the modern digital age is changing the way journalists rely on information gathering
While traditional press releases – distributing promotional news about your services, products, brand or business through mass communication channels – should still be part of your communications cannon, the modern digital age is changing the way journalists rely on information gathering.
Muck Rack and the Zeno Group, for example, published a survey last year that produced some surprising results: only 3 percent of journalists worldwide rely heavily on press releases distributed via newswires. Even more telling: 53 percent of U.S. based journalists don’t rely on press releases at all.
Consider these additional findings from the Muck Rack and Zeno Group survey:
- More than 41 percent of journalists consider the potential “shareability” of a story when deciding what to write about
- 63 percent of journalists in the U.S. and 68 percent of journalists worldwide track how many times their stories are shared on social media
- 27 percent of journalists choose Twitter as their primary news source
To be clear: Press releases are not dead. Even in today’s digital bonanza, they’re still a formidable medium for delivering your message, especially when that message is well written, informative and has a strong hook.
Still, these findings, if nothing else, should compel communications professionals to rethink how they communicate – and build relationships – with journalists that go beyond an email and a formulaic press release.
To bolster your message, consider implementing these three additional strategies.
Follow reporters that cover your beat on social media.
Make sure to follow reporters that cover your industry on social media platforms. A journalist’s tweet may spark a pitch for a story idea or the opportunity to become a source or an expert for a forthcoming article or column.
The more familiar you are with the journalists that write about your industry, whether it’s trends, news or thoughts, the more you’re likely to understand the kind of stories they’re looking for.
Share, share and share some more.
When your business is featured in a publication, video or blog post, share the story to your own social media followers.
And always tag the publications and reporter that wrote the story. Spreading good news extends the story’s reach for your business, and it also benefits the publication and the reporter.
It’s a win-win situation for generating visibility across the spectrum.
Make your pitch personal.
Distributing a mass pitch is easy, but it’s not advisable. If you’re going to do the research to craft a press release, ensure that you devote time to developing customized angles and narratives that are personalized for the specific reporter or outlet you’re pitching.
Journalists receive dozens of pitches every day; make yours stand out by personalizing your pitches and letting reporters know why, specifically, they’re the right person to cover your pitch.
Additionally, think beyond text: the inclusion of infographics and videos in your release is proven to generate more attention.