitch the media since it’s brief, and you can create custom pitches quickly and easily to particular members of the media depending upon your story.
It is, however, important to be aware of whether the journalists, editors, or bloggers that you are targeting use Twitter regularly or whether you are better off using another communication medium. Another consideration is the complexity of the story. If it would take more than a tweet or two to explain the idea consider sending an email or picking up the phone instead.

Earning Media on Twitter

One of the best political campaign use cases for Twitter is as a platform to earn media on blogs and traditional media outlets. While the best tactics differ from district to district, creating a list to listen to the media, starting a conversation with the media on Twitter, and ultimately pitching stories to them will get your political campaign press coverage.

originally posted to  sociable blog

Ben Donahower is the founder of Campaign Trail Yard Signs, which cuts through the campaign yard sign confusion. What do lawn signs do well? When are they more trouble than they are worth? Just honest answers, so that you order useful political yard signs in the quantity your campaign needs. Ben is an authority on marketing for political organizations and has worked on campaigns from borough council to President.
Follow Ben on Twitter  @iapprovethismsg

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