As of June 2013, 59% of journalists worldwide used Twitter, with over half of all journalists citing Twitter as a source for gathering story ideas. The fact is that Twitter can be a great tool for building relationships with reporters and getting your stories out there. But before you get all excited and dive right in, there are a few things you need to do first. Don’t even think about engaging a journalist on Twitter until you’ve done these 3 things:

  1. liquid_number_threeBuild up your profile—Let’s start with the most basic step of all: creating a professional Twitter profile. The keyword here is really professional. You want to make sure your profile picture looks professional and trustworthy. You also want to make sure your bio is informative and interesting. In other words, if a journalist decides to visit your Twitter profile, it needs to make a strong first impression.
  2. Follow relevant journalists—Next step is to start following the journalists you need to be building relationships with and targeting. There are lots of good tools out there for finding journalists on Twitter, Muck Rack being one of them. Use these tools and your media list to start finding the people you need to be following. It’s important to follow them so that they’ll be able to DM you if they want to reach out to you.
  3. Listen and research—You’re still not ready to start engaging journalists. At this point, you need to sit back and observe. What are your reporters talking about? What kinds of topics get their attention? What are their likes and dislikes? Keep up with their work, too. Gather information so that you’ll know how best to reach out to the reporter when the time is right.

Now that you’ve done those 3 things, you’re ready to start engaging journalists on Twitter. Remember, be delicate in your approach. Don’t immediately start bombarding them with pitches. Instead, focus on having quality interactions and building relationships. That’s how you’ll get the kind of results you want.

What other tips would you add to this list? Share your thoughts by commenting below!