2022 Media Pitching Best Practices
As PR professionals, we have our fingers on the pulse of media. We pay attention to not only which stories are trending, but how they’re gaining traction, to help clients contribute high-quality insights at the right moments. Muck Rack’s recently published 2022 The State of Journalism report, which surveyed 2,547 journalists to gauge their habits and preferences, is helping us further understand today’s media landscape. Results paint a vivid picture of a new media environment that is still ruled by traditional pitching etiquette. Let’s dive into some key takeaways!
Social Media Is Dictating Stories
The last few years have accelerated our move to the online realm, and it doesn’t look like we’re logging-off anytime soon. More than half (57%) of journalists cited online newspapers or magazines as their primary source of news. They’re also increasingly turning to Twitter for news, with 18% of those surveyed listing the platform as their primary news source.
A growing reliance on Twitter is part of a larger trend placing increasingly high value on social media. More journalists are treating Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit and Tik Tok as bellwethers of engaging content. As influencer becomes a more viable career path, social media personalities are steadily gaining clout among journalists, with 17% considering them credible sources for reporting, up from 12% last year. Social media has a way of humanizing the rich and famous, which may help explain why journalists are also seeing celebrity spokespeople as increasingly credible sources.
Journalists view number of social network shares as a barometer for story success, with 64% reporting that they track their coverage on social media. PR professionals must now consider a story’s shareability when developing and delivering pitches. Muck Rack’s study found that shareability is most closely linked to trending news (71%), stories with an image or infographic (65%) and exclusive and/or surprising data (57%).
A Good Pitch Is Timely and Well-Timed
Journalists are just as likely to respond to pitches as they were last year, but PR professionals must be mindful of the competition. Half of those surveyed receive between one and five pitches per day. Although we can infer that highly shareable stories with engaging images or new data are more likely to be of interest to journalists, presentation also counts. Journalists indicated that longstanding pitching practices hold-up in this rapidly shifting media landscape.
Lending credence to the saying, “timing is everything,” bad timing was journalists’ most commonly cited reason for rejecting pitches. Most prefer to receive pitches early in the work week (Monday being the most popular day by a landslide) and early in the day (between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon). Most journalists (80%) said a quarter of their stories originate from pitches. The majority (68%) favor brief pitches of 200 words or less. PR professionals that don’t hear back about a pitch might be happy to learn that 90% of journalists said at last one follow-up email is acceptable, with 85% okay with receiving a follow-up within one week of the initial email.
Trust Is Making a Comeback
The outlook on this shifting media landscape is a sunny one. For the third consecutive year, over half of journalists are optimistic about their profession, perhaps because about one-third report increased audience trust in their coverage compared to last year. Those who cover Health & Wellness, Agriculture and Religion all saw 39% more people trust their stories.
Today’s media landscape increasingly requires PR professionals to consider social media trends and changing perceptions of credibility. However, when it comes to pitching etiquette, old standbys like brevity are still appreciated. The Bliss Group continues to watch trends and strategically pivot to help clients gain visibility and establish authority in a highly competitive and rapidly evolving environment.
By Alannah Dragonetti, Content Specialist