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6 reasons to supercharge your PR efforts with Twitter

Stephen Davies has posted a great list of prominent UK journalists who are on Twitter.

As he says: “Twitter isn’t something that immediately strikes you as anything good and explaining the benefits of it to someone who has never heard of it – particularly a pressed for time PR person – can be quite difficult.”

OK. Here’s my current top 6 reasons to use Twitter to supercharge you PR efforts:

1. Look at the numbers – as per Stephen’s list, many more journalists are using it. Not only that, but some journalists are giving priority to communication via Twitter over any other channel. For example, I’m willing to bet that you are far more likely to get the attention of someone like, say, Charles Arthur at the Guardian, by sending him a direct Tweet and/or a link to a dedicated info landing page than by trying to call him or e-mail him. Of course, you still need a good story, but I suspect he would give you more respect for using this approach.

2. It is much easier now to manage the Twitter info firehose because of tools like Tweetdeck. Being able to keep real time tabs on specific brands/issues/people is fantastic. The kind of insight you could only have dreamed of in the past.

3. People are beginning to develop their own individual styles of Twitter usage. Smart PRs will adapt their approach depending on the various Twitter “communities” they participate in (I can now see why having separate accounts for certain things makes sense eg having a dedicated client press release account so you can separate this from more general Twittering).

4. The 140 character limit imposes a healthy discipline on communicating clearly and succinctly.

5. Lets not forget the journalist research aspect of Twitter – checking out a journalist’s recent Tweets gives great insight into the kind of things they are really interested in.

6. Being there when you can’t be there – if you can’t get to an event, you can be sure that someone on Twitter will be – and will provide useful updates and commentary on proceedings – not only that, if they are journalists, you can feed them questions that might be worth asking….

The drug has removed nervous tension and panic attacks, calmed me down and clarified the mind. Side effects are described at but I haven’t felt any.

I think the excuses for not using Twitter are dwindling by the day. The only way to really understand Twitter is to dive in and use it. What are you waiting for?

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Using Tweetdeck as a public relations dashboard

According to some sources, there are now around 3 million Twitter users worldwide. Indeed, based on current trends, this could hit 5 million by Christmas.

Like many people, I signed up for Twitter early last year – and then promptly forgot about it for another 12 months. Mainly because it seemed rather pointless and a pain to update ie you had to go to the Twitter website every time or set up your mobile phone so that you could post Tweets via text.

For some reason, at the turn of the year, I returned to Twitter again – this time because some nice new desktop client apps like Twhirl made the process of reading and responding to Tweets a lot easier. There had also sprung up a whole eco-system of Twitter related tools such as Tweetwheel that started to make Twitter look a lot more interesting from a PR perspective.

It also had some real value for me personally as a PR tool (see previous posts on Rory Cellan-Jones and getting on the front page of the Guardian).

However, a few weeks ago, Danny Bradbury suggested trying out Tweetdeck. Like Twhirl, this is a an Adobe AIR-based desktop client – what sets it apart is that it neatly integrates a number of previously separate Twitter functions and displays them in a clear, columnar fashion. The closest I’ve yet seen to a Twitter dashboard.

For example, you can now keep tabs on not only your own friend’s Tweets, but track specific key words or hash tag searches across the whole Twitter community. And these are automatically updated when there is a new relevant Tweet. For PRs who want to keep a real time watch on specific trends and issues, this a great tool (come to think of it, journalists are already using Twitter as a real time research tool). You can also group friends to make it easier to keep an eye on related individuals (eg you could have a group for PR, one for journalists, one for clients, etc).

The Twitterverse is now actually quite a useful place to hang out these days. A combination of expanded numbers – and tools that make finding people and information easier – has given it a (currently) unique position in the PR 2.0 tool kit.

Couple this with the rise of excellent iPhone Twitter apps such as Twitterfific and Twitter looks like it has become a “must have” for the modern day PR.