The more you can give journalists what they want, the better your chances of that all-important coverage.
London-based PR agency ON-Broadcast conducted a qualitative survey of journalists working for British broadcast outlets, and national daily and Sunday newspapers, including BBC News, ITV News and Sky News.
It found nearly two-thirds (64%) of journalists think that PR professionals “don’t understand what a story is.”
Additional complaints from journalists include PR professionals who “don’t understand my media title” (62%), “they try to tell me what a story is” (54%), “they don’t provide full contact details including phone number” (48%) and “they put unnecessary embargoes on stories” (44%).
The survey also found that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the most important sources for news, with 78% of journalists finding stories on social media. Additional story sources include personal contacts (68%), press releases (60%), other media (50%) and ring-ins from the public (42%).
In addition, most journalists (94%) agreed the press release is still a recognized source for stories, although the ideal length should be on average 18 paragraphs long.
Charlotte McConkey, director at ON-Broadcast, said: “The challenge for PRs is to recognize how vital social media platforms are when it comes to generating stories, news and content for traditional media, and understand the relationship between both in terms of the news cycle.
“A similar challenge, which also goes to the heart of PR, is selling-in stories to media. While three-quarters of journalists say they prefer email contact, there is still no magic sell-in formula — and the best PRs know they need to adopt various approaches to land that all-important branded client coverage,” she said.
Exactly half of those quizzed say it is either important or very important to receive video/b-roll content as part of a package pitched by PR professionals.
Celebrity endorsement as part of a PR campaign remains popular, with 40% saying they are more likely to use video content pitched to their news organization if it involves a famous face.
When considering an interview with an opinion leader, one in five said they prefer a female spokesperson, with the preference for female guests particularly strong among radio journalists.
McConkey added: “The more you can give journalists what they want, the better your chances of that all-important coverage.”
This article first appeared on prweek.com.