MBP and Eurosite have collaborated on two guides to social media use by wetland centres and nature reserves. You can read part one here. In 2021 we made the more advanced guide. We asked MBP and Eurosite members what they would like from such a guide and created the chapters you see on this page.
We are releasing the chapter each week between the MBP annual Meeting 2021 and the end of the year, with a downloadable PDF available in January 2022.
It is possible, but difficult, to use social media to get the attention of journalists. It may be possible to reach local media with news of visitor activities, or appealing photographs. In most cases there are more direct ways of reaching them with these updates.
Manage your expectations. Social media is not the most direct way to reach journalists. For national outlets, contacting a press agency is often more effective. The first line of a press release is not much longer than a Tweet, but it may carry the information you wish to get across more directly to the right person.
- Supporters in a personal capacity
- They cover an environmental ‘beat’
- They are local journalists
- They are picture editors
In all these cases, the journalist likely follows many people and places; it is hard to stand out to them.
You can use social media to build relationships with journalists, which would then move beyond social media to more direct contact methods.
Asking them to follow you (they might say no – do not take this personally!); then sending them direct messages (DMs), and eventually emails. They may share their professional email address, and if they like what you provide, they may share contact details for editorial functions such as the picture desk, the duty editor, or the editorial coordinator; all those these would be shared inboxes. This means that by emailing them you have multiple chances of getting your message to people who can publish it.
Twitter lists: See Guide Part 1 Page 10); consider making a Twitter list of relevant journalists.
Being reported for trending
Some media outlets share Tweets about a current trending topic. This means a relatively large number of people are commenting about the topic. If this is your reserve or visitor centre, it may be praise or it may be criticism, so there is a risk involved.
The other possibility for being shared on websites is by being humorous and innovative. This is a full-time job! An example is the Museum of English Rural Life.
They promptly engage in trending topics – this requires staffing by a ‘digital native’, always watching for trends, with a large supply of work-related photos to hand. The tweets are witty, kind, and reinforce the value of the museum, in a manner that allows a wide segment of potential visitors follow.