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Twitter for Newsrooms: What it means for PR professionals

Meghan Spork

Twitter for Newsrooms is a grouping of tools meant to make Twitter a journalist’s best friend. These tools though are not just helpful for journalists but offer strategies and benefits for just about anyone dealing with content and communications, with a focus on social media. #TfN outlines specific strategies to find sources quickly, to tell stories better and to build bigger audiences for these stories.


Twitter has put together a suite of search tools to help make the most out of searching for information. These tools include: Twitter Search, Advanced Twitter Search, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac, and Archive Search. Each allows for a different level of search and monitoring capabilities.

  • Twitter Search is quick and easy. It brings up a lot of real-time information about subjects. This search is put through a few filters, so it may not be completely comprehensive, but it does provide a surface view of current activity related to your search.
  • Advanced Search allows you to hone in on more specific search terms and angles.
  • TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac use Streaming API or Application Programming Interfaces. (There are actually 3 types of Twitter API. These streaming API allows you to track topics throughout the newsroom. These are tools especially helpful for monitoring searches on specific subjects and people. [Streaming API allows for more results because it doesn’t require tweets to go through quality filter, not rate or something else. More results, better monitoring.]
  • For Archive Search, Twitter also recommends the application Topsy to find non-real-time tweets. But they recommend making screen shots for future reference.

For PR professionals this suite provides the tools to best monitor the activity of your clients, and even their competitors, as well as allowing you to keep your fingers on the pulse of their industries. The search functions, Twitter Search and Advanced Search, can be utilized to see what others are saying about your client in real time, but also what others in their industry are talking about at the current moment. With Streaming APIs like Tweetdeck and Twitter for Mac these searches are able to be constantly available and can help monitor trends in the industry and the general attitude toward your client. Also the Topsy Archive Search allows you to find old tweets to better understand the history of an issue or person of interest and gain a better sense of background information on a subject.

Finding Sources

As part of #TfN’s attempt to be a journalist’s greatest resource, it is focused on helping them find sources for stories. #TfN gives two examples of reporters who tweeted out questions and people answered them, and in some cases these relationships bloomed into interviews. This means that journalists are on Twitter looking for people to help them complete stories and even give them story ideas. As PR professionals, we are those people! Through Twitter’s search and streaming API, journalists, especially those that would find interest in our clients can be monitored. You can see what they are covering, what kind of sources they are looking for and monitor that over time. See what they are talking about, what kind of stories they are writing, and what sources they are looking for. If your client fits the bill, Twitter provides the opportunity to speak up, and connect.


#TfN encourages journalists to improve the way they interact with their audiences, and build deeper relationships by inserting some of their own interests and thoughts (carefully of course!) and not just sharing news and links like a robot. Journalists are people too, and knowing their interests,  personalities, and style presents an opportunity to have a working relationship, and a chance to make it into their personal database of sources, which is extremely important. Engagement goes both ways, and Twitter enables an opportunity to connect with journalists on a professional level, an important element of success in public relations.

Other cool things

Twitter for Newsrooms also provides some other interesting and helpful tips.

#TfN offers from guidelines for branding your account. The guidelines are pretty simple – fill in your bio information, upload a profile pic, and provide contact info – but it is an important reminder for anyone on Twitter looking to interact effectively.

If you are looking to embed tweets into your Word Press blog posts, Twitter for Newsrooms recommends the Blackbird Pie plugin. Go to the site, plug in the URL of the tweet, and hit “Bake It.” It will spit out a long string of code that you put into your blog post and it will appear like so.

[blackbirdpie url=""]

And even more importantly, Twitter for Newsrooms outlines how to access your account when you do not have access to the internet. Twitter via text messaging or SMS is available and enables users to send Tweets by text. This guide will teach you how to set up Twitter via SMS for your phone.