What do journalists want from PR professionals? Looking at Cision’s 2022 Global State of the Media Report

We take a look at Cision’s 2022 Global State of the Media Report to see how PR professionals and journalists can collaborate more easily

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Media monitoring and insights platform, Cision, has released its 2022 Global State of the Media Report, surveying over 3,800 journalists and media professionals on topics ranging from the current obstacles they’re facing, to the best way PR professionals can work with them. 

It’s packed full of stats and anecdotes from journalists that are really helpful for brands that rely on relationships with journalists for coverage, and you can access the full report here, but I’ve picked out a few key areas to take a closer look at.

Making journalists’ jobs easier

Journalists are under increasing pressure to attract audiences and drive engagement, but they’re also being expected to do so with fewer resources, and smaller staff counts. 

When asked what they believe was the biggest challenge for journalism in the past year, the most popular answer at 32%, was maintaining credibility as a trusted news source/combating accusations of “fake news”. In second and third place, both with 16%, were a lack of staffing and resources, and declining advertising revenues.

So what can PR professionals do to alleviate these struggles and put themselves in better stead with journalists? 

When it comes to lack of staffing, that of course means more work per person, and therefore less time available, so doing all you can to make their life easier is a good start. Go the extra mile and think about what other information they might need for their piece, and never make them chase you for the details, or for extras like photos for example. Put simply, if you can serve it on a plate to them you’ve got a better chance of it being used. 

When it comes to the fight against fake news, do your due diligence. Get your information from reputable sources and make sure you’re citing these sources before you send anything over to a journalist. 

Working with journalists on social media

The report also takes a look at ways in which journalists and PR pros interact, with some very telling stats and often blunt anecdotes about what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. 

Cision asked journalists if and how they were using social media for work, and which social platforms they use most. I was a bit surprised to see Facebook in first place, with 63% of journalists using it most often for professional reasons (including sourcing information, interacting with their audience, or promoting content), followed by Twitter at 59% and LinkedIn at 56%.

For me, the most interesting part of this section of the report though, was about direct messages. When asked how they prefer to be contacted via social media, 1 in 4 journalists found DMs to be acceptable. 1 in 3 would prefer you didn’t, but 12% would go as far as to block you! 

I think it’s about applying a bit of common sense. I’d never even think about sending a private Facebook or Instagram message to a journalist, but sending a direct message via LinkedIn with something particularly valuable and personal, is a little bit different – especially if you’re already connected with them on the network. 

How PR professionals can better work with journalists 

There’s a notorious “can’t live with them can’t live without them” feel between journalists and PR experts, and Cision asked journalists what PR pros could do to improve relationships with journalists:

he top three answers certainly hint at the frustration journalists feel about those in public relations. Understanding the target audience, providing data sources, and not spamming them you would think (hope!) would all go without saying. Number 4, providing a list of upcoming stories they have planned to gauge interest levels, is a bit more positive, and something that’s worth remembering. Whatever you’re pitching, bear in mind that you are essentially approaching someone hoping that that person is going to be interested in the exact thing you’re pitching, at that time, which, regardless of how interesting it is, has the odds stacked against it. Working ahead of time, with a variety of topics and dates, naturally gives you a better shot. 

I also thought this next question was interesting:   

I wondered whether opportunities to attend brand/company events made it so high up the list due to a lack of in-person events over the past couple of years.

This list also serves as a reminder not to overcomplicate things. You’ll hear a lot about the death of the press release, but this is still the preferred way to get information across (just don’t do it via a Facebook DM or you might get blocked!) 

This section of the report also contains plenty of opinions on some mistakes to avoid. 

High up the list of bugbears is irrelevant pitches, with nearly three quarters of journalists (74%) saying they won’t tolerate it. More than half of those surveyed (51%) won’t put up with pitches that sound like marketing brochures, filled with cliches, jargon and clickbait-sounding subject lines. Following up repeatedly was another one amongst the top pet hates, with 48% claiming that one too many follow-ups is enough for them to block you permanently.

Worryingly, calling them by the wrong name made it onto this list too. For 16% of journalists, it’s unforgivable – oops! Check, check and check again!

To read more findings from this report, download it here



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