The ability to know how to hack the news cycle using social media has become an effective media outreach tactic for many tech PR agencies and even marketing professionals working in startups.
With the help of social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter, companies can interact with key stakeholders like journalists during highly fluid news cycles in real-time. What’s more, company news announcements that would have been saved for a press release without much public commentary can now prompt instant feedback and responses from both journalists and current and potential customers.
For your startup, a tech PR agency can help you and your team utilize social media to “hack” the news cycle, effectively taking what is happening and newsworthy online and bring your company into the conversation in a meaningful way.
Here are 4 ways to hack the news cycle for your startup using social media.
To start, frequently monitoring social media, especially hashtags and accounts that cover your industry and verticals, helps you to stay on top of breaking news. As a given event unfolds (think ransomware attack on a major hospital network), you’re able to follow the news in real-time to develop a POV. You can ‘hack’ the news by writing a thought leadership article and pitching your spokespeople to media outlets covering the news for contributed articles or quotes on the topic.
As you identify what that audience is saying about the news on social media, you’ll also be able to pinpoint public perception of the event and perhaps inform your company’s approach to solving relevant issues or lending your product or service to remedy a need. This social listening will help you both cover what is happening and forecast where things might be heading for your customers and prospective audience.
Social listening also helps you to see where the market is heading and what is resonating with your audience. Identifying trends made popular on social media can give your company a competitive edge when you pitch your subject matter experts (SMEs) to the media to give commentary on those trends. Meaningful thought leadership pieces on these topics will be both timely and relevant to prospective media outlets who may publish your writing. This makes it more likely to be covered and receive a wider reach. When done right, reacting quickly to trends can propel the status and credibility of your company and even help your customers feel aligned with your brand as you demonstrate an understanding of what they’re communicating online.
Social media is also a useful tool in making your company’s activities more broadly known and interacted with. Participation in events, such as conferences, product unveilings, or speaking opportunities, is an important time to utilize social media to expand the reach of your PR and net some beneficial news coverage for that activity.
Let’s say your SaaS tech startup is participating in a major industry conference. You have a booth set up to demonstrate your original product and are unveiling a new offering to expand the capabilities of your platform. You’ll be interacting with current customers and trying to make meaningful connections with new prospective customers. You can use social listening to see how your marketing team’s content about participation in the event is performing. You can also keep tabs on what is being discussed during the conference at large. Your company’s presence there means SMEs will be readily available to be interviewed by any media covering the event. Just make sure to act quickly and be prepared to develop a quick point-of-view should a topic unfold for discussion during that time.
Your tech PR agency and in-house comms teams will be better equipped to pitch to the media when they know what is trending and how to provide interesting angles to newsworthy topics. Those teams should also utilize social media to make media connections.
First, study a publication or website’s social media feeds to identify which stories those outlets cover and how their readers respond to them. Then, make a list of the journalists and editors who create those pieces and make a point to reach out to them with a thoughtful story or POV they can use when they craft their next article.
You’ll want to pay close attention to the journalist’s social media and news outlet bios, however. Some are willing to be contacted by direct message with pitches but others will be turned off by it. Contact preferences are often listed clearly in a bio so you can make sure you stay on good ground with your sources.
Does your tech startup need marketing and PR help?
Swyft knows startups and has close relationships with the right publications, trends and tactics to make your business and experts top of mind when a story breaks. Contact us to get started to bring greater reach to your next PR campaign or hack the news cycle to make an impact with your startup’s POV.