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Blog post
June 24, 2019

How to use Twitter to approach journalists

As traditional media continues to transition to the digital domain, more journalists are using online platforms like Twitter to share their news stories, find sources and provide real-time updates.

A report in 2013 showed that nearly 60 per cent of journalists worldwide were using Twitter, and they also make up the largest and most active verified group on the social media platform. It’s an important part of connecting with journalists as part of a wider media relations contact strategy.

Journalism is no longer a monologue accompanied by ‘letters to the editor’. Instead, journalists are increasingly engaging in public, two-way communication with decision-makers, businesses and citizens- whether that means seeking out new stories, finding sources for an existing report or taking part in some lively debate.

Build a base of journalists to follow

There are countless journalists out there, and keeping up with them can be difficult – especially if they’re not the only users you follow on Twitter. Media lists, such as in Mediaportal Connect, now include Twitter handles as well as email contacts, so it’s worth looking out for these. Twitter lists, and tools like TweetDeck, also play an integral role.

Create a Twitter list for all the journalists relevant for your business so you can keep an eye on what they are reporting and see if there are any opportunities to connect. If you have multiple types of journalists you are looking to approach – for example, technology journalists or business journalists – then multiple Twitter lists will serve you well. Add each list as an individual column on TweetDeck and you’ll have your finger on the pulse for potential story opportunities.

Lend a helping hand

One of the main reasons journalists are on Twitter is for information, and the best way to build rapport is to provide them with it. Keep an eye on your feed and try to assist whenever possible, whether it’s answering a question they have about a story, sharing images on breaking news or volunteering as a source.

Needless to say, don’t spam them. But if you can be of assistance to them now, it will go a long way in getting your business on the journalist’s radar. Hashtags like #journorequest and #PRrequest are also useful for creating opportunities and building relationships with journalists in order to get your business featured in their stories.

Be an expert

If you’re planning to pitch to a journalist on Twitter, make sure your business or personal profile shows you know what you’re talking about. Journalists want thought leaders in their respective fields, and your Twitter profile should reflect that – retweet stories you find interesting, share the latest posts from your business’s blog and engage in dialogue around key topics in your industry.

Longevity in your Twitter profile also helps, because what journalist would accept a story from a business that last tweeted in 2010?

It comes down to 140 characters

You’ve created lists on Twitter, you use TweetDeck to follow them, you’ve helped your target journalists in abundance and your profile screams “expert” – but pitching is an art form, particularly on Twitter.

Nothing ruins your hard work like a pitch that says “Hi @reporter, I have a good story for you – please DM me” or having the same pitch appear 100 times in your Twitter feed. When it comes to pitching journalists, keep it short, sweet and follow up on email.

If you can relate your pitch to #trending or breaking news in a clear way, all the better – this gives your pitch extra relevance.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged. If your pitch doesn’t gain traction, wait a while, adjust your approach and try again.

“Pitching is an art, and in this case, practice (and experience) makes perfect.”

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Remote work has evolved from a novel concept to one that is more widely accepted and normalised over the past few years. But what are people saying about digital nomadism, the agile lifestyle facilitated by remote work? What do people think of being allowed to work from anywhere and travel the world while holding the same remote job? Is it as exciting as it’s hyped up to be, or are people beginning to see the challenges around constantly finding themselves alone in a new place?  

In a blog post from our sister company Pulsar, social, news and audience data show limited interest in alternative working arrangements from 2016 until 2020. Interest in the digital nomad lifestyle gradually gained prominence in niche communities, starting from co-working space users in 2016, becoming a valid lifestyle option for developers and tech entrepreneurs in 2019, and eventually pushed into the mainstream in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, further propelled by buzz amongst cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies and employees had to quickly rethink their working arrangements and setups, with most employees transitioning to remote working from home. Many others, however, saw the pandemic as a great reset in their professional and personal lives and decided to prioritise well-being and travel.

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What are the biggest challenges of being a Digital Nomad?

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But it’s not all fun and games: analysis of the Digital Nomads' conversation across Twitter from February 1st to May 2nd for the years 2016, 2019 and 2022 shows three of the most-discussed issues regarding being a digital nomad are obstacles: Visa, Loneliness, and Accommodation. Independent living has been one of the biggest concerns in the past few years.

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What's going on in Asia, then?

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In the case of Malaysia and Singapore, we find that some workers who were previously commuting between the two countries have found a new way of working.

There are also mixed sentiments from locals on the presence of expats. For instance, due to an influx of digital nomads, prices have risen significantly in many areas in  Malaysia and Singapore. One person on Twitter noted that they realised that the problem in Malaysia is the salary, not the cost of living. 

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In the case of Malaysia and Singapore, we find that some workers who were previously commuting between the two countries have found a new way of working.

There are also mixed sentiments from locals on the presence of expats. For instance, due to an influx of digital nomads, prices have risen significantly in many areas in  Malaysia and Singapore. One person on Twitter noted that they realised that the problem in Malaysia is the salary, not the cost of living. 

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Malaysian and Singaporean social media note that Bali, Indonesia, is a hotspot for digital nomads.

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Some online news outlets have noted that being a digital nomad is now in the mainstream. It has become so popular that Indonesia's Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno has sped up the digital nomad visa planning to promote tourism in Indonesia, specifically in Bali. Other businesses are attempting to cash in on this trend and encourage digital nomads worldwide to stay and spend.

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Indonesia is among the countries that offer special digital nomad visas, with benefits including extended stays for up to five years and tax exemptions. 

Some workers from Malaysia and Singapore have begun to adopt remote working, including several Reddit users. One even shared their first experience as a digital nomad in Boracay, Philippines.

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For most people, the lure of the open road and less-than-staying-at-home tend to be alluring. Digital nomads like the freedom to do whatever they please as long as things are functional. 

The nomadic lifestyle works very well in many ways, but it can improve by adding some extra comforts.

With the flexibility to choose the location they want to work and the type of work they want to do, digital nomads have many options. And once they find a company they like and that work well with their schedule, they can often stick with them as they work remotely.

The rise of "slowmad"-specific visas, such as in Indonesia, which allow employees to remain in specified locations for a long time without becoming subject to a nation's taxes or laws, is partly responsible for the increased digital nomad conversations, as shown in the data above. Using Pulsar TRAC, we can witness such on-ground discussions in Asia and globally.

If you’re interested in learning more about this dataset, or discovering how social data can lead to insights across technology, consulting and several other spaces, please reach out to sea.sales@isentia.com.

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Blog
Digital nomads: Transforming working cultures from Singapore to Bali

The cultural dynamics of work have changed. This changing landscape has given rise to the trend of digital nomads in Southeast Asia.

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Next week’s Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

The government has strongly advocated for building a more resilient economy than their predecessors, yet in recent months, the economy is suffering due to a rapid rise in inflation. This has pushed up interest rates and is squeezing the cost of living with both consumers and businesses feeling the pressure. 

Following groceries, the leading financial stressors for Australians are petrol, rent, mortgage payments and energy bills. And just to make ends meet, Aussies are making more considered purchases, seeking higher paying employment or working multiple jobs. Australians are already anxious about inflation with growing concern there’s no end in sight. 

Will the government restore their trust in Australians and keep their pre Federal Budget promises?

Cost of living crisis

Latest data from CHOICE’s Consumer Pulse survey, revealed that cost of living pressures are a major concern, with 90% of Australians seeing an increase in their household bills and expenses over the past year. 

Inflation pressures are intensifying and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) continues to drive up interest rates - their highest level in 7 years. The government has promised a long-term and sustainable approach to cost of living support in the form of a relief package. 

Concerned about their mortgage payments, up to a third of mortgage holders could struggle to keep up with future repayments, with younger generations particularly concerned about surging interest rates. 

Using Isentia data, during an eight week period from early August to early October 2022, 18% of Australia’s front pages featured cost of living stories. Even in a time of large local and international news such as the war on Ukraine and the Optus security breach, the cost of living crisis was still making front page news.

According to Pulsar data, anxieties around the cost of living, peaked following the RBA's interest rate announcements on 4 September and 4 October. For the sixth consecutive month, Australians have had to tighten an already lean household budget.

Apprehensions around security increased on 24 September as a result of the Optus security breach and again on 10 October when the government announced changes to the country's defence projects.  Also on 10 October, cost of living concerns spiked after growing speculation surrounding the Stage 3 tax cuts being recalibrated. Australians also felt a heightened sense of unease after the announcement of a future surge in energy costs, following a recent  35% rise.

Topics causing anxiety this Federal Budget
Anxieties surrounding topics mentioned by the government. Source: Pulsar

Childcare fees are at their highest in 8 years, with child care subsidies failing to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum. On 16 September, conversation around child care spiked, as Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised to reduce the cost of childcare, yet pledged to keep spending restrained in light of budgetary constraints. 

As part of the cost of living relief package, this reduction won't come into play until mid 2023. Can Australian families wait this long?

Problematic climate conditions such as excessive rain and floods are leading to localised food price increases and diminished food quality. Even in the same area, poorer households are faring far worse than affluent counterparts. Across the board, there has been  a surge in the cost of fruit and vegetable prices (7.3%) and meat, seafood and bread rising by 6.3%

On top of these climate issues, labour shortages in both warehousing and transportation have resulted in added disruption to the supply chain. Freight costs are on the rise, putting intense pressure on importers and exporters. 

Are Aussie consumers looking at a continued supply chain that is more disruptive than the 2020 toilet paper shortage? The rise in the cost of living weighs on households' spending, and Australians are seeking alternate ways to make extra cash.

The thrifty shopper

As the cost of living rises, many Australians are seeking alternate ways to make or save cash; trimming budgets where they can; cancelling home entertainment subscriptions, and reducing insurance coverage for lower fees to name a few. Purchases at all levels are becoming more involved and highly considered, with discounts heavily sought after.

As Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are gaining more buying power, their passion for sustainable commerce is stronger than ever. Selling personal items to make extra cash has been on the rise with retail e-commerce platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and ‘Recommerce’ platforms like AirRobe, are booming. Not only are Australians becoming more financially savvy, they are conscious of the need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ - a criteria these platforms adopt.

Following the money

There’s no doubt that inflation is changing salary expectations. And for those in industries where movement and remote working is possible, many Australians are following the money.

Data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, shows organisations have reported higher rates of employees leaving to achieve higher pay packets as a way to provide temporary relief for  the rise in cost of living. Interestingly, this higher voluntary turnover was especially concentrated in professional services. 

In response to labour shortages, organisations are implementing a range of non-base wage strategies - e.g bonuses, flexible work practices, more internal training and hiring staff with less experience, as opposed to increasing base wages.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show Australians are taking on multiple jobs, as full-time work forces employees to juggle several roles to make ends meet. Although multiple job holding is more common in low-paid industries, a record high of 900,000 people held multiple jobs in the June quarter of 2022. 

This is an increase of 4.3 per cent from the previous quarter and is a reflection of wages growth stagnating and nominal wages barely keeping up with consumer prices. The result; people needing to work more hours to make ends meet. 

Using data insights from Pulsar, wages is one of the ‘most anticipated’ topics in this year’s Budget. The Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.7 per cent in the June quarter and 2.6 per cent over the year, which represented a substantial fall in real wages given inflation rose 6.1 per cent last quarter. 

Social media conversation around wages is evolving with other indicators suggesting wages are still climbing alongside extreme uncertainty surrounding global growth and rampant inflation. 

Will Australians see more dollars in their pocket after the Budget is handed down?

The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget.
The "most anticipated" topics in this year's Federal Budget. This is a visual representation of the conversation frequency of topics over time. Source: Pulsar

Australians taking action

With Australians taking a greater interest in living a sustainable lifestyle, the government and organisations are prompted to influence the lever of positive change and create actionable outcomes.

Despite a great deal of politicians pledging change, governments are often swayed by the media and public opinion which can derail policies wanting to address complex, longer-term challenges. Millennials and Gen Zs have long pushed to see societal and economic change. 

Results from the 10th Annual Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shows they are increasingly becoming more politically involved. These influential cohorts are progressively showing interest in political issues, and turning to social media to discuss their opinions. Moreover, they are consciously making calculated career decisions and spending their money with organisations who share the same values.

The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online and social media.
The top keywords used by key communities discussing the Federal Budget online. Source: Pulsar

Social engagement shows left wing millennials are showing concern over the budget and economic issues, with Treasurer, Jim Chalmers gaining the most chatter. Similarly, baby boomers are equally vocal, using the same keywords as millennials but they also seek strong leadership and a strong economy.

For younger demographics, their interactions or relationships with organisations is dependent on the organisation's treatment of the environment, their policies on data privacy and their position on social and political issues. 

For governments, tackling environmental, economic and social issues and their impact requires a huge transformation across all sectors. Market forces alone will not solve the problem, and the onus is on governments to take a lead to meet the sustainability challenge. 

The October Federal Budget is an opportunity for the government to show they are the lever of change by creating actionable outcomes and a positive impact. Australians are concerned for the welfare of the country and previous governments have fallen short. 

The government promises to back clean energy and build new renewable infrastructure across the country, will they succeed or disappoint?

The Federal Budget can be an overwhelming time, with an abundance of promises and policies, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest news. We have a comprehensive range of political news services available to help you navigate the political media coverage at this October Federal Budget. Want to learn what’s being said at this Federal Budget?

Click here to start navigating the announcements that may impact your organisation.

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Blog
How concerned are Australians about the Federal Budget?

The upcoming October Federal Budget has many Australians wondering how they will be affected. 

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The state of the electric vehicle industry in Malaysia

Malaysia's automotive industry is one of the more environmentally-friendly industries. Various parties, such as the government and local automotive industry players, have continuously sought to promote electric vehicles (EVs). 

The subject of electric vehicles (EV) is growing among the Malaysian public in the social media sphere due to continuous efforts to promote EVs by various parties such as the government, local automotive industry players as well as companies directly involved in several aspects of EV (charging facilities/networks etc.)


Using data from Pulsar, Isentia analysed the conversations surrounding the topic of EV amongst Malaysia's social media users.

 

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How did discussions involving electric vehicles in Malaysia go?

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In this word bank powered by Isentia’s vast datasets, some of the most common keywords used by Malaysians when discussing EVs, apart from the topic itself, are 'drive', 'chargers', and 'battery'. EV is also associated with ‘future’ and ‘expensive’.

Across the country, social media users agreed that Malaysia is lagging behind neighbouring nations (such as Indonesia and Thailand) in EV facilities and vehicle development. They also agree that EVs are only accessible to rich people in the country because of a lack of affordable options and that the Malaysian government and other players should do more to promote electric vehicles as a practical form of transportation.

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What are the audience segments that have been talking about electric cars online?

Malaysian social media users who are more interested in electric vehicles are most interested in watching movies and TV. The three main audience segments include the Conservatives, Technology Enthusiasts, and Innovation Seekers. They are predominantly male audiences aged between 18 and 24. 

They also have high media affinity with Malaysia's prominent media outlets, such as Astro Awani, Bernama, and technology-focused outlets, such as Amanz and Digital News Asia.

 

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Conservatives follow social media accounts of mainstream news outlets and the government (ministers, ministries, agencies etc.) They believe government policies would benefit their daily lives, such as EV-related ones.

Technology enthusiasts seek out exciting posts on new technologies and actively participate in discussions surrounding them. They are advocates of technologies that would make the environment that they live in better, as well as efficient technologies.

Innovation seekers are actively sharing news and involved in conversations about innovations that enhance the development of industries relying on the newest technology. They tend to evolve their lifestyles accordingly and embrace innovations available at their disposal.

 

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What are the catalysts of EV discussions among Malaysians?

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Several points between April and July 2022 peaked due to active discussions among Malaysians on EV:

Launch of Automotive High-Tech Valley on 14 April - The launch would assist in positioning Malaysia as a hub for EV manufacturers and component suppliers to the ASEAN market.

Foxconn announced plans to build a facility in Malaysia on 19 May - Taiwanese company Foxconn plans to build a chip production facility in Malaysia with Malaysia's Dagang NeXchange Berhad to fulfil the demand for EV semiconductors.

Criticism of parking at charging facilities on 10 June - There was criticism towards road users in Malaysia who parked their vehicles at EV charging facilities.

Samsung develops plant in Malaysia on 21 June - Samsung SDI Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd announced that they are developing a RM7 billion plant in Negeri Sembilan to pioneer the EV battery cell industry in the country.

First Range Extended EV developed in Malaysia on 21 July - Mimos Berhad has developed the first Range Extended Electric Vehicle (RE-EV) in Malaysia with the cooperation of Motosikal dan Enjin Nasional Sdn Bhd (Modenas) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).

Get in touch with Isentia today to learn more about what consumers are saying about your brand. 

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Electric vehicle conversations in Malaysia’s social media

Sustainability is a key issue in society these days. What electric vehicle topics are Malaysians talking about in social media?

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How the recent Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code is changing the rules around influencer marketing and skincare advertising in Australia.

What has an influencer endorsement or testimonial influenced you to buy lately? Would you have purchased it otherwise? Well, you may see less of this type of advertising in the coming years in Australia. Using Pulsar's recent report on the online conversation on sunscreen and SPF, we can understand how audience intelligence and media monitoring can help organisations direct and target their messaging and operations in response to (for example) significant regulatory changes. 

Last year the Therapeutic Goods Administration announced the release of the new Therapeutic Advertising Code that came into A pivotal reform to the code involves restrictions on testimonials and endorsements of therapeutic goods in advertising, including social media. Influencers were flurrying about how they would continue to promote therapeutic products like sunscreens, skinny teas, collagen powders and the like within Australia. 

The code allows for genuine, unpaid testimonials in advertising. Still, it prohibits influencers from making testimonials or endorsements based on their own experiences due to using a product. They can only stick to communicating the product's aims and purpose as claimed by the product's labelling and instructions. The recommendation must also align with the product's purpose, as the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods records.

So why is this happening, and how can influencers still operate under these new regulations? The TGA ensures that consumers can trust that recommendations are unbiased without the influence of incentives, including gifts. There is a further requirement for social media influencers to include mandatory statements in their advertisements depending on the type of product and its availability to the public. The TGA also highlighted that they aren't making any unusual changes but are just aligning advertising on new platforms with code that previously targeted more traditional forms of advertising.

The code requires all testimonials that are in breach to have been taken down by July 1st.

But some influencers have not taken to the new regulations well, believing the new rules will hinder a critical source of information for consumers and audiences. Australian sunscreen (Naked Sundays) owner Samantha Brett, told the Sydney Morning Herald Emerald City she believes sunscreen should be exempt from the laws asking, "How else will those who are influenced by social media, particularly Millennials who are most at risk of melanoma, be encouraged to use sunscreen every day."

On August 22nd, Got-to Skincare's founder Zoe Foster Blake posted a statement on Instagram to announce the release of a new SPF 50 sunscreen product and how the code impinges people's sun protection practices and knowledge.

“I believe elements of the code have the potential to reverse the momentum public health, cancer awareness groups, and skin specialists have been building for years to ensure Australians wear sunscreen daily”.

Foster-Blake goes on to highlight how some still find sunscreen polarising and unappealing. 

“Many consumers still believe sunscreen is gross, thick, greasy. It’s not.”

But are younger demographics, influenced by social media, confused about sunscreen use? Social discussion would say the answer is yes. Where to apply, how many times to reapply and in what settings is wearing sunscreen necessary are some questions people are asking.

Social media conversation around sunscreen is evolving and recorded by Pulsar as a therapeutic good that goes beyond a necessary use case. Sunscreen is feeling the influences of climate change activists and holistic beauty trend-setters tied to long-term health values.

@sethobrien using the recommended amount of sunscreen for the first time #skincare @cerave ♬ original sound - Sethobrien

Promoting sunscreen and daily SPF use on social media has a positive impact on long-term health and beauty maintenance and protection against skin cancers; 51.1% of Australians' reasons for applying sunscreen, as discussed in online conversation, is to protect against skin cancers.

There is still confusion around SPF levels and growing concerns around online conversation promoting misinformation that sunscreen use increases the likelihood of ailments like melanoma, reportedly one of the most common cancers in young adults.

Social media conversation and prolific posting of beauty & wellness-related content frame spaces where skincare brands can find their niche. Brands like Cerave and Supergoop are finding ways to differentiate their branding to appeal to specific communities (meet their communities in the full report). Is this new code holding social media influencers to account for their sway over masses of followers? Or is it taking away a vital information-sharing source? Time will tell if the regulations will significantly impact beauty and wellness influencer marketing in Australia. However, the effects may be taking hold now. If you look up sunscreen and SPF on tiktok, you will notice a decrease in related content since the end of 2021.

Avoid the risk of getting burnt and check the code to ensure you’re not in breach.

Discover the full report

Want to understand how therapeutic goods are driving beauty trends and changing the intersection between health and beauty? Download Pulsar’s report “Applying audience intelligence to Sunscreen”.

Contact Isentia to stay on top of media topics that impact your organisation!

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Will wellness brands need to rethink how they use and apply influencer marketing?

Have influencers shaped your buying decisions? Learn how the new Therapeutic Advertising Code impacts influencer marketing in Australia.

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