4 Major PR Takeaways from Cision’s State of the Media Report

04.24.2017 | Suong Nguyen

One of the critical factors of being successful in public relations is maintaining a strong media-relations practice, which is why Cision’s State of the Media Report is such a useful resource. This year the annual report surveyed more than 1,550 North American journalists and influencers to get their feedback on topics such as what issues are impacting them most, ways PR professionals can improve and tips on pitching.

Here are four highlights for PR practitioners to keep in mind:

1. Reporters Really, Really Want You to Trust Them.

Accustomed to the public’s trust and general acceptance that news stories are reported in a factual and unbiased manner, journalists now face skepticism and suspicion. Survey results show reporters are keenly aware of this shift.

    • 91 percent of survey respondents believe the media is somewhat or much less trusted than they were three years ago
    • 92 percent said that being right is more important than being first, up 4 percent from 2016
    • 60 percent of reporters believe the public values facts over opinions or feelings

As a result, media is relying heavily on PR professionals to present them with accurate, reliable resources such as press releases and expert sources for interviews.

2. Pitching by Phone? Dial “D” for Don’t Bother.

According to the survey, the first step in building a positive relationship with media is to cut the telephone cord:

    • 90 percent cited email as the best way to directly pitch a story idea
    • Calling journalists via phone or pitching through social media ranked below 3 percent
    • Journalists and influencers particularly dislike being contacted via telephone, with an 8 percent increase in respondents who said telephone pitches are never welcome

3. Here’s How to Get on Media’s Good Side.

The best way to win over 83 percent of reporters is researching their media outlets before pitching.

    • 51 percent agree they’re more likely to pursue a story when communications professionals demonstrate they’re familiar with the reporter’s past work, interests and beats
    • 73 percent appreciate when pitches are tailored to suit their beat/coverage
    • 49 percent want information and expert sources provided

Additional advice from journalists for PR reps includes:

    • PR professionals should write angles that are less commercial and more usable for general audiences.
    • Agencies and brands should produce in-house B-Roll and sound clips relating to timely issues, especially visuals or videos of a work site or a specific product’s use.
    • If you are willing to write and distribute a press release, be prepared to reply to a few questions from journalists.
    • Write in AP Style, or at least spell things properly.
    • Stop spamming journalists and stop calling to follow up after spamming them.

4. The Most Valuable Assets for Journalists.

Cision asked journalists to rank which PR resources they found most valuable. For the second year in a row, press releases and story leads ranked first, followed by expert interviews and images. Video rose one spot from fourth to third most valuable, while products to review dropped in importance. Among bloggers, products ranked as the second most valuable resource, while assistance in story writing ranked last across the board.

The Top Six PR Assets Journalists Value Most:

  1. Press Releases/Story Leads
  2. Expert Interviews/Story Sources
  3. Sourcing Images and Video
  4. Propriety Data
  5. Products to Review
  6. Assistance in Story Writing

As the media landscape continues to shift, shrink and surprise, building meaningful relationships with reporters will become increasingly necessary to impact audiences, influence public perception and drive brand awareness. To reach reporters, PR professionals must understand their interests and needs and ensure story angles are pertinent and newsworthy before pitching.


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Filed under: COMMUNIQUÉ PR, Media, Planning, PR trends, Strategy, Technology

One Comment

  1. George C says:

    This was pretty interesting to read Suong.

    I especially enjoyed reading what you wrote about getting on the media’s good side. Filled up with great statistics and overall, your entire article was just formatted really well.

    I’m a blogger myself (started earlier this year), so i’m always looking towards other blogs to learn and grow and I have to say, seeing your amazing use of stats, subheadings and dot points really left me in awe.

    Keep up the awesome work!

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