In today's fast-paced media landscape, PR professionals constantly seek innovative ways to captivate journalists and amplify their clients' stories. From compelling subject lines to scouring Cision and MuckRack for the perfect lead, finding the most appropriate reporter at the right time can often be difficult – to say the least. Yet, amidst an ever-growing array of social media platforms, TikTok has emerged as a game-changer for the public relations industry. This short-form video app transcends its reputation for viral dances and comedy skits, offering a fresh approach to targeting and pitching the media. This post, will explore how TikTok has revolutionized the PR world, providing a new avenue for connecting with reporters, sharing valuable news, and staying ahead of the curve in an evolving digital landscape.
With the evolution of social media, communication has significantly advanced, with PR professionals and journalists finding one solid common ground – sharing worthwhile news. From Twitter and LinkedIn to YouTube and Meta, publishing information has never been easier or faster, since the early days of the social media boom.
In fact, one platform has taken the lead in offering, yet educational content, that both PR professionals and reporters find value in: TikTok.
This social media platform is more than just viral dances and comedic content. TikTok is being utilized as a search engine, marketing tool and, for some in the PR field, a new approach to targeting and pitching the media.
TikTok as a Generational Lesson
Several trends have taken the PR world by storm. However, TikTok remains one of the most notable. Fred Cook, director of the USC Center for Public Relations at the University of Southern California, whp joined as a recent guest on The Pollack Group's new podcast, ImPRressions, explained why it's vital for agencies to stay up-to-date, "The demographics have changed remarkably and we have younger generations who do not watch television, do not read magazines or newspapers and, as such, understanding how those people receive information is critically important."
When done correctly, TikTok offers journalists the opportunity to share news and trends with a broader audience. And PR professionals are noticing...
CNN anchor, Max Foster, was one of the first reporters utilizing the platform to share news and find inspiration for upcoming stories. Foster explained through his TikTok account, which has over one million followers, "People think that you can't discuss complicated topics on TikTok, but that's not true. You just have to do it in a way that's engaging, and that's what we should be doing as journalists anyway."
How to Effectively Utilize TikTok as a Pitching Tool
Like other mediums such as email, PR professionals must harness TikTok outreach appropriately. Sending a DM is not enough to attract a response from a prominent journalist. Regular engagement and communication are crucial to getting noticed by the media and building trust.
Additionally, due to TikTok's supreme algorithm, the platform expertly pairs content with its appropriate audience. Therefore, it's not only beneficial for PR professionals to follow and engage with targeted reporters, but also to create inspiring and compelling content relevant to the industry they seek coverage in.
Pitching through a social media platform should be no different than traditional methods. Social media opens another door of communication to the world of journalism but should be utilized respectfully by PR professionals.
The Future of TikTok
While government officials discuss a potential ban of TikTok, this would affect thousands of content creators and influencers, with repercussions to the PR industry. As TikTok executives continue to drive the narrative of improved user security and privacy, the question remains – will it be enough?
TikTok's meteoric rise has provided PR professionals with a powerful platform on which to engage with journalists and enhance their clients' visibility. As the future of TikTok remains uncertain, PR professionals must seize the opportunity and harness the platform's potential while they can, ensuring that they continue to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing industry. The removal of the powerhouse social app would change the course of marketing, influencer relations, and public relations as we know it. Our advice; begin pitching on the platform while you still can.