What Do Journalists Want: New Rules of Media Relations in the Digital Era

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MyPRGenie and CommPRO.biz conducted an in-depth media survey of journalists across various beats to uncover emerging media trends, asking how reporters prefer to field pitches and press releases in the digital era and how companies can use social media to work more effectively with the press. This presentation covers the survey results and was featured in a webinar presentation on 4.29.11 featuring 3 top journalists and PR executive Ted Birkhahn, from Peppercom. It also included a FREE WHITE paper, available here: http://bit.ly/newmediatips. The recorded version fo the webinar will be available on May 3.

Published in: Business, News & Politics

What Do Journalists Want: New Rules of Media Relations in the Digital Era

  1. 1. What Do Journalists Want? New Rules of Media Relations in the Digital Era MEDIA:     Richard M. Murphy , Chief Content Officer, Social Media Today ; Contributing   Editor, Fortune Magazine Chris Elliott , Blogger, Travel Editor, Business Writer & Consumer Advocate, National Geographic Traveler , The Washington Post Lewis Lazare, Former Marketing and Advertising Columnist, The Chicago-Sun Times MODERATOR:   Ted Birkhahn, Partner & President, Peppercom HOSTS:          Miranda Tan , MyPRGenie.com Brian Pittman , CommPRO.biz Friday, April 29, 2011 1PM EST; Noon CST; 11AM MST; 10AM PST
  2. 2. The rise of social media has changed how journalists report stories and work with PR professionals and the companies they cover. To pinpoint exactly what some of these changes have been, what new media trends they underscore, and how companies can work more effectively with the press in the digital era, MyPRGenie, in partnership with CommPRO.biz, distributed a survey distributed a survey to thousands of journalists. With over 2,400 respondents, the findings are significant, and lesson-implicit. Generally speaking, the final results seem to underscore not only that reporters are increasingly using all forms of social media in their day-to-day reporting and promotion of that reportage—but that they also now see social media tools like Twitter as legitimate channels for communication with PR pros on both the agency and corporate side, with many now open to fielding pitches via these tools. Several years ago, this would not have been the case—with many journalists then seeing social media solely as their “personal inboxes.”
  3. 3. Download at www.MyPRGenie.com
  4. 4. What country do you work in? <ul><li>United States 43.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Canada 3.8% </li></ul><ul><li>United Kingdom 16.3% </li></ul><ul><li>France 1.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Germany 4.1% </li></ul><ul><li>Spain 0.1% </li></ul><ul><li>Russia 0.1% </li></ul><ul><li>China 0.8% </li></ul><ul><li>Australia 11.2% </li></ul><ul><li>New Zealand 1.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Other 16.9% </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is the primary medium that you work for? <ul><li>Daily newspaper 17.1% </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly newspaper 11.8% </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer magazine 13.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Trade magazine 18.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Local television 4.4% </li></ul><ul><li>National television 1.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Local radio 3.2% </li></ul><ul><li>National radio 0.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Wire service 1.7% </li></ul><ul><li>News syndicate 0.4% </li></ul><ul><li>Blog 4.3% </li></ul><ul><li>News website 9.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Other 11.9% </li></ul>
  6. 6. THE “NEW” MEDIA RELATIONS <ul><li>54.8% follow and friend corporate communications or PR pros </li></ul><ul><li>on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>• 55.8% say social media is an acceptable channel of communication with sources and their representatives </li></ul><ul><li>• 50% say irrelevant pitches via social media are a main frustration </li></ul><ul><li>• 26.5% say mass pitches via social media are a frustration </li></ul><ul><li>• 6.4% say PR pros ghost-tweeting for clients via social media is a frustration </li></ul>
  7. 7. SOCIAL MEDIA IN COMMUNICATIONS Is social media an acceptable channel of communication with sources and their representatives?
  8. 8. NEW MEDIA TRENDS <ul><li>What major trends do you see reshaping </li></ul><ul><li>the media landscape that PR pros and </li></ul><ul><li>companies need to be aware of? </li></ul>
  9. 9. NEW MEDIA TRENDS <ul><li>C </li></ul><ul><li>Chris Elliott </li></ul><ul><li>New media consolidation (HuffPo/AOL, other acquisitions). </li></ul><ul><li>Paywalls and other efforts to monetize content from readers. </li></ul><ul><li>Old media (newspapers, etc) slowly returning to profitability, finding relevance with readers. </li></ul>
  10. 10. NEW MEDIA TRENDS Richard Murphy <ul><li>Obvious but important point: Media now is much more about conversation than about one-way communication. That’s true for journalists, PR pros and companies alike. </li></ul><ul><li>Old media brands still matter, but the conversational energy is increasingly moving to social media channels. </li></ul><ul><li>In this new world, PR folks need to focus much more on building strong relationships with individual thought leaders: bloggers, editors, media entrepreneurs et al.  </li></ul>
  11. 11. NEW MEDIA TRENDS <ul><li>Lewis Lazare </li></ul><ul><li>The overall major trend shaping the media landscape is, in two words, the Internet.  Every facet of the news industry is now impacted by the fact any and everything can be posted on the Internet and disseminated in a heartbeat around the world. Every other form of information dispersal has been rendered pretty much an afterthought thanks to the Internet.   </li></ul><ul><li>That said, I am constantly amazed at how much companies and individuals in the news business also use Facebook and Twitter to get out information and make contact. Those two communication tools certainly now play a role too. </li></ul>
  12. 12. NEW MEDIA TRENDS Ted Birkhahn <ul><li>Reporters are being asked to do more with less – more platforms (e.g. print, blog, video, etc.), tighter deadlines and multiple beats – all of which impacts how PR professionals pitch and build relationships with key media </li></ul><ul><li>Your digital footprint is your new calling card. Journalists need only to perform a quick Google search of an individual to get a grasp on the area of expertise and what skeletons they might have in their closet. This plays a role in selecting sources for stories and, most importantly, can form the basis of research on an individual and corporation during a crisis. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s no longer traditional and/or digital media; it’s the integration of the two. Those who can seamlessly integrate digital, traditional and social media into one campaign are likely to have the greatest impact on the media and the audiences they are trying to reach. </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the client and industry, traditional media outlets (both their online and print platforms) are becoming less influential than other distribution channels for client organizations. The ability to communicate directly with key audiences via a number of social media and digital platforms and not having to rely solely on media as a conduit to reaching key audiences is becoming more pervasive. </li></ul>
  13. 13. MEDIA PITCHES & STORY IDEAS <ul><li>70.6% of respondents prefer to be “pitched” by email </li></ul><ul><li>• Only a surprising 1.4% of respondents prefer to field story ideas via commercial newswires (such as PR Newswire, Business Wire, Marketwire, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>• Just .7% prefer to field story ideas via email alerts sent from corporate newsrooms </li></ul>
  14. 14. “ HOW TO” PITCH… ADVICE FROM A PR PRO
  15. 15. “ HOW TO” PITCH… ADVICE FROM A PR PRO <ul><li>Ted Birkhahn, Partner & President, Peppercom </li></ul><ul><li>When developing a pitch, it’s critical to know your audience. This includes knowing who the journalist/blogger is, what they write about, how they write and what they’re generally interested in hearing about the topic/issue. It also includes knowing the DNA of the readers who read the publication or blog that you’re pitching. I often say to my clients: Use messages and support points with a reporter that you would use if you were speaking directly with the reader. If it resonates with the reader, it should resonate with the reporter. </li></ul>
  16. 16. “ HOW TO” PITCH… ADVICE FROM A PR PRO <ul><li>Ted Birkhahn, Partner & President, Peppercom </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to focus on the pain. Too often, pitches fall flat because they don’t highlight or prove the pain point among the readers of the publication or blog. Why should a journo be interested in anything unless it is addressing a critical need or issue that is having a profound effect on the audience? </li></ul><ul><li>This should go without saying, but all pitches should remain free of all hyperbole, marketing speak and hype. We still see a lot of this and it never works. It also reinforces all the negative stereotypes associated with PR professionals. </li></ul><ul><li>Too often PR professionals pitch with the mindset that their job is to help their client get press. That’s the wrong approach. Instead, the mindset should be how do I help a reporter offer their readers something that is new, different, compelling and/or first (i.e. ahead of the competition). If you use this mindset, reporters will be more accepting of you and your pitch. </li></ul><ul><li>Be transparent 100 percent of the time. Twitter feeds, blog entries, etc. need to be authentic, not ghostwritten by a third party </li></ul>
  17. 17. PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTION <ul><li>93.7% of respondents prefer to receive press releases via email </li></ul><ul><li>3.1% of respondents still prefer to receive press releases via </li></ul><ul><li>hard copy and digital press kits </li></ul><ul><li>Only 1.5% of journalists prefer to receive press releases via commercial newswires (such as PR Newswire, Business Wire, Marketwire, etc.) </li></ul>
  18. 18. ADVICE FOR PR PITCHES & PRESS RELEASES <ul><li>How should/shouldn’t PR pros pitch you </li></ul><ul><li>and the media in general? What elements </li></ul><ul><li>should they include in releases to be more </li></ul><ul><li>useful to you and the media in general? </li></ul>
  19. 19. ADVICE FOR PR PITCHES & PRESS RELEASES Chris Elliott <ul><li>The usual: Do your research on the reporter/blogger and send tailored pitches. </li></ul><ul><li>No carpet bombing. </li></ul><ul><li>No calls to follow up. </li></ul>
  20. 20. ADVICE FOR PR PITCHES & PRESS RELEASES Richard Murphy <ul><li>PR pros should expunge the word “press release” from their vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>Generic releases worked poorly in the old media world and they don’t work at all in the social media world. </li></ul><ul><li>All communication with journalists and other thought leaders should be personal, targeted and most of all thoughtful. Before you pitch any story to any editor or reporter, you should familiarize yourself with his/her work and the content of the media outlet. Figure out what the reporter/site/magazine/show covers, how they cover it, what stories work for them. Then write a pitch that fits their needs.  </li></ul>
  21. 21. ADVICE FOR PR PITCHES & PRESS RELEASES Lewis Lazare <ul><li>I believe PR pros should, above all, refrain from canned pitches to the media. I have seen tons of them delivered to me via email. And even on those rare occasions when a PR professional reaches out in person via the telephone I still feel a lot of those efforts seem canned as well.   </li></ul><ul><li>PR execs should make any media person they reach out to feel as if he or she is being contacted because the company behind the pitch wants to put out an important story and the company behind the news story wants the journalist to be an important part of that effort to get out the story. </li></ul>
  22. 22. ADVICE FOR PR PITCHES & PRESS RELEASES Ted Birkhahn <ul><li>Move the news up front; don’t bury it half way down the release. </li></ul><ul><li>Use quotes that add value instead of merely taking up space on the page. Ask yourself: would a reporter actually use this quote in an article? If not, don’t include it in the press release? </li></ul><ul><li>Every release should include support points that prove the validity of the key messages or points being conveyed in the release </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid use of the passive voice </li></ul>
  23. 23. PRESS RELEASE CONTENT <ul><li>• 95.4% of respondents consider the 5Ws essential elements of any press </li></ul><ul><li>release they review </li></ul><ul><li>• 47% consider source quotes essential elements of press releases they review </li></ul><ul><li>• 51.8% consider links to sources cited in the release essential elements of press releases they review </li></ul><ul><li>• 24.3% consider headshots of sources essential elements of press releases </li></ul><ul><li>they review </li></ul><ul><li>• 8.2% consider supporting video essential elements of press releases they </li></ul><ul><li>review </li></ul>
  24. 24. SOCIAL MEDIA IN REPORTING <ul><li>62% of respondents use Facebook in their reporting </li></ul><ul><li>56.1% use Twitter in their reporting </li></ul><ul><li>33.3% prefer to use RSS feeds in their reporting </li></ul><ul><li>32.5% use YouTube in their reporting </li></ul><ul><li>31.7% use LinkedIn in their reporting </li></ul>
  25. 25. SOCIAL MEDIA & MEDIA PROMOTION <ul><li>• 35.7% of respondents use Facebook to promote and share their stories </li></ul><ul><li>• 26.7% use Twitter to promote and share their stories </li></ul><ul><li>• Only 5.1% use LinkedIn to promote and share their stories </li></ul>
  26. 26. SEO & SEARCH TOOLS <ul><li>91.7% of respondents frequently use Google in reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Only 11.9% prefer to use Yahoo! frequently in reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Only 5.8% use Bing frequently in reporting </li></ul>
  27. 27. ADVICE FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK WITH THE PRESS <ul><li>How should PR pros and companies use </li></ul><ul><li>social media as a tool to pitch the media </li></ul><ul><li>and build better relationships with the </li></ul><ul><li>media? </li></ul>
  28. 28. ADVICE FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK WITH THE PRESS <ul><li>Chris Elliott </li></ul><ul><li>Ask before sending a pitch through social media, and always identify yourself as a PR professional. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't spam. Reporters will unfriend you. </li></ul><ul><li>Participate - RT or &quot;like&quot; the reporter's work. It shows you are not just parachuting in to pitch a story, but care about a quality placement. </li></ul>
  29. 29. ADVICE FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK WITH THE PRESS <ul><li>Richard Murphy </li></ul><ul><li>Use social media to familiarize yourself with their work, eg by following them on Twitter. </li></ul><ul><li>Once you know what they’re about, you can start reaching out to them directly with story ideas. </li></ul>
  30. 30. ADVICE FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK WITH THE PRESS <ul><li>Lewis Lazare </li></ul><ul><li>Of course social media is important to develop buzz. When talking to journalists, it is always helpful to point out that putting information about a breaking story on line or on Facebook or Twitter has caused an avalanche of talk and/or discussion.   </li></ul><ul><li>Social media buzz doesn't necessarily add any more credibility to a story a company wants to get out, but it does indicate the story is of interest and, to some degree, just how much interest there is in a particular news story. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  31. 31. ADVICE FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK WITH THE PRESS <ul><li>Ted Birkhahn </li></ul><ul><li>Keep journalists informed on relevant issues that will help them do their job more effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>This should go beyond company news by providing journalist with information and links on topics that they might not be privy or have access to otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  32. 32. “ BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: WHAT JOURNALISTS WANT FROM PR SERVICES” A FREE MEDIA RELATIONS TIPSHEET <ul><li>Journalists regularly browse through press releases to find interesting news stories. To increase their visibility, companies and PR distributors pitch their press releases to reporters who might be interested in turning them into news articles. The challenge, however, is to make sure that your press releases are reaching the relevant journalists and media contacts. As thousands of companies compete to bring their news into the spotlight, it is becoming increasingly hard for PR distributors and journalists to connect with each other. </li></ul><ul><li>The good news: As the leading business social network and newswire, MyPRGenie analyzed the results of the survey in the preceding pages—and pulled together helpful tips based on the survey to help you overcome these challenges and compete more effectively for your fair share of coverage in today’s increasingly tight news hole. </li></ul><ul><li>DOWNLOAD THIS FREE TIPSHEET HERE: HTTP://BIT.LY/NEWMEDIATIPS </li></ul>
  33. 33. Q & A MEDIA:     Richard M. Murphy , Chief Content Officer, Social Media Today ; Contributing   Editor, Fortune Magazine Chris Elliott , Blogger, Travel Editor, Business Writer & Consumer Advocate, National Geographic Traveler , The Washington Post Lewis Lazare, Former Marketing and Advertising Columnist, The Chicago-Sun Times MODERATOR:   Ted Birkhahn, Partner & President, Peppercom HOSTS:       Miranda Tan , MyPRGenie.com Brian Pittman , CommPRO.biz
  34. 34. THANK YOU TO OUR HOST/PARTNER, MYPRGENIE.COM

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