Survey shows how business journalists rely on social media
B2b social media marketing is a lucrative area online as the potential wins are so high, but many brands are still figuring out which are the best platforms for focus their efforts on. While you have focused b2b social networks like LinkedIn, the eyeballs are on Facebook and Twitter and a combined strategy is often the best way to source leads through social media. Intrinsic in this is business journalism, as an increasing amount of journalists are using social media tools to source stories and build contacts. Arketi Web Watch have recently run a survey to look at how business journalists are using different sources online and offline and the findings show the potential for networking with journalists on social media. The image below shows the different sources b2b journalists use for stories :
Blogs are by far the most popular social news source for journalists, demonstrating the increasing convergence between blogging and journalism, when what you read in the mainstream/offline media may well have originated on a blog. Interestingly, this has risen significantly over the past few years. A similar survey run by Arketi in 2007 found that 25% of business journalists surveyed said that blogs make their life ‘easier’.
Opportunities for brands
The above findings are encouraging for brands and marketers that want to use social media for b2b marketing, as it shows the huge potential for reaching out to influential people in the industry, who could give you valuable coverage that can turn into lead generation. But b2b social networking operates slightly differently than consumer-led networking. While Twitter is a valuable news source and social network for journalists, it will require a lot of investment in terms of your time, if you want to turn this to your advantage. The focus should be on fewer, but ultimately more valuable relationships that are closely focused within your industry. Rather than just thinking about how you can be ‘friends’ with these journalists, think more about what they’re using these social networks for.
The fact is that journalists use social media to source stories and in the b2b space you have a big opportunity to stand out from the crowd and provide journalists with stats and news tips that could lead to valuable coverage. If you focus on creating content that is exciting and easily digestable (bye bye long email press release) then you can benefit from the time that business journalists are spending in social media. You will need to invest time in order to make this week and make sure you can be reactive. There’s no point giving a journalist a breaking news story on Twitter if you already emailed out days ago and the hook is gone. There is no simple answer here that will make this easier, other than personally investing time in social networks, building up your following and value to business journalists.
Don’t forget blogs
While social networks themselves often get a lot of attention, the survey above shows that you can’t afford to ignore business blogging. It is far exceeding Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.. as a valuable news source. Many brands are focusing a lot of attention on social media platforms, but neglecting their own sites, which is crucial for establishing yourself as an authority and providing journalists with what they need. While they may look to Twitter to quickly browse headlines and news tips, this information is only useful up to a point. Journalists require more in-depth coverage and stories, particularly in business media and if you focus on providing the best news via your blog, you could become a valuable default resource for journalists.
Just as with Facebook and Twitter, where it’s very much about one to one interaction, the same also applies to blogs. Building up personal profiles of authors on the blog and tweeting links to journalists is valuable to ensure the journalist sees the person behind the story. This is important because there is still an amount of uncertainty around blogs and particularly how trustworthy they are. This is where you need a consistent approach, with the same person that’s writing on your blog, also interacting with individuals on Twitter, LinkedIn etc..