TwitterAt Aspectus, we know Twitter is an invaluable tool for keeping on top of the news, seeing what journalists are talking about, and identifying key influencers in the spaces in which we operate.

So when Precise hosted a breakfast briefing entitled ‘How Twitter is transforming journalists’ working lives – or not…’ we jumped at the chance to attend and find out whether journalists are as keen on Twitter as we are.

Chaired by Helen Dunne, editor of CorpComms magazine, and with journalists from the top national media on the panel, the discussion proved fascinating and showed that, while Twitter does have its sceptics, it also brings myriad benefits to journalists and helps them work more efficiently. For example, there was almost unanimous agreement that Twitter has grown to become an alternative newswire for busy journos.

According to Harry Wallop, features writer at the Telegraph, Twitter has transformed his working life, allowing him to save time when researching a story by simply tweeting a request and subsequently being flooded with ideas and suggestions of useful people to talk to.

Meanwhile, Metro editor Kenny Campbell argued that while Twitter doesn’t fundamentally change the way journalists operate, it does allow them to react to stories quickly and follow events they cannot attend in person.

Engagement and the ability to reach out to a wider audience were also highlighted as key benefits that Twitter brings to journalists. Here, parallels can be drawn with how the PR world approaches Twitter.

Our approach for example, is to ensure that campaigns adopt an integrated approach to traditional and digital media. It’s no longer adequate to secure a piece of coverage and hope a client’s prospects will read that publication on a particular day. We make sure that any coverage is promoted via a wide range of social media channels.

Twitter is an essential channel not only because of the volume of people that can be reached through it, but because it allows messages to be disseminated in a highly targeted fashion to an audience that might already have indicated they have an interest in a specific topic.

The consensus at the Precise event was that Twitter is not the be all and end all for journalists, and that they are particularly careful not to take everything they read on Twitter as gospel.

Similarly, although we believe you cannot underestimate the power of Twitter, it is worth remembering that it is fundamentally a social network. In the context of B2B PR, it needs to be approached in a way that resonates with users, and should be employed as part of a campaign that includes more professional-style networks such as LinkedIn, in order to have the greatest impact.

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