A new Social Journalism Study by Cision and Canterbury Christ Church University found that social media has become an essential part of journalistic practice, with 94% of respondents saying they use it on a daily basis.
“Four years ago, a majority of journalists were hesitant to utilize Twitter and Facebook, and seemed especially skeptical about how these sites could help them reach audiences near and far. But now, we see a shift towards journalists relying on the networks to get their jobs done,” Cision noted in its introduction to the study.
The three findings I found with the most significant implications for ad agency PR were:
- Twitter is the most popular social media app. About three-quarters of journalists in the U.K. and U.S. said they use Twitter on a regular basis, so if you want to connect with a reporter via social media in those countries, Twitter is your best bet.
- Email is how most journalists prefer to be contacted. A little over 80% listed email as their first choice. For U.S. journalists, social media is their second choice, while in four of the other five countries surveyed—Finland, Germany, the U.K. and Australia—phone calls came in at #2. For now, at least, U.S. journalists seem to be the most concerned about being interrupted by calls when on deadline, or in general do not really like having to listen to pitches over the phone all that much.
- Experts are a key source of information for journalists. No big surprise here really, but nevertheless this study confirms that one of the main reasons journalists use social media is to find sources and network. In the U.S., experts were cited as the most important source of information (40%) over PR sources (36%).
There also is this interesting trend prediction from the study: “Journalists will continue to rely on experts so they do not compromise their values and views of their profession by sourcing from perceived unreliable sources.”
For ad agencies, the implication is clear: Having a niche, building your reputation as an expert in that niche and making your agency “discoverable” is more important than ever, and it will continue to be in the foreseeable future.