No matter where you are in the world, or how remote your community is, chances are there’s a local media outlet covering your beat on Twitter. Here’s a few ways to find Twitter accounts for local media outlets, based on a random example from Hastings, Nebraska.
Twitter Search: Use the search field on Twitter’s home page to search for the name of your local community (Hastings), along with its hashtag equivalent (#Hastings). This tactic works best if your community name is relatively unique.
To focus your search on your specific community, go to Twitter’s Advanced Search Page and type your community’s name (and state) in the “Near this place” field. Save this search query and follow it on a regular basis. Local media tweeters will likely be using your community’s name (or hashtag) in their tweets.
Search Twitter Bios: Another more targeted method to find local reporters and media accounts is to search for keywords in Twitter bios using tools like Followerwonk or Sprout Social.
For example, a search for “reporter+hashtings Nebraska” results in the name and Twitter account of Todd Neely, a local news reporter. Use a few different keywords (like “radio” or “newspaper”) to broaden your search.
Search Google: Its recent move into the social sphere notwithstanding, Google is still the king of search. Google is particularly effective among other search alternatives when it comes to finding relevant information involving esoteric search terms like remote place names.
For example, this Google search for “local news in hastings nebraska+twitter” (without quotes) results in a number of Twitter accounts visible right on the results page. Within just a couple of clicks from any of the results, you can usually come up with viable Twitter accounts to connect with — like this one from @KHHASTV in Hastings, Nebraska.
Build Your Network Before You Need It
Finding local media accounts on Twitter is one thing. But remember, in order to be top of mind with the reporters in your local area, you need to establish and cultivate these relationships long before they’re actually needed.
Once you’ve identified a few relevant media accounts that cover your community, put them in a local media Twitter list and engage with them regularly. Let them know what you do and that you’re willing to provide information or interviews on your areas of expertise should the need ever arise.
Like everyone else these days, news people are busy. They’ll likely appreciate this proactive approach on your behalf!
Are you connected with your local media personalities on Twitter? Have you ever been approached to be the subject of a story? Let us know in the comments.
[Image credit: HGruber]