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Paramount Public Relations’ Meredith Hutching’s Summary of Cision’s “How the Press Uses and Values Public Relations and Other Media Resources”

George Washington University in partnership with Cision recently published a study highlighting how editors/journalists use and value public relations assistance, media  databases, and other traditional and online resources for research, story ideas, and other purposes. Statistical analysis of the data (collected in November and December of 2008) showed some interesting results.

One prominent topic in the study was editors’/journalists’ preferences when receiving information from public relations professionals. Below are some of the findings from the study on this topic.

  • For identifying or developing story ideas, websites are most important to editors/journalists, followed by submissions from PR professionals.
  • Submissions from PR professionals are used by more than 94% editors/journalists
  • Over half of the editors/journalists responding wanted to receive unsolicited  e-mail pitches from communications professionals as simple text only.
  • Being more relevant to their beat/area of interest and being less promotional struck the strongest chords with editors/journalists.
  • Editors/journalists also expressed the following specific preferences when receiving correspondence from PR professionals:
    • Press release email sent to a bunch of reporters is more likely to be ignored. The offer of exclusivity, however minor, would pique anyone’s interest.
    • Follow AP style and avoid unqualified superlatives. Be concise and get to the point quickly. Be more personal; know about the publications you are pitching to.
    • Have clear subject lines, no attachments, signature with contact information and no follow up phone calls.

With few exceptions editors/journalists agreed that e-mail pitches should be more relevant to their beat/area of interest, less promotional, should state benefits for their audiences, have stronger story ideas, cover the 5 Ws in leads, be better written and have less boilerplate.

Read more here and happy pitching!

Meredith Hutchings