Live from Pubcon Vegas: Experts on PR and Twitter

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Nov 10, 2009
More Articles by Janet

The next session I attended on Monday was “Experts on PR and Twitter”. I was eager to hear how PR experts are using Twitter today. Some good points overall.

Sean Jackson

First up was Sean Jackson of Ecordia on building PR authority on Twitter. Sean covered the four things you need to be successful in PR — regardless of the medium:

  • Clarify
  • Monitor
  • Engage
  • Advocate


Twitter does have some limitations. For instance, 10% of people on Twitter account for 90% of all tweets. 78% of the conversations are conversational in nature or babble. Finally, 29% of businesses use Twitter to find business-related info, although it ranked tenth on a list of media used by businesses.

So why should you use Twitter? Ask yourself this:

  • Is my audience there?
  • Is it important to my efforts?
  • Can I/we engage?
  • Can I/we sustain?


What are you looking for? Proper names are key: brand name, user accounts, market terms, competition, misspellings, and more. You may also want to look at intent by adding additional terms to the search, for example, “need”, “want”, ‘help”, etc.


Use a process-oriented approach to your engagement. Define rules and responsibilities around how you will engage. The main goal should be to build authority. Sean highly recommended Authority Rules by Brian Clark.

So what does authority mean on Twitter? According to Bing, authority comes down to the number of followers and retweets you have. So how do you create authority? Use Google Alerts to find topics you can “re-write” about. Look for:

  • Lists/reviews
  • Breaking news
  • Research
  • How to guides

Then spread the word to gain new followers. Find the 10% that spread the word and that tweet. Give them a reason to follow you. Maintain your authority!


Sean’s Authority Content Guide:

  • Never retweet, rewrite.
  • Limit links.
  • Constant stream.

Sean’s Advocate Content Guide:

  • Unique story about you
  • Post on your web presence
  • Sent out a press release

When should you advocate on Twitter? First go to the authoritative site, like WSJ, then link to that. Better to link to an authoritative site than your own website. When should you sent it? Tuesday and Friday at 12:30 PM ET or 5 PM ET tend to be good. Acknowledge those that RT for you!

Lisa Buyer

Next up was Lisa Buyer of The Buyer Group was next, covering “We Are What We Tweet”. Lisa said it’s not so much what you say on Twitter, but listening to what is being said. Lisa put it well when she said that Twitter is essentially “PR in 140 characters or less”.

Lisa shared some companies that are on Twitter. So what can companies do with Twitter?

  • Broadcast news
  • Keep industry pulse
  • Pitch media
  • And more…

Consider monitoring what current, former and potential employees are saying on Twitter. Be sure to set guidelines with employees on what should be shared on Twitter and what should not.

Also consider journalists on Twitter. A good site to find journalists on Twitter is Muckrack and Journalists are looking for sources, promoting stories and more.

PR Pro Tips:

  • pitch news
  • brand yourself as expert
  • brand clients

Lisa also recommended #journchat — tweet weekly on Mondays with journalists, bloggers, PR pros and media from 7-9 p.m. CT on Twitter.

So what is your goal in PR? The answer will tell you how Twitter fits in.

Adam Singer

Adam Singer is an account manager at Top Rank Marketing.

Intersection of social media/PR

What is social media PR? It’s the intersection of media and influence. Social media for PR is about authenticity, it scales, long term story telling, and SEO.

Adam gave an examples of using social media for PR for a B2C coffee client, a B2B software startup and personal/agency branding.

Tips from Adam for success:

  • Twitter is just one network… be platform agnostic.
  • Have a destination to draw users back.
  • Build a community of sneezers — those that spread the message.

Social media is a long term commitment. Tactics are fast, but Strategy is slow.

Don’t forget the intersection between social media and SEO!! Use your keywords from SEO across all media, including social media. Remember, Social media + PR = Links. (True true!!)

Ben Fisher

Finally was Ben Fisher of TechPad who covered “PR, Twitter and Results”.

Do your research — use the DECIDE approach:

  • Determine your goals
  • Evaluate your competitors, goals
  • Create an identity
  • Identify who to follow, such as journalists and freelancers
  • Develop relationships
  • Engage

Some tools that Ben recommended for success with PR on Twitter:

  • Klout
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