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Why, How & When to Build Media Relationships with Content Sharing

Go ahead, stop reading this and take a moment right now to scan your social media news feeds.

The vast majority of tweets and posts you see are likely to be influencers, brands and companies sharing their own news and promotional information. Yes, most people spend more time promoting their own stuff than anything else, but in both life and in social media, that isn’t the best strategy.

Sharing content from other people and publications can be an equally impactful way to communicate with your audience while building a relationship with content producers such as journalists, bloggers and podcasters who value being able to reach new audiences with their work. It’s likely you already know this instinctively. But why is it the case?

Sharing Content is Part of Participating in a Larger Conversation

And then there’s this: done right, sharing others’ content alongside your own can help position you as someone who’s not just pushing self-serving messages out into the world, but actively taking part of a larger conversation. Participate regularly, and you will watch yourself become not just a person sharing or reacting to other people’s content, but someone who is actually a source for opinions and ideas and poised to become an expert source for members of the media. In fact, you can think of participation in a conversation that’s much bigger than you or your brand as a key step on the way toward becoming recognized as a thought expert or a thought leader in your industry.

How to Share Others’ Content Without Being Fake or Creepy

So where do you start? Aim to share high-quality content created by journalists, bloggers and influencers you hope to connect with. But don’t just start blindly retweeting and blasting off Facebook shares. Be thoughtful and intentional about it. Keep in mind:

    • Only share content you genuinely believe will truly interest and benefit your audience.
    • Be sure to tag the author or creator of the content and include a link to the content itself when you share
    • Don’t ask the author or creator for anything
    • Include a comment that makes it clear why you’re sharing this content. What’s great about it? Why do people need to see this? While you may not spell out the complete reason, you want to subtly answer that question when you share.
    • You may not receive a reply from the author/creator, especially if s/he is a high-profile member of the media. Don’t let that discourage you. This is part of a much larger, long-term strategy. Think of your actions as being part of a larger conversation, not as a direct overture to or request from any individual person.
    • Be careful with sharing from your personal Facebook account. Unless you’re connected as friends, most journalists aren’t going to see shares of their content from your personal account, and many traditional media aren’t interested in using their personal Facebook accounts to interact. You may have more luck on Facebook with bloggers and other influencers, but in general, it’s safe to assume (at least for now) that Facebook is a trickier place to network with media and build relationships than Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Instead of investing time into status updates and posts into the regular news feed, keep in mind that you may get more mileage on this platform out of Facebook ads targeted to your audience or networking within private and closed Facebook groups populated with people who are in your target market.

 

Real-World Examples of Sharing That Worked

Got it? Ready to go? Here are a few examples you can use for inspiration as you share content created by others with your own audience:

An entrepreneur sharing a quote from a story in Inc.:

 

A knitter sharing a podcast episode she’s listening to in her studio:

A major business publication retweets a positive comment about a recent story:

An industry thought expert shares a journalist’s story that’s of interest to her audience

Using Google Alerts to Source Sharable Content

There are many ways to source content to share with your audience, the most common of which is to scan your own social media for current posts, new stories, videos and podcasts. Another method to try is using Google Alerts or a similar service to monitor keywords and mining sharable content and new media targets from the results. This can be an efficient (not to mention free) way to gather a high volume of content. For more, check out how to use Google Alerts for effective DIY PR on the PressDope blog.

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