I’m still surprised by how little tweeting some publicists do. You’d think that they’d want to maximize the coverage their clients receive. Yet, I’m continually stunned by how little this happens. Active tweeting can kick off a virtuous cycle that benefits the writer, publicist and client.
For bloggers especially, performance matters. Success is defined by how much we write and how much it’s read. The presence of “tweet counters” on many blogs has made retweets a new metric, as well, even though it’s a subordinate measure of readership. As the retweets tick up, we look good. If we know that the publicist is part of the reason, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll cover your clients more. When this happens, the publicist wins: both coverage and readership are demonstrably higher (and the retainer, too, maybe?).
The blogger: gets better traffic and retweets
Thepublicist’s client: gets more exposure because of readership increases, which leads to more coverage by the blogger
The publicist: gains an improved media relationship and better client results
What can come from all this is a virtuous cycle, in which the blogger writes more about a particular company, destination (remember, I’m a travel guy) or issue because he knows the publicists involved will become Twitter champions of the article. The same dynamic is possible on Digg, though it’s a bit more difficult because the community interprets promotion/self-promotion more strictly.
The challenge, for publicists, is deciding which bloggers (and traditional journalists) to retweet. I obviously lean toward bloggers because I am one, but there are other reasons. Publicists need to think about the returns involved. How likely is a particular blogger or journo to give you ongoing coverage? Is his blog/publication able to deliver play more than occasionally? If the answer is “no,” look elsewhere: you’re wasting a tweet.
This choice becomes an issue when you get coverage from several outlets. It can be tempting to retweet the most prestigious pickup, but that could cost some love from the blogger who can get you an “emergency” pickup later … not to mention ongoing attention.
For publicists in firms of any size — particularly mid-sized and large — it’s important to work across accounts. Retweet each other aggressively to get an article’s tweet count up. It doesn’t take long at all, and you’re delivering measurable results for each other … and the company as a whole.