They say that all publicity is good publicity so making friends with a journalist who covers your industry is worth the time and effort. (So says this journalist.) Where can you find such an individual? If you have a good social media presence, they’ll find you.
According to the 2011 Arketi Web Watch Survey, 64% of B2B journalists said they spent more than 20 hours a week online and 21% spent over 40. The overwhelming majority of that time was spent reading news and searching for story ideas. (I’m here to tell you it’s so very true.) Where do they get those ideas? Check this out:
As you can see, an industry source is the most valuable resource and that’s you, the marketer. Press releases and email pitches were only moderately successful. Many email pitches don’t work because they aren’t properly targeted. I get dozens of pitches a week and some are so far from anything I’ve ever written about, I have to wonder where the sender got my contact info in the first place.
As far as social media, this is one place where Twitter is beating out Facebook. Most likely that’s because Twitter is very breaking news oriented and if you follow the key players in your industry, it’s easy to spot fodder for a good story.
Webinairs also popped up as good sources for journalists. 81% said they find Industry Trend webinairs to be the most helpful, followed by presentations of original research.
As for the journalists themselves, 92% said they had a LinkedIn account, more than any other social network. Facebook and Twitter landed at 85% and 84% respectively. Only 20% said they had a Digg account, which shows how far that site has fallen.
If you’re looking to connect with others in your industry, a relationship with a business journalist is a good thing. Send them news before it breaks, send conference call and webinair invitations, send chocolate. Just understand that everything you send won’t automatically make it into the journalist’s column. And one final caveat, don’t think that your relationship (with or without chocolate) buys you a glowing review when you don’t deserve it. Relationship or not, a journalist’s first responsibility is to his reader and not his source.