Last week the integrated marketing software brand Vocus released its annual “state of the media” report, created by surveying hundreds of active journalists.
We found some of the report’s conclusions worth sharing, and Vocus CMO You Mon Tsang answered our questions about what they mean for PR after the jump.
1. Traditional media is holding (relatively) steady
The number of magazine launches has slowed, but so has the number of newspaper closures (152 in 2012 vs. 114 in 2013). Tsang says:
“One of the most compelling lines in the report is ‘At least 2013 should be the year we stopped using words like “dying” to describe the health of the industry.’ This tells PR practitioners that while the industry continues to change in tremendous ways each year due to technological innovations, the media industry is finding ways to stay relevant in the modern era.”
2. Journalists increasingly use social for promotional and interactive purposes
Not a shocker, of course, but one number did surprise us: while 87% report using Twitter as their go-to promo network, 78.5% use Facebook, which was light years ahead of LinkedIn at 25.8% and Google+ at 18.5%.
So should PR pitch on Facebook to a journalist who uses the network for promotional purposes? Tsang says:
“We were surprised to see that journalists preferred Facebook pitches to Twitter, 37.1% to 30.6% respectively. We believe this is because journalists are more likely to be pitched on Facebook by someone they have an existing relationship with, due to Facebook’s strong privacy protections.
Facebook also allows for more depth and length. A number of respondents to the survey noted that the character restrictions on Twitter were too limiting for a decent pitch.
PR pros should share and spark discussions on journalists’ content on social media to catch reporters’ attention.”
3. Most journalists find social both useful and problematic for research
While over 30% of participants find social “somewhat useful” as a research tool, only 4% say they “completely trust” social sources, and even that may be an exaggeration. In other words, social on its own won’t do (but you already knew that).
From Tsang: “We found journalists across all mediums responded that research was the least important way they are using social media. If you can, offer factual information that either corroborates or conflicts with a social media trend, and then provide that information to covering reporters. Use research whenever possible.”
One point to note: journalists are increasingly turning to LinkedIn as a research tool primarily due to its status as the “professional” (read: more reliable) network. If you haven’t interacted or shared content with writers on LinkedIn before, now might be the time to start.
4. Email remains far and away the preferred method of pitching
It’s true that the number of social pitches has exploded: 77% of journos have been pitched on Facebook vs. 73% on Twitter and 34.7% on LinkedIn. Yet despite this and a recent Cision survey finding that many journalists would like more social pitches, old-school email remains the go-to venue: 91 percent of reporters prefer email, while only 2.7 percent prefer social media. We also note that well under 10% of participants like to get pitches via phone.
Tsang: “In the qualitative portion of our study, we found journalists had mixed feelings about being pitching on social media. 45.3% preferred not to be pitched through social at all. Of the 55% of reporters who accept pitches via social media, 37% would receive a pitch via Facebook, and 30% would receive on via Twitter.
At the end of the day, [our study and the Cision study] found that journalists overwhelmingly prefer to be pitched via email. Our study found that 90.7% of respondents prefer to be contacted by email and the Cision study found that number to be 82%.
It was interesting to note that magazine journalists preferred LinkedIn as a pitching platform out of any of the other social media network.”
Again with the LinkedIn.
5. The most effective pitches often include multimedia content
With budget cuts comes a shortage of original imagery and video content, so…
“One method of getting coverage includes augmenting stories with additional footage, Vine and Instagram video shorts, subject matter experts, YouTube videos, and other value added media.”
This point, like the rest of the survey’s findings, is less a revelation than a confirmation of things we already knew.