Last week I attended Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media live event. This addressed public (dis)trust and freedom of the press and what journalists want from PR pros, before looking ahead to the year ahead.
It’s been a year like no other. The global pandemic aside, we’ve had the Brexit deadline, political fallouts and resignations, a bizarre US-Presidential election, ongoing threats of war in the Middle East, bush fires raging in Australia, and scandal engulfing the Royal Family. It seems there’s been an infinite supply of crises.
Yet, Covid-19 forced many newsrooms to quickly, and in some cases quite effortlessly, revert to a working-from-home model, much like the large corporate offices they were reporting on. Whilst working from home, it was left to PR professionals to help make the lives of journalists that little bit easier.
Key findings from Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media report
Cision’s downloadable ‘State of the Media’ report found that nearly half of journalists cover 5+ beats and file 7+ stories per week. They’re looking for press releases (according to 78%) and original research (68%) along with multimedia elements and, despite the uncertain landscape, invites to interview experts or attend events.
Journalists are both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by pitches. More than 1 in 4 journalists (27%) receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance. And, contrary to popular belief, a sizeable percentage say they like receiving pitches on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
As a result of this highly competitive landscape, PR pros should avoid sending spam – pitches that demonstrate little or no understanding of the audience or following up repeatedly.
What do journalists want?
It sounds a cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true; the key is doing the simple things well and doing them consistently. When pitching a story, think ‘will this be of interest to the readers?’ Be aware, too, of the political stance of a publication and its readers. For example, the likes of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph have historically been more conservative, whereas The I or The Guardian are more liberal. This knowledge can help determine who and who you don’t target commentary with. It’s about being smart.
PR has a significant role and indeed a responsibility in helping shape the news agenda with informative, reliable, and targeted stories. The media has the power to shape what people think, talk about, and can also shape consumer habits. Let’s help them set the scene.
Magenta offers expert PR and communications support for the workplace and the built environment. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your business.