Getting your story noticed by the media isn’t always easy. Not only does it have to be newsworthy and timely, but you also need to know who to pitch and, more importantly, how to pitch them effectively.
At The Loop Marketing, we rely on Cision to distribute press releases and pitches as well as communicate with journalists in all industries for our digital marketing clients. Cision’s media database gives us unprecedented access to over 1 million journalists and 1 billion social media influencers.
But it can often feel difficult to connect with them.
Luckily, Cision publishes a report every year to help users get into the minds of journalists and adjust accordingly. It’s called the Global State of the Media Report – and this year, the results are more useful than ever.
Key Takeaways from Cision’s State of the Media Report
Journalists are overwhelmed – and underwhelmed – by pitches
When asked, over half of the journalists surveyed said they receive more than 50 pitches every week, and 1 in 4 get more than 100.
Obviously, there’s no shortage of content at their fingertips. So why are they underwhelmed by the pitches landing in their inbox? Because almost all of them are entirely irrelevant.
That’s right: Nearly three-quarters said that 25% or less of the pitches they receive are relevant to them, their beat, and their audience. This is an industry-wide problem, but journalists are hopeful that PR professionals will be part of the solution. Before you send your next pitch, be sure it aligns with their brand.
Know what journalists want and don’t want
Moreover, you need to understand the type of content journalists are looking for. Over two-thirds want original research reports, like trends or market data, but most (78%) want news announcements or press releases.
They also want you to help them. The easiest ways to do this are to provide data and expert sources (66%), understand the target audience (61%), stop spamming (45%), provide a list of upcoming stories (34%), and create short pitches with quick facts (32%).
But it’s equally important to know what they’re not looking for. When asked, respondents said that things most likely to cause them to unsubscribe are irrelevant pitches (73%), repeated follow-ups (51%), inaccurate or unsourced information (51%), pitches that sound like marketing brochures (50%), and a lack of transparency (46%).
Know when to pitch them
Finding the perfect time of the week to pitch a journalist will help increase the chances that your pitch will be read. The earlier in the week, the better: 60% prefer Monday and 43% prefer Tuesday, and that rate drops dramatically throughout the rest of the week.
It’s important not to follow up too quickly, either. Instead, wait two to three days and send the follow-ups between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. were the least preferred times.
Audience metrics are changing the way journalists choose their stories
When asked, more than half said that these audience metrics have changed the way they evaluate stories. More often, journalists are now choosing to focus solely on stories not for their content, but their ability to generate traffic, shares, and advertising dollars.
How do you get a journalist to decide that your pitch is worth their time and your content will help shape theirs? By asking yourself a few key questions:
- Will your story make people pause while scrolling through social media?
- Does your story offer new, compelling data? What about interesting commentary with a strong point of view? Is the data truly unique?
- Is the story share-worthy?
If you say no to these questions, so will a journalist. Shape your content around topics that will make everyone involved say yes.
Covid-19 remains the most important story…
Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has, understandably, dominated the news cycle. In fact, The Economist suggests that only the World Wars have rivaled the pandemic in terms of news coverage.
A Pew Research study found that almost 70% of Americans need to take breaks from the coverage, with 43% saying that it takes an emotional toll. Like the general public, journalists are also prone to feeling overwhelmed by the coverage: Almost two in five reported fatigue over covering the pandemic.
Despite this, coverage of the pandemic will continue to be of utmost importance in the coming year, especially when it comes to transitioning back to everyday life. One in three journalists said they’re looking for stories about how life will go back to normal, and almost half are continuously looking for new angles.
…But in 2021, journalists want positive stories
There’s no arguing that the news cycle of the last year has been exhausting for many of us. Like their readers, journalists are also holding out hope for positive stories, even if they’re about Covid-19.
36.5% of journalists said they’re constantly looking for feel-good stories about how companies and communities are helping others.
What other stories would they like to see? Ones that drive discussion around diversity, inclusion, inequality (33%), getting back to normal (32%), how tech is helping businesses and consumers (30%), and thought leadership on timely events (29%).
If you have a story to tell, let the marketing experts at The Loop know. We create one-of-a-kind, research-driven stories that get featured in publications like Entrepreneur, CBS, and MSN. Reach out today to get started.