4 Ways to Up Your Media Pitching Game in 2021
The events of 2020 have hit newsrooms hard – journalists are grappling with a turbulent news cycle, from relentless pandemic developments to reporting political unrest in APAC. On top of these, they are required to generate stories with leaner resources such as downsized staff and declining revenue – and deal with digital disruption.
Cision, PR Newswire’s parent company, recently released its State of the Media Report (APAC Edition) that examines today’s media landscape – from the lens of journalists. It surveyed more than 2,800 journalists from 19 markets around the world to uncover the shifts in the inner workings of journalists, from their editorial strategy, pitching their preferences to challenges faced.
The report’s APAC edition offers deeper insights into how journalists work in APAC, which spans Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Here are the key takeaways from the full 2021 State of the Media Report (APAC Edition) that you can apply when you are planning your next pitch.
1. Understand the struggles that journalists face
38% of journalists expressed fatigue over covering COVID-19 related news. From new virus strains, cancellation of travel bubbles to vaccination woes, COVID-19 news is showing no signs of slowing down – more than one year after the outbreak.
3 out of every 10 journalists find it more challenging to get in touch with their sources for stories, given that many are working remotely. What PR pros can do is to ensure that they or their clients can be readily contacted by phone or video calls (especially when a client has been pitched for interviews).
Also, ensure that your clients are comfortable doing interviews via video calls. Given that arranging face-to-face interviews these days is challenging, the next best alternative is video or phone interviews – instead of settling for email interviews. It is much easier for journalists to ask follow-up questions or seek clarifications over a phone or video call.
2. Anticipate the types of stories that journalists are looking for
After a year of disruption and division, the public and journalists are hungry for positive news.
Close to half of the respondents are looking for “new angles” in their COVID-19 coverage. As the pandemic is far from over, there are still many topics to expand upon – from feel-good stories on how companies and communities are helping others to how new technologies are impacting businesses and consumers in the new normal.
Know the types of stories that journalists are prioritising and how they fit into the media outlet’s relevant columns and sections. Thereafter, you can start preparing a list of relevant story ideas or trends that are aligned to the media’s editorial strategy or put forward clients who are subject-matter experts and available for interviews.
3. Time press releases right – fridays and weekends are fine too
Pitching on Mondays and Tuesdays offers a higher pick-up rate among journalists, especially when most media outlets have editorial meetings in the earlier part of the week. Journalists get busier as the week goes by. However, do not neglect Fridays and the weekends too.
A significant number of journalists prefer pitches on Fridays (28%) or the weekend (14.3%). This is because some may use the weekend as a breather to catch up on their emails or scour for story ideas for that dreadful editorial meeting next week. Or these emails may land on top of their inboxes on Monday morning.
4. Provide content that journalists can incorporate in their stories
Forget email interview responses filled with marketing spiel or long lists of company achievements. Time-pressed journalists are looking for content that can be used in their articles at short notice. 78% of journalists want to receive press releases, which is a source of official and verifiable information.
Original research reports (67%) are also very much welcomed as trends and market analysis and industry data can add weight and justify points made in their articles. Other in-demand content includes invitations to virtual events (especially when newsmakers can offer comments) or initial ideas for story development that can kickstart their brainstorming process for upcoming articles.
This article is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.