New survey shows journalists detest PR pitch spamming

It has been  a tumultuous year for journalism, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Journalists are contending with fewer resources and a host of challenges, including receiving more PR pitches than ever, according to a Cision 2019 State of the Media Survey.

It says the past 12 months have been challenging for the media industry. Members of the press must contend with personal attacks, accusations of fake news, and the rapid spread of misinformation. Social media has been particularly difficult to work with this year, with complex updates to data privacy laws and sudden changes in newsfeed algorithms.

However, amidst this formidable environment, there’s a glimmer of hope; trust in the media might actually be on the rise. According to the survey—the company’s 10th annual—which collected responses from 1,999 journalists in 10 countries, relevance and trust are more important than ever.

The report says responses reflect growing concerns around the changing role of social media, an increasing reliance on data-driven storytelling, and positive shifts in perceptions of trust.

In this fragmented, dynamic media environment, communications and PR professionals have an opportunity to become even more reliable partners with their media counterparts.

Journalists and PR professionals all work in the storytelling business, and should work together to be valuable partners for each other given the increasing challenges facing the industry as a whole.

According to the survey conducted between February 5 and February 27 this year, 16% of journalists said they want PR professionals to stop spamming them. Nearly everyone working in the public relations industry is a professional with the best interests of their brands and the media in mind, but a few bad actors can ruin things for everyone else.

When asked how PR professionals can write more effective press releases, journalists universally agree that press releases should include more information that is relevant to their target audience. They also recommended including a clear news hook and avoiding industry and marketing jargon.

Today’s media environment is fragmented, crowded and noisy; it’s more important than ever to write for the end consumer. Content should be tailored for target audiences. 65% of journalists would rather receive customised press releases, than one mass-audience release. Delivering more relevant pitches has an outsized impact. As one respondent said, “If you haven’t taken a few minutes to understand what our publication covers, I’m less likely to open your next email.”

“If the press release is king, relevance is the kingdom. While journalists face a shortage of resources, they don’t face a scarcity of leads. Unfortunately for journalists, the vast majority of pitches they receive are irrelevant. In fact, 75% of journalists say fewer than a quarter of the pitches they receive are relevant or useful.”

This was one of the most common themes in this year’s survey: Pitches need to be more relevant. This year, survey results suggest that PR pros overlook, ignore, or simply do not understand the target audience of the journalist they’re contacting. If there’s one thing that PR professionals can do to help journalists do their jobs better, it’s to better understand a publication’s audience and what
they find interesting.

As journalists struggle with resource limitations, PR professionals have been and will continue to be a valuable partner. In 2018, Cision asked respondents how their relationships with PR professionals had changed over the year, and only 9% said their relationships with PR professionals had gotten more valuable. This year the number jumped to 27%. Overall, while the journalist-to-PR-professional relationship has improved, there is still plenty of room for more improvement.

According to the survey report, to cultivate a valuable relationship, it is important for PR professionals to provide trustworthy, relevant and useful content. When asked what type of content they want to receive from brands, 71% of journalists said news announcements and press releases (which has been the top answer for the past four years). Invitations to events and original research reports came in
close after that.

And for non-branded content, journalists equally trust interviews, industry experts, and newswires (for press release distribution). For more than a century, the press release continues to be a journalistic staple.

Read: For Pam Mutembei, it’s a girl boss hustle

“To be a good partner to journalists, focus on being relevant and targeted with your outreach. Deliver clear and concise pitches, and be sure you’ve done your research before you reach out. Provide new information, backed up with data, images, and expert sources, and understand who your target
audience is (and how to best reach them),” the survey report concludes.

 

 

Latest

Firms Announce Merger Deal to Expand Services

Dalberg Implement, a leader in on-the-ground program implementation with vast expertise in strategy execution, and Axum, an Afrocentric impact firm dedicated to fostering inclusive growth across the Global South, have announced a merger.

Odibets Launches Mega Water Project In Makueni

Odi Mtaani Foundation by online betting company Odibets, in...

Ivon Priscar Living Kenya’s e-Commerce Dream in Grocery Shopping

As Kenya's informal sector continues to thrive, companies like Kapu serve as catalysts for economic empowerment and resilience.

Rose Ntong’ondu: Popcorn Hawker Who Owns a Multi-Million Beauty Empire

Rose Ntong'ondu, founder of Makeup by Rose, is a Kenyan-based makeup artist, teacher, mentor, and beauty entrepreneur.

Follow Us

Newsletter

Don't miss

Throwing The Girls Into Deep End: Single Kiasi S3 First Look

Nairobi’s dating scene is about to get messy: Single Kiasi...

Win New Year Crossover Mugithi Tickets With Odibets

The event has attracted prominent Kikuyu musicians who will be headlining the event including Samidoh and Muigai wa Njoroge.

For Coloured Girls is Theatre Production of the Year

The play ‘For Coloured Girls (who have considered suicide/ when...

Tusker Oktobafest Rolls East African Cultures into One

From regional events across Kenya to inaugural gatherings in Uganda and Tanzania, and the Tusker Oktobafest grand finale in Nairobi, the festival harmonized traditions, celebrated diversity, and highlighted the rich cultural tapestry of the East African culture

Lupita’s Little Brother Junior Nyong’o Charting His Own Path in Acting

Junior Nyongó, who is also a musician and a DJ and now a graduate of UC San Diego with an MFA in Acting, is crafting his own solid path in the world of acting with roles in major theatre productions.

Safaricom To Power Tusker OktobaFest Beer Festival

Safaricom’s involvement in OktobaFest as a technology and payments partner will focus on fostering seamless in-festival connectivity, empowering the youth and Gen Z community through Safaricom Hook, and powering digital payments through M-PESA.

Music Producers Launch Organization To Streamline Recording Industry

Recording Industry of Kenya (RIKE) was launched on 9th October 2023. Registered in 2022 as a not-for-profit organization, RIKE aims to promote the collective interests of producers of sound recordings in the country.

Nairobi’s Hero Bar Listed Among World’s 50 Best Bars

World Best Bars: Hero Bar in Nairobi continues to climb the list, moving up six places to No.62 and Johannesburg’s Sin + Tax comes in at No.94. Dubai new entry Ergo is at No.69 and Melbourne’s Byrdi has re-entered the list at No.61.

Kenyan DJs Face Off In Smirnoff Battle Of The Beats Season 3

The Smirnoff Battle of the Beats Season 3, a DJ competition, is poised to unleash an unprecedented musical frenzy countrywide.

The Highs And Lows Of Betty Kyallo, Sisters Show As Season 2 Ends

Kyallo Kulture has always been, above all, about sisterhood, and in Season 2 we have witnessed the charm of it - the ups that gave us wholesome moments as the sisters led by Betty Kyallo spent time together.
BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke

Firms Announce Merger Deal to Expand Services

Dalberg Implement, a leader in on-the-ground program implementation with vast expertise in strategy execution, and Axum, an Afrocentric impact firm dedicated to fostering inclusive growth across the Global South, have announced a merger.

Odibets Launches Mega Water Project In Makueni

Odi Mtaani Foundation by online betting company Odibets, in collaboration with the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), have launched a multi-million water project...

Ivon Priscar Living Kenya’s e-Commerce Dream in Grocery Shopping

As Kenya's informal sector continues to thrive, companies like Kapu serve as catalysts for economic empowerment and resilience.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here