Journalists Survey Has Good and Bad News for PR

There’s good news and bad news in a new media relations practices survey of more than 1,700 journalists and editors.

First, the good news: More than 90% of respondents say they rely on public relations for some of their story ideas.

The bad news: Nearly 60% say the relevance of the materials they receive comes up short, citing it as their top problem with PR.

The survey, which was sponsored by Bulldog Reporter
and Cision, contains some interesting information. Here’s a sample:

• Some 45% of journalists report that the communications professionals they work with don’t understand which subjects they cover.
• Nearly 27% say communications professionals don’t understand the subjects they are pitching.
• More than 30% report they cannot find information they need on corporate websites, and nearly 32% specifically say they can’t find the name and/or telephone number of a communications professional on the corporate website.

While these are embarrassing stats for PR professionals, they’re also fairly easy to correct. Learn as much as possible about a specific subject before contacting the reporter covering it, educate yourself on the subject you want to pitch, and then make it easy for reporters to contact you.

If you’ve ever had difficulty finding your way around a city and wondered why there wasn’t better signage, you’ll get an idea of the frustration a busy journalist experiences when trying to find what he or she needs on your ad agency’s or client’s website.

Take a few minutes to visit your site as if you’ve never been there before – how easy is it to find your way around? Then ask some other people outside your company to do the same thing. You may find your website needs a bit of work to make it more journalist friendly. Not a big deal to fix, but the payoff could be great.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

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