Press releases remain the top source for journalists looking for stories, according to Cision’s recently released 2022 State of the Media report.
More than a third (37 percent) of the 3,890 respondents to Cision’s survey said they consider press releases to be the most useful way for them to find out about and generate story ideas. The study also found that more than three out of four journalists want to receive press releases from brands and PR pros.
Other preferred sources include industry experts (23 percent), wire services (15 percent), internal spokespeople (13 percent) and email pitches (12 percent). Company social media channels and websites were only mentioned by seven percent.
The State of the Media report looked at the challenges that journalists currently face and came up with some strategies for how communicators can adapt to those needs when they pitch stories.
The top obstacle that survey respondents said they face is maintaining their credibility as trusted news sources in a media landscape dominated by accusations of “fake news,” with 32 percent calling that their biggest challenge over the past 12 months.
Other hurdles include a lack of staffing and resources and declining advertising and circulation revenues (both cited by 16 percent of respondents). Those challenges, the study’s authors say, have created an environment in which journalists have more work, fewer resources and are under increasing pressure to perform.
That makes the job of getting the attention of those journalists more challenging as well. The report stresses that communicators do their homework about the reporters they target by checking out their online profiles, reviewing their past stories, looking at their social media activity and getting a handle on what a particular journalist is planning to cover.
The study also suggests lightening up on the number of times you follow up after sending a pitch. More than three in ten respondents (31 percent) say they don’t want to receive follow-ups at all, with 55 percent saying that one follow-up is all that they want to see. In addition, almost half (48 percent) say they block those who repeatedly send them follow-ups.
Providing multimedia, on the other hand, increases the chances that a journalist will take notice. Putting in one image, the study says, doubles the engagement with a pitch, while a video makes it three times more likely that a journalist will engage with a pitch.
But not all multimedia is equal. The study notes that high-resolution images are a must, as is including captions and credits for any visuals you send. PR pros should also make sure that journalists do not need to register or get special permission to access images, and the study suggests that pitches include links to photos or videos rather than directly attaching them.
The Cision 2022 State of the Media report surveyed journalists from 17 markets including US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, China and Australia in January and February 2022.