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Bonnie Elgie is a highly creative and visionary public relations strategist. She has the ability assemble a great team of people and to inspire them to do their best work.
Ann Douglas
Toronto Star Columnist, Author of 29 books, Media Spokesperson

Online media relations tools: LinkedIn

It’s been called the Facebook for professionals but LinkedIn is so much more. For PR practitioners, there are countless advantages to having a LinkedIn profile – including the fact that it’s becoming an increasingly powerful media relations tool.

Consider this: according to PR News, 92% of journalists are on LinkedIn. And as I mentioned in last week’s post about Twitter, it pays to go where the journalists are.

A LinkedIn profile is the new (searchable) resume

LinkedIn profiles provide a clear picture of a person’s education, experience, current employment and professional connections. And since they rank high in Google searches, they’re easy to find. For journalist/PR pro relationships, this is a win-win.

In my recent post about email pitching, I mentioned the importance of getting to know a journalist, including what interests them and what they write about, before you pitch them. LinkedIn is the perfect place to achieve this goal.

Use LinkedIn’s search function to find relevant journalists in your area and make an effort to connect with journalists you’ve already worked with on LinkedIn. Look through journalists’ profiles to see where they’ve worked in the past and what beats they’ve followed throughout their careers. Many journalists post their stories and blog posts to their profiles, and reading them can give you an idea of their writing style. All of this will aid you in finding the right person to pitch to, and allow you to craft the perfectly personalized, winning pitch. And when journalists you’ve worked with change jobs or take on a new beat, you’ll know.

This works both ways – journalists may look at your personal or LinkedIn company pages when they are searching for sources for a story. Completely filling out your personal LinkedIn profile and including relevant keywords will go a long way to ensuring journalists are able to find you. It’s also important to make sure that company pages are properly filled out. Take advantage of this space for posting company updates, blog posts and press releases. All of these will be of interest to journalists looking for a source or a story idea.

The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more opportunities you have to expand your network. By connecting with others in the PR field on LinkedIn, you can potentially have access to their contacts. If one of your connections is connected to a journalist you’d like to work with, LinkedIn allows you to ask your connection for an introduction.

LinkedIn Groups are also a great place to network. The site hosts countless groups where like-minded people discuss industry topics and connect for real-life events. There are a number of groups that feature both PR and media members – there’s no telling where an online conversation might take you!

LinkedIn showcases your expertise

Journalists love to go to industry experts for quotes. LinkedIn Answers is an excellent place to showcase your expertise. Here you’ll have a chance to answer PR- related questions, as well as those that relate to client companies. These answers are highly searchable, both within LinkedIn and through Google.

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