How can you engage with journalists using social media?

How can you engage with journalists using social media?

Are you a PR practitioner, a business owner, or someone with an opinion? If so, you might ask yourself, how do I get in touch with, or engage with journalists?

Having worked on both sides of the media landscape as a journalist come PR man, I’ve learned a few things along the way and thought I’d share a few tips with you. 

Social media:

Are you looking at Instagram on your phone right now, or do you have a social media tab open in your browser? In today’s hyper-social world, the answer is likely yes, but have you ever considered that maybe a journalist is doing the same thing right now?


When would you add someone on Facebook in the real world?

My response to this question is when you are genuinely friends with them.

This goes for journalists as well – if you aren’t a friend in real life, why would you add them on Facebook, and why would they accept you?

If, during your time engaging with the media world, you do reach a point where you befriend a journalist on Facebook, it’s safe to say, they should be someone you can engage with, organise to catch up with, and someone you understand. So, when you do need to pitch them a story, pitch them a relevant one.

One other thing – if they are really your mate, and you desperately need coverage, ask them is there any way to get a story up. Friends help friends – just remember, you will own them one back, so use friendship sparingly.


Instagram is for the influencers.

If someone is an influencer, they likely want you to connect, so do go ahead and connect – engage with posts and invite them to events, offer them products, and occasionally (if appropriate) partner with them for paid media.


Another great tool for communication professionals to use is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a really engaging platform and a great place to connect with journalists at a professional level.

I tend to think of LinkedIn a little bit like a supporting black book for maintaining relationships with journalists, producers and media professionals. Additionally, it’s a great tool to keep across to see what your clients are doing and saying, as well as to watch how other communication professionals work.

The nice thing about LinkedIn is that it is a professional tool so as PR or communication professionals, it’s okay to request to link in with a journalist you are working with or have on your media lists. 

1 – They can refuse to accept you:

I know for myself, when I worked as a journalist, there were certain PR people I accepted and others I rejected. This was solely based on the likelihood of me working with them – if I could see they were in it to boost numbers or weren’t overly active on the platform, I’d probably reject them, however, if I received press releases or emails from them or they were engaged and demonstrated success for clients regularly on the platform, I’d accept.

Today, working in PR, flipped this on its head. If I am working with, have worked with, regularly engage with or need to engage with a journalist, I’ll request they add me on LinkedIn. For the most part, I am accepted – this likely has to do with me having worked with them, but also the fact that I have demonstrated successes which I share on the platform.

2 – It is a networking tool for professionals:
For many journalists, clients and PR people, LinkedIn is a virtual meeting place. A place where there is conversation around the industry and media more generally. Groups are a great place to meet new journalists, PR pros, and clients interested in engaging you for work.

3 – You can add value on LinkedIn:
If you regularly engage on LinkedIn, share client successes and communicate clearly you can help journalists out.

For example, you might share a client success story on LinkedIn – you scored some great media coverage and want to “humble-brag”.

A journalist who is interested in this client, topic or industry space might read the story you post, reach out to you as the PR contact and ask if you can organise a story. It’s a win for you as the PR contact, but also adds value for the journalist, making it easy for them to engage with your client or brand.

This blog is the first in a three-part series about how to connect with journalists.

Part two will be about the role of email, so make sure to follow along. 

If you want to get on the front foot with your business success stories, milestones, staff profiles and information about your brand, contact Elevate today as we see stories EVERYWHERE!


About the Author - Mark Henderson

Mark is a passionate storyteller and professional communicator. As a PR practitioner and media expert, Mark is driven by a desire to tell real stories and to deliver top quality, first-in-class, creative and effective public relations c...

Other Posts by Mark Henderson

Tags: #SocialMedia

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