Ignoring Journalists’ Pitch Preferences Raises Barrier for Media Pitches
Muck Rack’s 2021 State of PR Highlights Discrepancies Between the Two Sides
One might say that there have been some challenges for public relations professionals and communicators over the past year trying to secure media pitches during the COVID-19 pandemic. And though it might not be all about the coronavirus right now in every newsroom across the U.S. (though it’s still a big topic of concern due to the Delta variant), it looks like PR pros could be doing a better job of listening to the journalists if they want to land a story.
Muck Rack’s recently released State of PR 2021 underlines the two sides of the same media coin really aren’t listening to what the other one is saying. And if the PR pros were to see the data from Muck Rack’s State of Journalism 2021, they’d likely see that there are a few small, but key, adjustments they can make to better their chances.
One of the biggest incongruities stems from the question of what’s better, relevancy or timeliness? If you ask the communicators, and Muck Rack did, 42% say that relevant topics are most important to pitching journalists.
Only 14% said timeliness, and that might seem to make sense if you’re on the outside looking in on a reporter’s beat.
But and this is a notable but, journalists said that timeliness (or bad timing really), was the top reason why they turned away pitches – even if they were relevant.
Other notable discrepancies highlighted in Muck Rack’s report include:
- 59% of communicators say that the best day to pitch media is Tuesday, but journalists actually prefer Monday; and
- 55% of PR pros like to send pitches late morning, between 9 am and noon, but 34% of journalists prefer between 5 am and 9 am.
Overall, these three factors could be limiting the success of what could be otherwise newsworthy pitches and contributing to why 59% of communicators said that getting responses from journalists was their number one challenge.
Listening to the journalists’ preferences, however, is an easy step forward that could help get better attention for media outreach.