This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.
Despite all the chatter about the importance of social media, traditional news media still command the largest audiences. And the most effective way to provide story ideas to journalists is through email pitches.
Recent media surveys provide some valuable highlights for communicators. The Muck Rack State of Journalism Survey 2019 found targeted (“1:1”) email by far the preferred channel to receive pitches (93%). Every other channel was disliked, as in the graph below. Around 69% of respondents were US-based and 31% in other countries. Total number of respondents was not provided.
Most reporters use media releases to merely provide a useful topic for an article, and they use some of the material in the ensuing story. Content should be tailored for target audiences. 65% of journalists would rather receive customized press releases, than one mass-audience release. If offered an exclusive, 76% of journalists surveyed by Muck Rack said they were more likely to cover a story if offered an exclusive. Around 63% of the journalists told Muck Raxk their relationship with PR firms was mutually beneficial, but they didn’t see it as a partnership. The most preferred time for receiving email pitches is 9-11 am, and with a length of 2-3 paragraphs.
About 73% of journalists said they don’t mind receiving a follow up to a pitch they didn’t initially respond to, and only 12% would prefer to not receive any follow up. Respondents said that content from PR professionals is more shareable as below:
Use of social media
Reporters use social media to develop story ideas and to monitor a topic when working on a story. When reporting on a company, 61% said they consult the company’s social media as part of their background checking. A total of 71% said they track how many times their stories are shared on social media.
PR relationships worthwhile
More than half of respondents said their relationship with PR professionals affected their decision to cover a story. This shows that building a relationship is a valuable way to offset the main objection to media releases, mentioned above, ie that 40% of reporters don’t trust the content. About 39% of respondents said having a positive relationship with a PR professional does not affect their covering of a story,
The most annoying thing for reporters was receiving pitches that are irrelevant to their ‘beat,’ while the other two main annoyances were receiving repeated pitches of the same story and receiving pitch emails that contained poor spelling and grammar.
Anastasiia Polokhlyvets contributed this article. Today, text-only posts in a blog don’t work. At all. As a result, this is
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