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A media pitch cheat sheet for PR and comms professionals

A media pitch cheat sheet for PR and comms professionals

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With the media landscape changing, the requirements journalists have of PR professionals have also evolved. Currently one in two journalists are inundated with more than 50 pitches per week; yet only a fraction of these have any relevance to the topics they cover. While the vast majority of journalists prefer email outreach, they are more divided on their follow-up preferences.

So what exactly do journalists want from PR professionals?

Well for one, and surprisingly for many, they still value the press release. According to Cision’s 2024 State of Media report, 74% of global journalists want press releases on news announcements.

This is followed by original research (61%) and exclusives for stories (55%). Around 68% of journalists interviewed still saw press releases as a key source of generating ideas, followed by direct pitches and industry experts both tying at 47%.

Most journalists also want a PR professional to follow up only once after the pitch is made, while the vast majority prefer being reached by email. Sadly, most journalists only consider less than 25% of pitches to even be relevant to them.

How to win over journalists

Currently, only 7% of journalists consider pitches to be relevant more than half the time, so it makes sense that “understand my audience and what they find relevant” is the number one way PR professionals can make journalists’ lives easier. But the opportunities to provide added value to journalists don’t end there, as this chart shows:

Multimedia matters

Not only do journalists find value in the multimedia elements PR teams provide, but the right multimedia can be a deciding factor on whether to cover your story. Images are by far the most popular form of multimedia, with data visualisations/infographics and videos following.

Meanwhile here’s a list of what not to do and the behaviours they won’t tolerate. Given their overflowing inboxes, it follows that getting “spammed” with irrelevant pitches is first on the list.

Cision conducted its 2024 State of the Media survey in January and February of 2024. This year’s survey collected responses from 3,016 respondents in 19 markets across the globe: US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

For select questions throughout this report, respondents were permitted to choose more than one answer, resulting in percentages exceeding 100%.

Related articles:

Malaysia plans to amend Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to cope with 'unethical journalism'
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