Our sister firm Perspectus Global recently carried out some research for us – a national survey of journalists digging into their relationships with PR and PR professionals.
And one surprising fact coming from the research was that only 38 percent of press releases sent to journalists by PRs ever get used.
The main reasons for releases being rejected are that there is no news hook (83 percent), they are not appropriate for the journalist’s publication (74 percent), and they seem like adverts (68 percent).
In order to ensure your pitch gets – at the very least – read by the target writer, the journalists helpfully supplied a top ten list of great press release tips.
The top tip found by the study was that the majority of journalists (76 percent) wanted a release that was written with their audience in mind.
Also on the list was a release that is written in news copy style, and is punchy and concise (72 percent), being relevant to what the journalist writes about (72 percent), and written by someone who knows what makes for a good news story (68 percent).
Including images that are cleared for use (62 percent), being written in the style of the outlet that the journalist writes for (59 percent) and not being sent under embargo (28 percent) also made the list.
The research revealed that journalists are cynical about PRs in general with 77 percent claiming that they receive content from PR professionals that makes them doubt that the sender reads the news, or knows what makes for a newsworthy story.
However, it’s not all bad news, the study also found that the majority of journalists polled (47 percent) said they found PRs quite helpful, and a further 30 percent said they were very helpful.
TOP TEN THINGS THAT MAKE FOR A GREAT PR PITCH,
ACCORDING TO JOURNALISTS:
- It’s written with my audience in mind (76%)
- It’s written in news copy style, and is punchy and concise (72%)
- It’s written with what I write about in mind (72%)
- It’s written by someone who knows what makes a news story (68%)
- It includes images I can use without having to obtain permission (62%)
- It is written in the style of the outlet I write for – eg it’s ‘print ready’ (59%)
- It doesn’t contain reams of notes to editors (28%)
- It isn’t sent under embargo (28%)
- It doesn’t have bullet points (23%)
- It’s clear who I need to contact for more information (19%)