Want To Grab Journalists’ Attention? Let Them Tell You How

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People often say that the only thing that’s constant in life is change, and over the three decades I’ve been in the public relations business I definitely have found that to be true with the media landscape.

Those of us in PR are always eager to keep up with the latest media trends, of course, which is why just recently several of our team members at News & Experts sat in on a webinar titled “The State of Journalism 2019.” The webinar, produced by Muck Rack, a company that connects PR professionals with journalists, covered the results of a survey in which journalists explained how they find their news, use social media, and work with PR teams.

We found the webinar so enlightening that I wanted to share some of that information with you so that you, too, are up-to-date on the “state of journalism” and can put that knowledge to use in your own publicity efforts.

Here are just a few of the points that I think are especially valuable for you:

• Where to find journalists on social media. If you want to follow journalists on social media (and you should!), your first stop should be Twitter. It’s by far the most popular platform for them, with 83 percent of the journalists surveyed saying they find it valuable. A distant second was Facebook at 40 percent. (The survey allowed journalists to name more than one platform as valuable, so the numbers add up to more than 100 percent.) LinkedIn came in third, but a site worth keeping an eye on is Instagram, which could be gaining ground. Although right now it ranks fourth as most valuable for journalists, 36 percent of them said they expect to spend more time on it this year. Compare that to Facebook, which is going in the opposite direction; 44 percent say they expect to spend less time on Facebook.
• Elements that make a story shareable on social media. The largest number of journalists surveyed said the top two things that make a story shareable are that it contains an image (78 percent) and that the subject can be connected to a trending story (77 percent). They also emphasized the importance of localizing your pitch when appropriate so that it’s relevant to their target audience (59 percent). One other thing worth noting: About one-fourth of the journalists said brevity helps make a story shareable. This is something we’ve noticed as well. Readers often are in a hurry, so articles that sum up the pertinent facts in fewer words tend to be more popular.
• How to pitch them. Most journalists prefer to be pitched through email, especially a personalized one-to-one email (93 percent), but some are open to being pitched through social media. One of the webinar participants had a great suggestion about social-media pitching: Don’t wait until you have something to pitch to interact with the journalist. Share their posts and, when appropriate, comment on those posts, especially when you have a shared interest that can create a connection between the two of you. When you share or comment on a post, the journalist gets a notification. That way, when you do pitch them, you are a familiar name and they may be more open to listening.

And when do they say is the best time to pitch them? 65 percent prefer the morning, specifically before 11 a.m.

Also, keep those pitches short. One-third of journalists prefer pitches that are just two to three sentences long, and another 61 percent don’t want pitches to go over three paragraphs.

Finally, 47 percent of journalists believe that the way most companies share information with the media is outdated. All the more reason to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the ever-evolving media landscape!
The times they are a-changin’!


P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, or being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 29 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 0, or simply reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you!

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