3 ways to effectively retweet a journalist

Engaging with writers, editors, and other communications pros on Twitter is easy, but there are several methods. Which of these would work best for you?

Ready to take your engagement on Twitter to the next level in 2013?

By now, we all know how important Twitter is as a tool for both journalists and communication professionals. From the PR side, Twitter is an incredible resource to engage with journalists one on one, build relationships, and position yourself (or your client) as a news source.

At its core, Twitter is simple: It’s all about sharing content. One of the easiest ways to share content is through its retweet function, which the Twitter help page describes as a “reposting of someone else’s tweet.”

There are three main ways to retweet:

1. Native RT. A Native RT is Twitter’s current default option. As you scroll through Twitter and see a tweet you’d like to share, simply click the retweet button and the message will automatically appear on your Twitter feed with the RT icon. Users are not able to edit tweets when they use a Native RT, and Twitter can track these retweets. Using a Native RT is a great way to share a reporter’s content and to get your name on his or her radar.

2. Old Style RT. Before Twitter developed its current RT option, users could edit and modify tweets before sharing them with their followers. The great part about an Old Style RT is that it allows users the chance to add a bit of commentary before the RT to further engage. For example, if a reporter shares a story they’ve written on Twitter, a PR professional can add a personal touch to the tweet with something like “Good read” or “Great story!” This not only gets your name on their radar, but it also personally engages with the reporter with something a bit more memorable than simply sharing their tweet.

3. MT. MT stands for “modified tweet.” Use MT when you’d like to retweet someone, but the retweet goes over the allotted 140 characters, so you need to edit it. MT is especially important when working with journalists on Twitter—even a small change in the language of a tweet can change its context, so if you need to tweak a tweet, be sure to let your followers know.

So which approach is most effective?

I’m partial to the Old Style RT for the following reasons:

  • It allows you to add a personal touch to the tweet.
  • It helps you to build a stronger relationship with the person you are retweeting.
  • If a tweet is very popular, your Native RT may get lost in a sea of RTs, whereas with an Old Style RT, your reply will show up in the journalist’s @replies section.

Be sure to keep in mind that the style of a RT differs depending on what platform and device you choose to use. For example, the Hootsuite iPhone app asks users whether they’d prefer to use an Old Style RT, but Hootsuite for the Web automatically formats tweets in the Old Style format. Whatever platform you prefer, be sure to research your RT options to ensure that you’re using the format that best helps you reach your Twitter goals.

Which retweet approach do you think is most effective?

A version of this article first appeared on Muck Rack. Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. Check out her blog at jessicalawlor.com or follow her on Twitter @JessLaw. (Image via)

Topics: PR

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