Journalists and PR professionals have a symbiotic relationship. At times, there might be tensions between both parties but at the end of the day, both sides know the need of building a cohesive strong relationship. According to Cision's 2022 Global State of the Media report, 18% of journalists said their relationships with PR professionals have gotten more valuable in the last year. This is especially so as journalists fight to maintain credibility as trusted news sources (32%) and combat accusations of fake news. At the same time, journalists also cite the impact that smaller staffs and fewer resources are having on their workloads. In fact, three in 10 journalists are filing 10 or more stories per week.
With the evolution of news, Facebook (76%) has also come out on top as the platform journalists in Asia Pacific use most often for professional reasons. This is also the same globally (63%). According to the report, Facebook is often used for sourcing information, interacting with audience, and publishing or promoting content. The next most popular platform among journalists in Asia Pacific is Instagram (60%), WhatsApp (45%), LinkedIn (43%), YouTube (42%), and Twitter (40%). While 23% find it acceptable to be contacted via social media, 34% don't prefer this option, and 12% will even go so far as to block a PR professional who tries to slide into their DMs. For more than one in four journalists, what makes or breaks a successful social media connection depends on the approach.
Meanwhile, if you are looking to build better relationships with your media contacts, here are five things to take note of.
1. Stop spamming with irrelevant pitches
According to the report, 74% of journalists won't tolerate irrelevant pitches and 91% say only about half the pitches they receive are relevant to their audience or sector.
Nearly half of journalists (46%) receive more than 50 pitches a week and they're not just email. Phone calls and social media messages are also part of the deluge. The report, which surveyed 3,890 respondents in 17 markets globally including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, found that 22% of journalists get more than 100 pitches per week.
2. Stay on deadline
Without a doubt, deadlines are crucial to journalists and the report found that if you don't respect journalists' time, 22% of them won't make time for you. Also, 55% said one follow-up is enough and 14% said twice is okay. Interestingly, 31% of journalists said "thanks, but no thanks" to following up altogether. While some journalists have no qualms about being contacted on social media, 18% are not comfortable with it at all.
3. Avoid jargon
Slightly more than half of journalists (51%) have no tolerance for pitches rife with cliches, jargon and clickbait-sounding subject lines. Stay away from words such as "groundbreaking", "unique", "leading", "best", "revolutionary", "synergy", "unprecedented", and "diversity". In fact, one in two will even block a PR professional whose pitches sound too much like straight marketing and not enough such as actual news.
To capture journalists' attention, use action words instead. According to years of analysis from PR Newswire, a press release distribution service under Cision, words including "allow", "reveal", "announce", "confirm", "show", "rolls out", and "release" see the most engagement.
4. Stop dodging inquiries or providing inaccurate information
Nearly half of journalists (42%) won't stand for PR professionals who aren't direct or easy to get a hold of. Also, given how critical credibility and audience trust is for the media, it should come as no surprise that 60% of journalists find it inexcusable for PR professionals to provide them with inaccurate or unsourced information.
5. Give them what they want
Not surprisingly, 76% of journalists cited press releases as the type of content they want most from brands and PR professionals. This was followed by original research reports on trends and market data (63%), and opportunities to attend brand or company events (49%). Close to half of journalists (49%) expect to attend more in-person events as they return to calendars. Initial ideas for story development as well as photo images and logos rounded out the top five answers.
When asked about the sources they find most useful for generating stories or story ideas, press releases again came in at number one, cited by 37% of journalists. Industry experts were also high on the list (23%), followed by major wire services (15%). Internal spokespeople (13%) and email pitches (12%) rounded out the top five.
Photo courtesy: 123RF
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