Xenophon remains attuned to changing practices in social media, pitching
In a profession defined by evolving reporting practices, PR pros must adapt to changing preferences and habits exhibited by journalists, such as those on display in Muck Rack’s State of Journalism 2023.
Muck Rack is a digital platform which provides PR professionals, including those at Xenophon Strategies, with useful tools to generate earned media opportunities for clients and closely monitor results from their efforts.
The 45-page report is based on a January 4-February 6 survey of 2,226 journalists exploring how they view current reporting trends and the industry’s overall future. While the results are enlightening for those who cover the news, they also provide a roadmap for public relations professionals to tailor their efforts to successfully obtain the attention of the reporting class.
One takeaway coming with little surprise is that journalists are frequently overloaded with outreach. One in five journalists reported receiving more than 50 pitches per week, requiring them to shift through volumes of emails and decide which leads to pursue.
For a PR specialist to break through the clutter, knowing what type of pitches stand out to reporters is key.
Survey results show that the top reason journalists reject pitches is a lack of personalization. This could include failing to include the reporter’s name on a mass email pitch, a clear lack of familiarity with his or her reporting, or both. Journalists also stated a preference for receiving pitches which were 300 words or less – indicating that an excessively long email pitch is likely to be passed over.
Another takeaway notable to communications professionals in the private sector is declining interest in using company CEOs as sources. In their 2021 report, Muck Rack found that 74% of journalists found CEOs to be credible sources; however, this year’s version found that just 62% of journalists think the same. PR specialists should keep this in mind when offering client sources for interviews, and in some instances can consider proposing issue experts as an alternative to leading executives.
The rise and fall in popularity of social media platforms also shape how journalists cover the news, and thus should impact PR priorities. According to Muck Rack, journalists plan to spend more time on platforms that continue to grow in popularity, like LinkedIn and YouTube, at the expense of social networks like Facebook that are seeing diminishing interest from reporters.
And even despite recent uproar over operational changes implemented by Elon Musk, Twitter keeps on rolling.
The iconic platform still leads the pack as for members of the media, with 78% saying it is the most valuable platform to them as a journalist. Likewise, the vast majority (90%) sampled actively use Twitter, primarily to follow the news but also to promote their own stories and identify newsmakers.
With a growing number of journalists tracking their own stories on social media (66%, up 4% from 2021), it can also be helpful for PR professionals to build relationships with reporters by sharing their stories on their client channels, or if you are a prominent company spokesperson, on your own platforms.
Even more notably, a plurality of journalists (44%) claim to consult a company’s social media as part of their reporting. Such a finding increases the need for company communications departments to be proactive about distributing positive news on company social media channels.
At Xenophon Strategies we are constantly using new tools to ensure that clients are well served by PR efforts, both traditional and more modern. To check out our services or receive a free consultation, visit our website at xenophonstrategies.com/contact/.