Late last year, we shared a blog post discussing recent trends in the media. While many of these findings remain relevant now, the world of marketing and PR is continually changing and evolving, and it’s essential to keep tabs on ongoing developments to stay ahead of the curve.
The data covers a lot of ground, examining priorities, pressures, wants, needs, perceptions, and expectations regarding the future of the media. To gather this data, leading public relations management platforms Muck Rack and Cision, the industry’s go-to resources for media outreach, surveyed thousands of journalists from around the world.
Conducted in collaboration with highly trusted research partners, these surveys provide valuable insight into the changing world of modern media and help PR professionals learn how to establish themselves as trusted resources for journalists while increasing the success of their media outreach.
To save you time, we’ve scoured their latest reports and boiled the data down to what you need to know.
What’s Happening with Social Media?
Despite the recent upheavals with Twitter and the uncertainty surrounding the future of TikTok in the U.S., both reports agree that social media networks, particularly YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram, are becoming more appealing than ever to journalists. A whopping 96% of journalists use social media for work-related reasons.
Muck Rack notes that while about half of the journalists surveyed considered leaving the troubled Twitter, only 28% plan to spend less time on it this year. 78% of Muck Rack respondents cited Twitter as their most valued social network, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn. Cision found that while 20% of respondents stated that they would be less active on Twitter, 12% plan to be more active on the platform in the coming year.
The visual platforms TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram continue to gain popularity with both consumers and journalists who want to be where their audiences are. Nearly half of journalists believe short-form videos will continue to grow in popularity in 2023.
Social media trends are also linked to target audience demographics. Muck Rack notes that the most commonly reported target audiences for journalists are social media-savvy Millenials (57%) and Gen X (52%), followed by Boomers and Gen Z at 43% and 41%, respectively.
The use of social media for outreach comes with caveats, however. According to Cision, while it can be a powerful tool for providing insight into what matters to journalists and how you can help them achieve their goals, only 4% of journalists want to receive pitches via social media, and 19% state that they will block a comms professional for reaching out unsolicited.
Credibility Matters – and so Does Money!
Both reports strongly align with respect to the industry’s concern with maintaining journalistic credibility as a trusted news source. In fact, credibility has been the #1 most significant challenge for journalism in the past 12 months, followed by a lack of resources and funding. As media relations/communications professionals, it’s essential to help alleviate both challenges by developing a partnership that allows you to deliver consistently trustworthy information that minimizes the time and effort required by journalists.
Cision notes that journalists’ jobs have been getting more complex over the past year. The most significant challenge for individual journalists is adapting to downsizing and reduced resources, followed by the need to balance reporting on essential topics against pressure to drive business. Other concerns include determining the most important news to share with limited time and space, adapting to changing audience interests, and navigating the challenges of layoffs within the industry.
There’s good news, though – according to Muck Rack, nearly 80% of journalists say that trust in their coverage area has increased or stayed the same over the past year.
Data is More Important Than Ever
Another trend to watch out for is the increasing value of data, not only as a means of backing up stories but also as driving media content. After all, numbers don’t lie – according to Cision, 40% of journalists said that they are relying more on data (views, engagement, demographic data, and so on) to shape their editorial strategy.
When asked what kind of content or information they wanted to receive from strategic communicators, 68% of journalists reported that they wanted data in the form of original research, including items such as trends and market data. In addition, 66% of respondents said that comms professionals could make their jobs easier by providing data and expert sources.
While data is valuable, it’s even more critical to maximize the value of that data by ensuring that it’s structured, relevant, and verified to make your message stand out in meaningful ways. Cision states that journalists overwhelmingly believe that readership/viewership is the primary measure of success for media outlets, with 55% citing it as the number one measure of success. Engagement as a data point was also a high marker of success. As communications professionals, data can be used to demonstrate to media partners that you’ve done your homework with respect to trends and audience demographics and that the information you’re presenting will resonate with their audiences.
Multimedia isn’t Going Anywhere
Cision notes that the breakdown of how multimedia is used in journalism hasn’t changed significantly from last year, with images, infographics, and videos on top. One notable change, however, is a significant uptick in journalists’ use of web polls and surveys, with the number of journalists using them increasing from 16% to 34% over the past year. This underscores journalists’ increased efforts to both engage with and understand their audiences. In addition, more journalists reported that they specifically wanted multimedia content from strategic communicators and were more likely to consider a pitch that includes multimedia.
Pro Tip: when supplying multimedia, consider using a link to a media page or a storage space like Dropbox or Google Drive rather than attaching a file. This isn’t just an easier way for journalists to access your file, but it’s also less likely that an e-mail server will see the attachment and flag your email as spam.
It’s All about the Partnerships
If you ask communications professionals about the most meaningful part of their jobs, the opportunity to build relationships will be at the top of the list. That’s a good thing, as Cision notes, that the outreach methods that impress journalists the most are the ones where public relations teams have clearly taken the time to understand them, their audience, and the content that they find relevant. Here are a few responses from journalists discussing the last time a communications professional made a positive impression on them:
“It’s great when relevant PR people reach out with ‘I don’t have a pitch, but I wanted to check in to make sure our team is getting you what you need when you need it.’”
“It was someone who introduced themselves to me, reached out to me, way before they wanted something from me.”
“I’m impressed when someone seems to really understand what I cover and pitch accordingly.”
By examining the challenges journalists face and their hopes and concerns for the future, communicators can better understand and anticipate journalists’ needs while building a strong, meaningful relationship that benefits both parties.
The insights presented here are just a brief snapshot of the report’s findings, but they provide some valuable insights that will allow you to increase your ability to build strong working relationships with the media while establishing yourself as a reliable and trustworthy source of information. Flourish strives to always remain ahead of the curve by continually keeping a finger on the pulse of the media. Contact us for more information about how we can help you achieve your media goals in 2023 and beyond.