Report: 83% of journalists use Twitter—but most still want email pitches

A recent survey of reporters showcased growing usage of social media platforms for news, but many traditional media relations best practices apply.

How journos prefer to be pitched

As more publications cater to the rise of digital content and social media, so should PR pros.

Muck Rack’s new State of Journalism report reveals that nearly 60% of reporters turn to digital newspapers or magazines as their first source of news, and 22% check Twitter first.

Though most journalists check digital publications before Twitter for their news, 83% listed it as the most valuable social media platform (a 13 percent increase from 2018) and 38% said they plan to use it more next year.

Facebook made the No. 2 spot, with 40% saying it’s the most valuable—quite a disparity from Twitter’s continued reign. Also, 44% said they plan to use Facebook less next year. Instead, Instagram and LinkedIn will fill that void, with 36% and 29% of reporters planning to use them next year, respectively.

If you’re one of the 93% of PR pros who follow journalists on social media, you’re on the right path. Nearly 80% of reporters said they like it when PR pros follow them online. Seventy-one percent say they track how often their stories are shared across social media, so slide into their good graces (and DMs) by sharing with your followers.

However, following reporters and sharing their stories doesn’t mean your job online is done.

Ensure that your organization has an active and up-to-date social media presence. More than half (61%) say they “usually” or “always” consult branded social media profiles when reporting on an organization and 29% will “sometimes” check these profiles.

Resources that land coverage

Aside from good social media habits, PR pros can increase their chances of media coverage by including elements that make stories more shareable.

The majority of journalists said that means including an image or connecting the story to a larger, timely trend. More than half (59%) said stories that are easily localized (or relevant to their readers) increases sharing, so don’t forget to make it matter to those you pitch.

Providing sources is another way savvy PR pros can cinch media relations efforts, but not all sources are created equal. The majority of reporters (89%) want subject matter experts and 75% want to follow up with your chief executive. More than half (58%) consider in-house PR pros credible sources, but only 37% consider agency PR pros the same.

You can also increase your pitch success rate by sending it at the right time, on the right channel.

Reporters might like it when you follow them on Twitter and tweet their stories, but the majority (93%) still prefer to be emailed. Picking up the phone is risky: The majority (69%) don’t like receiving pitches through calls.

“The early bird gets the worm” adage also applies to pitching success, because 65% of journalists prefer receiving those emails before 11 a.m.

Aside from following best practices, media relations wins are about not making common mistakes.

One quarter of reporters reject pitches for not being personalized and nearly the same amount (23%) toss them because of bad timing. Pitches that are too long (15%) and confusing subject lines (12%) were other top reasons reporters said they sent pitches to the trash.

Lastly, 73% of reporters are OK if you follow up on your pitch—but only once. Otherwise, you’re flooding their already cluttered inboxes. You won’t help by picking up the phone, either: If the reporter doesn’t want to receive your phone pitch, calling him or her to ask if they read your email isn’t going to improve your chances, either.

What do you think of these insights?

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