Journalists both over and underwhelmed by pitches reveals PR Newswire State of the Media report

Cision has surveyed over 2,800 journalists across the APAC region, including, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam, between 1 February to 1 March 2021, asking them to share intel on what type of stories they’re looking for, how PR pros can build stronger relationships with the media to get coverage, and how they can successfully pitch a story.

Cision’s PR Newswire 2021 State of the Media report showed that journalists are both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by pitches.

“PR pros need to build highly targeted media lists. More than 1 in 4 journalists receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance,” Cision said.

Data analysed showed more than 68% of journalists say that only a quarter (or less) of the pitches are relevant, and 52% admitting they receive over 50 pitches per week, with a sizable percentage saying they prefer to receive pitches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Furthermore, journalists say they are wanting PR professionals to help make their jobs easier, to cut out the fluff, only send stories relevant to them, and send original content.

“With journalists covering several beats and stories per week, they’re looking for press releases that are chock full of graphics, original research and invites to interview experts or attend events,” Cision said.

Over 66% of journalists want data and expert sources for their stories, and 62% of them want PR professionals to understand their target audience and what they find relevant.

In addition, 60% of journalists are looking at audience metrics (views, engagement, demographic data) to evaluate their stories.

So, what exactly do journalists want to see from brands and PR professionals in 2021?

The Guardian Australia newsroom

“They’re looking for press releases (according to 78%) and original research (trends & market data) (68%), along with initial ideas for story development, multimedia elements (photos, videos, etc) and invites to interview experts or attend events,” Cision said.

After an extremely disruptive 2020, as COVID-19 coverage continues, journalists want “feel good” stories on getting back to normal and how companies, communities and technologies are helping others.

One-third are also looking for stories on furthering diversity, equality and inclusion as those conversations continue across communities.

In addition, journalists want more research-based, thought leadership.

The research also revealed what journalists find the most frustrating when receiving pitches for PR pros.

Spam, or pitches that sound like marketing brochures, a lack of transparency or following up repeatedly on a topic or story that’s not relevant to them were all listed.

Maggie Lower, Chief Marketing Officer for Cision said: “The global media landscape is evolving in the face of highly fragmented, 24/7 news consumption, shrinking newsrooms and the influx of non-traditional influencers.”


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